SAN JUAN, P.R. (PAI)-Members of a union representing 2,000 Puerto Rican telephone workers voted by a 10-1 margin to merge into the Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU), the two unions announced on August 14.
“The 10 to 1 vote to affiliate demonstrates real confidence in OPEIU and its ability to strengthen the voice of these workers in collective bargaining,” said OPEIU International President Michael Goodwin.
The Independent Union of Telephone Workers (UIET) joined OPEIU after its members’ employer, the Claro Telephone Company, imposed onerous demands, Goodwin said.
The “terms and conditions eliminated the union security and dues check-off provisions,” Goodwin continued. “OPEIU will now help UIET reach an agreement with the company that would include restoration of both provisions for all 2,000 employees.”
The membership benefits OPEIU offered also attracted UIET, he added. OPEIU has pioneered in using member benefits, such as Union Privilege, as an organizing tool.
UIET will become OPEIU Local 1971 and “will continue to exist as an autonomous labor organization, administrating its own business, but will be assisted by OPEIU in building the organization through organizing, collective bargaining, and legislative and public relations support,” they added in a statement.
Photo: Members of a telephone workers union in Puerto Rico give thumbs up after voting to merge into OPEIU. Courtesy the OPEIU via PAI Photo Service.