Thursday, July 14, 2005

Health & Safety Helps Union Win at Angelica

Catching up on some old, but good news. Back in April I reported that UNITE-HERE was using health and safety problems as an issue in it campaign to organize Angelica. Well, last month, on the verge of a nationwide strike, they came to an agreement:
Under the agreement, employees at Angelica’s non-union facilities will have a fair selection process through which they may choose whether they wish to have UNITE HERE as their exclusive bargaining representative. The Union is expected to soon initiate organizing efforts at the Company’s non-union facilities under the terms of this agreement.

In connection with this agreement, the Company and the Union have negotiated new, tentative collective bargaining agreements covering those facilities where existing bargaining agreements had expired.
Angelica, the leading health care linen service provider in the United States, had been cited in 17 different OSHA investigations.

Angelica's chief executive, Steve O'Hara, admitted that union pressure had forced the company to improve safety conditions:
O'Hara said the union's close scrutiny of the company did improve safety at Angelica's facilities and communication between the company's plant managers. Angelica now holds mock OSHA inspections and gathers managers for weekly phone meetings.

"Whenever you're put under a microscope, you find out where your weaknesses are," O'Hara said. "If we were safe before, we must be really safe now."
More on the settlement at Hazards.