The strike is over

The Morning Call - - FRONT PAGE - By Jon Har­ris Morn­ing Call re­porter Jon Har­ris can be reached at 610-820-6779 or at jon.har­[email protected]

Ad­vance Auto Parts work­ers at Le­high Val­ley ware­house vote to rat­ify la­bor agree­ment.

The strike started Sept. 4, when many of the 450 work­ers at Ad­vance Auto Parts’ dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter in Weisen­berg Town­ship lined the street near the fa­cil­ity’s en­trance. With mu­sic blar­ing, work­ers chanted and held signs, in­clud­ing some read­ing, “Ad­vance Auto Parts Work­ers De­serve a Fair Con­tract.”

A ma­jor­ity of the work­ers believe they have one now, af­ter they voted 265-104 this week to rat­ify a col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment with Ad­vance Auto, the La­bor­ers’ In­ter­na­tional Union of North Amer­ica Lo­cal 1310 an­nounced Wed­nes­day. The em­ploy­ees will re­turn to their reg­u­lar work sched­ule on Fri­day, the union said.

“Hun­dreds of AAP em­ploy­ees demon­strated tremen­dous strength over th­ese last two weeks, and now they’re see­ing the re­wards,” Den­nis L. Mar­tire, LIUNA vice pres­i­dent and midAt­lantic re­gional man­ager, said in a news re­lease. “With sup­port from po­lit­i­cal lead­ers and com­mu­nity ad­vo­cates for a new con­tract, the par­ties achieved a com­pro­mise that is fair for both sides.”

The key to end­ing the strike, the union said, came Mon­day when Ad­vance Auto added wage and bonus in­creases from its pre­strike fi­nal of­fer, which of­fered 1.5% raises per year to em­ploy­ees reach­ing at least 10 years of ser­vice be­tween 2019 and 2021. The work­ers’ three­year con­tract, which will be signed within a cou­ple days, spec­i­fies that all em­ploy­ees — re­gard­less of em­ploy­ment du­ra­tion — will re­ceive a 1.5% to 2% wage in­crease for each year of the con­tract, the union said. Fur­ther, ad­di­tional com­pen­sa­tion will be avail­able through new bonuses, in­clud­ing a $650 rat­i­fi­ca­tion bonus.

“Af­ter bar­gain­ing in good faith with the La­bor­ers’ In­ter­na­tional Union of North Amer­ica (LIUNA) for nearly a year, we are pleased that our Team Mem­bers have voted to ac­cept our con­tract of­fer,” Ad­vance Auto said in a state­ment.

Ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the two sides started two months af­ter the work­ers voted to union­ize in Septem­ber 2018 in a 291-131 vote. The agree­ment brings to a close a la­bor dis­pute that turned bit­ter at times.

For ex­am­ple, the com­pany last week filed a re­strain­ing or­der, which was signed off on by a judge and limited how the work­ers could picket at the dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter. The union fired back, with one of­fi­cial last week call­ing the or­der, “bull----.”

A hear­ing on the mat­ter was sched­uled for Fri­day but is now can­celed.

“LIUNA ap­pre­ci­ates the com­pany’s will­ing­ness to bridge dif­fer­ences and ar­rive at a deal that’s go­ing to ben­e­fit work­ers, share­hold­ers, and cus­tomers,” Tony Sei­well, busi­ness man­ager of the La­bor­ers’ Dis­trict Coun­cil of East­ern Penn­syl­va­nia, said in the re­lease.

Ad­vance Auto, a For­tune 500 com­pany, op­er­ates dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ters and more than 5,000 re­tail stores in North Amer­ica, but it has few union lo­ca­tions. Less than 1% of the com­pany’s 71,000 full- and part-time work­ers are rep­re­sented by unions, ac­cord­ing to its 2018 an­nual re­port.

The com­pany’s lo­cal dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter, on Com­merce Cir­cle in the Ar­ca­dia West In­dus­trial Park, is one of the few union­ized ware­houses in the Le­high Val­ley.

One of the only oth­ers is the True Value re­gional dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter in Up­per Ma­cungie Town­ship, a fa­cil­ity that will close by mid-March as True Value ramps up a new hub near Wilkes-Barre.

APRIL GAMIZ/THE MORN­ING CALL

Work­ers at the Ad­vance Auto Parts dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter in Weisen­berg Town­ship demon­strate af­ter go­ing on strike Sept. 4.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.