Teamsters Win Dual Elections as PMSD Bus Drivers & Mount Pocono Borough Employees join Local 773
WHITEHALL - Teamsters Local 773, headquartered in the Lehigh Valley, reported unanimous wins in two representation elections affecting the Top of the Mountain Community. Employees of Pocono Mountain School District vendor, First Student Pocono, voted 69 to 0 to bring the union in as their voice, and Mount Pocono Borough workers voted 5 to 0 to become unionized.
Matt Weidman, Business Agent for the union, told The Boro that First Student had “100% absorbed” the bus drivers who had worked for the district prior to outsourcing, other than those drivers who opted for retirement. He said that 99 ballots were mailed to eligible drivers and 69 were returned -- with 100% voting in favor of union representation and not a single driver voted against the union.
In an election with that many employees, “I’ve never seen 100% before and the NLRB agent told me he couldn’t recall it before. We could not be more excited to have them as our brothers and sisters,” Weidman said in an interview after the results were released.
Weidman is also the business agent for the Mount Pocono employees seeking union representation, also from Teamsters Local 773. The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board conducted a union election among those employees with the results released Wednesday, September 23. Weidman had told The Boro in March that 100% of the borough employees eligible had requested a representation election. Since then, some employees have been fired, or quit, or had their hours reduced by council. The results of the union election were also unanimous, with all five ballots being cast in favor of union representation and no one opposing.
Council is currently facing unfair labor practices charges relating to the employee union campaign. According to the Teamsters complaint, the termination of zoning officer Dennis Noonan, and the harassment and changes in the work situation of his wife, 30-year Borough Secretary/Treasurer Lori Noonan, were in retaliation for their support of the employee efforts to obtain union representation. A hearing on the charges is scheduled for late October.
Weidman said the union is considering, but not yet ready to announce, additional charges relating to subsequent labor actions taken by the council -- some of which were against the express and public recommendation of the borough solicitor. These included cutting the hours of the borough secretary and office assistant to part-time and purportedly taking away their health insurance benefits, while both were out on medical leave. Council then used the part-time status they created to justify advertising to hire a borough manager.
The borough, which is operating at a current $300,000 budget deficit, has already spent thousands of dollars in additional attorney fees dealing with the union petitions and charges.