In June 2015, members of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County alerted Teamsters Local 700 that they had been assigned to perform grass cutting on highway roadsides, which was work that was traditionally performed by Cook County Highway maintenance. Although Local 700 represents both bargaining units, the transfer of the grass cutting work was never negotiated with the union, despite the union’s demand to bargain.
The employers refused to bargain in good faith with the union because they believed they had no obligation to do so. Local 700 filed a grievance and the case went to arbitration on March 22, 2016. Representatives from Local 700 presented evidence to the arbitrator, including documents and witness testimonies from some of the bargaining units’ stewards.
“Teamsters Local 700 always adheres to the terms of every contract and we will pursue legal action against any employers who violate these agreements we fought hard to put into place,” said Local 700 Business Agent Ramon Williams. “Though we represent both bargaining units in this case, they each have separate duties within the jurisdiction of their respective bargaining units that must be recognized by the employer.”
The union seeks to remedy the situation by ensuring the Cook County Highway Department cease and desist transferring the grass cutting duties to the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, and transfers it back to the highway workers.
The arbitrator heard both sides of the case and will render a decision within the upcoming months, after the union and the employers submit their final briefs in a few weeks. Local 700 will keep our membership up to date with the final outcome.