Victory Comes After Bitter Two-Week Strike Exposed Extent of BCS Commitment to Union-Busting
Updated On: Jun 02, 2022

Teamsters Local 231 members working for Bellingham Cold Storage are celebrating a decision handed down by a neutral arbitrator last week that will force BCS to stop subcontracting out union work to third party North Bay Services (NSS/NBS). This historic victory comes less than a year after a brutal two-week Unfair Labor Practice strike against Bellingham Cold Storage.

During that strike, NSS/NBS employees were used as scabs to work behind the Teamster picket line and keep BCS operational, along with other scabs flown in from out of state. NSS/NBS scab workers used their inside knowledge of the operations to help BCS continue to run, prolonging the strike and further injuring the Teamster members fighting for their rights on the job and community members who relied on BCS products. This arbitration victory proves BCS’s actions before, during, and after the strike were illegal, and they are ordered by the arbitrator to “cease and desist from contracting with NSS/NBS and employing NSS/NBS to perform Bargaining Unit work.” The arbitrator has maintained jurisdiction over the case for 180 days in order to make a decision on a make whole remedy for the Bargaining Unit.

“The wheels of justice may grind slowly, but this long-awaited victory proves what our members already demonstrated with their grit and determination on the picket lines last summer: using subcontractors to break the Union is not going to work,” said Teamsters Local 231 Secretary-Treasurer Rich Ewing. “We will always fight to protect our contracts and our members, who won this fight with their solidarity on the picket line. BCS tried every dirty trick they could think of to beat down our members, but we persevered and ultimately prevailed.”

UPDATE 6/2/2022

Over the long holiday weekend, Bellingham Cold Storage decided to disregard the clear decision by the neutral Arbitrator to Cease and Desist the use of the stevedoring company to subcontract Union work. We are continuing this fight as we push for the company to discontinue this blatant contract violation. Although we believe that the matter was settled in the previous arbitration, the Company has forced the Union to file yet another grievance to arbitration, and we are in the process of choosing a neutral Arbitrator to hear the facts of the grievance and hopefully settle this matter once and for all. We know that it is hard to stay the course when employees work for a company that will go to such great lengths to undermine the Union and ignore the Collective Bargaining Agreement. As we continue this fight, we encourage all Union members to show solidarity and strength in the face of this egregious act by the employer and their blatant disregard of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

In Solidarity!

Teamsters Local 231

More Information:
Update June 2, 2022
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