Strong contract enforcement has yielded several important victories for Teamsters 856 members working at Hertz, Avis Budget Group, and National/Alamo car rental companies recently.
In November, Hertz backed off its attempt to discipline a member for not following company procedure after an investigation by Union Representative Liliana Cortez revealed that the company’s lack of training had led to the member’s inadvertent error.
“The company has an obligation to ensure its employees are trained properly and that members completely understand what is expected of them prior taking disciplinary action,” said Cortez.
As a result, the company not only retracted the discipline, but also agreed to also give the member more extensive training.
Three Avis Budget members who were facing terminations for allegedly violating the company’s “Rules of the Road” – a set of guidelines for employees, retained their jobs, when it became clear that additional training on these rules was necessary. The company also backed off of another threatened termination of a member it had accused of being away from the counter – their area of work—for “too long”.
At National Alamo, members received their annual sick pay cash out in time for Black Friday shopping after the company initially claimed it would be unable to process the checks in time. Each year, National Alamo members have the option to convert a portion of their unused sick leave into cash. Many members count on this money for holiday shopping and expenses.
“I told the company that if our members did not receive their checks on the date the collective bargaining agreement covered, we would be pursuing this matter through the grievance procedure and we would be asking for interest,” said Cortez. Under the threat this class-action grievance, the company found a way to process the checks in the timeframe originally promised.
The diligence of members working at car rental companies in bringing attention to violations of the contract and unfair discipline has been key to these wins, and will remain crucial as the Local continues to aggressively enforce collective bargaining agreements to ensure fair working conditions.