Moving Workers Rally Ahead of Union Vote at Two Men And A Truck
Labor calls out poverty jobs, racially-coded language, and unfair promotions
Professional movers at the New York City franchise of Two Men and a Truck rallied today with Teamsters and other labor allies ahead of a union vote, which will be held Friday.
“We are professionals and should be able to support our families in this career,” said Ramell Brown, father of four and a driver at Two Men and a Truck. “We need a union and a voice at work so we can stand up for ourselves. Some guys are making little more than minimum wage and only being scheduled for one day a week. No one can make it in New York on that.”
The workers are seeking to join Teamsters Local 814, New York City’s professional movers union. They notified company management in April that a majority of workers had signed union authorization cards, but the company refused to recognize their union, prompting this week’s vote. The election will be overseen by the National Labor Relations Board.
Workers want a raise, healthcare and retirement benefits, and a seniority-based scheduling system that maximizes employment.
“It’s unacceptable for a moving company to pay poverty wages in New York City,” said Jason Ide, President of Teamsters Local 814. “Since announcing their intention to join the Teamsters, the workers have stood strong and I fully expect they will win their union.”
“When you join the Teamsters Union, you are no longer alone. Across the country, 1.4 million Teamsters are standing behind you,” said George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16. “We will have their backs and ensure they get a union contract that provides for their families and protects them in the workplace.”
The Two Men and a Truck workers are also hoping to win equal treatment through a union contract. Most of the company’s workers are black, while the managers are white. Workers of color have seen promotions go to white applicants and have heard racially offensive comments made by management.
“All we want is equal and fair treatment,” said Milton Cunningham, a helper who works at the company.
Jay Mellentine bought the company two years ago, which is the exclusive franchise of the national brand in New York City and Long Island, and recently hired a new operations manager. Workers have seen business declining and fear for the company. Workers say it appears potential work has been funneled to competitors in the same market, even as some workers at Two Men And A Truck sat home on a layoff. Whatever the reason, employees do not work enough hours to make ends meet and are facing serious financial hardship.
“When we started here, it seemed like the company was going to be a real success,” said Julio Casalinova, also a working father and helper at Two Men and a Truck. “Hopefully this can be a wakeup call and the owner and the national brand can work with our new union to ensure that Two Men And A Truck thrives in New York.”