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Local 631 members ratify agreement with Freeman and GES, Secretary Treasurer John Phillipenas appeals suspension

IBTOn Sunday, June 5, members of Teamsters Local Union 631 voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new 3-year collective bargaining agreement with general contractors Freeman and Global Experience Specialists (GES).

“We are pleased with the overwhelming response by the members of Teamsters Local 631 in the ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement,” said Steve Hagstette, Sr., senior vice president and general manager of Freeman Las Vegas. “We commend the parties involved in the negotiations for working toward an agreement that will benefit the workers, the union, the employers, our clients and the Las Vegas exhibition industry. We look forward to this new era and our continued partnership with Local 631.”

The vote finalized the tentative agreement on a new labor contract that was reached with the leadership of the Local on Friday, May 27.

“We are pleased that members of Teamsters Local 631 ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, and we commend the parties involved in the negotiations for producing a fair and equitable agreement,” said Anthony Lau, GES Senior VP of operations, West Region. “We look forward to our continued partnership with Local 631 to service the Las Vegas exhibitions and events industry.”

Members ratified the agreement by a count of 481 to 90.

The 571 total votes represented a very small turnout when compared to the more than 2,000 members who voted on the previous collective bargaining agreement 4 years ago.

Most of the differences between this agreement and the previous contract are language changes, which should go unnoticed by most exhibitors.

The new agreement did include increases to the union’s Health and Welfare Fund that will go into effect on January 1, 2012. On that date, there will be a 62 cent increase to the Health and Welfare Fund and a 28 cent increase to the Western Conference Teamsters Pension Fund.

On January 1, 2013, an additional 62 cent increase to the Health and Welfare Fund will go into effect. Also on that date, there will be a 28 cent increase of funds to be allocated at the union’s discretion. On January 1, 2014, another 62 cents will go to the Health and Wellness fund and 38 cents will be allocated at the union’s discretion.

Call-by-Name dispatch procedures have also been modified under the new agreement.

If Freeman or GES submits a call-by-name dispatch and it remains incomplete until 3 p.m. the day before the reporting time, they will now have three options.

The call can be opened and workers will be replaced as needed, they can close the call or the call can remain as submitted.

If the GC does not contact dispatch by 3 p.m., the call will remain as submitted and will not result in a failure to fill by the union.

However, in the event of a late change due to “showsite constraints,” a call-by-name dispatch may be submitted between the hours of 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. The dispatch office will then try to contact the workers on the list and will wait until 4 p.m. for the employee to accept the dispatch.

If the dispatch still remains incomplete, the GC can open the call, close the call or provide alternate names.

Other topics that had changes in language from the previous contract include job continuity, the selection of arbitrators, the disciplinary language and a rewriting of the no strike/lockout procedures.

The Safety Committee has also been deleted from the agreement, and the stewards’ language has also been rewritten.

The new contract will be effective from June 1, 2011 through May 31, 2014.

The Local is still involved with negotiations for a contract with exhibitor appointed contractors.

Secretary Treasure John Phillipenas appeals suspension

In November of 2010, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) General President James Hoffa informed the members of Local 631 that a hearing had been scheduled to discuss possible trusteeship.

Trusteeship was being considered because President Kevin Hardison and Secretary Treasurer John Phillipenas filed dueling charges against one another and against some members of the Executive Board.

The allegations by Phillipenas and the Executive Board against Hardison have been found not to have the validity of a preponderance of evidence.

However, charges filed by Hardison against Phillipenas and certain members of the board have been upheld.

Phillipenas has been found guilty of violating his oath of office and interfering with the personal representative of the general president and was suspended for 30 days.

Phillipenas appealed the suspension and a stay was granted by Hoffa. This allows Phillipenas to stay in office until a decision is made on the appeal.

Vice President and Business Agent, Donnie Weimer, was also found guilty of violating his oath of office and for interfering with the international representative. He has been told to cease and desist that behavior.

Local 631 will hold its general elections in November.


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