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South New Jersey Car Dealership Tries to Change Medical Benefits, But Technicians Stick Together, File Grievance and Defeat Employer

6/1/2010

On or about November 2005, a South New Jersey Automobile dealership was sold to Pellegrino Pontiac Buick GMC, Inc.

The Technicians, led by Shop Steward, Scott Banff, contacted USWU Local 455, President, Joe Pecora Sr. and decided they needed to be organized.

In December 2005, a petition was filed at the NLRB, and an election was held in February 2006, and Local 455, became the authorized bargaining representative for this small but strong work force who stuck together from the start of this campaign.

There were many contract negotiation meetings, and finally in November 1, 2006, the first Collective Bargaining Agreement was signed.

The Technicians at the time decided to continue to use the Employer’s Medical plan.

In December 2007, when the Employer attempted to change the medical benefits, the technicians filed a grievance, a Settlement Agreement was agreed upon by the Parties, and the Technicians defeated the Employer.

In December 2008, the Employer attempted again to change the medical benefits, and the technicians again filed a grievance. The Employer was advised of the 2007 Settlement Agreement, and the technicians defeated the Employer again.

In June 2009, once again, the Employer attempted to change the Medical Benefits, and the Technicians filed a grievance against the Employer.

The Technicians stuck together and this dispute was submitted to Arbitration.

In November 2009, the Contract was renewed, but with the stipulation that the Technicians would be taken out of the Employer’s Medical Plan and be enrolled into the Union’s United Welfare Fund Medical Plan, so that the Employer would no longer be able to change any Medical Benefits.

The Arbitration hearing was first scheduled for March 18, 2010, the Employer requested a postponement, and received it from the Arbitrator. The next Arbitration hearing was scheduled May 11, 2010, once again the Employer requested a postponement, but this time, no such request was given by the Arbitrator.

Once the Employer realized that the Arbitration Hearing was becoming a reality, the Union attorney’s received a call from the Employer, requesting to settle the grievance.

The final result was that Technician Richard Shipley was reimbursed over $3,000.00, and Technician Joe Panto was reimbursed $4,000.00 in medical bills by the Employer as a result of the Settlement Agreement.  This victory is due to the workers’ determination not to be intimidated by their Employer.


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