IC Bus workers to unionize with United Auto Workers
BY KYLE ARNOLD World Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
2/19/13 at 7:40 AM
Local production facilities are vital to the economy.
Workers at the IC Bus plant will organize under the United Auto Workers union and begin the process of collective bargaining in coming weeks.
The UAW said its organizers finished collecting enough signatures of support earlier this month to represent workers.
The plant, with about 1,000 employees, manufacturers 50 to 75 classic yellow school buses each day. Workers in the 1 million-square-foot factory at Tulsa International Airport construct chassis and bodies on a mile-long assembly line.
Navistar International Corp., parent company of IC of Oklahoma LLC, allowed the UAW to solicit employees at the plant. After a three-month campaign, the union received enough signatures to certify union representation. Union organizers needed support from a majority of the 650 assembly line workers at the plant.
Lisle, Ill.-based Navistar has a neutrality agreement that allows that UAW to organize at its plants across the country, said company spokeswoman Elissa Koc.
The Tulsa workers will join 2,600 other UAW members at Navistar facilities in Indianapolis; Springfield, Ohio; Melrose Park, Ill.; Atlanta; Dallas; Conway, Ark; and York, Pa., according to the UAW website.
The UAW tried to organize the Tulsa workers twice previously, a union spokesman said.
Organizers finished collecting signatures Feb. 5 but waited to make an announcement so that all the names were certified to be legitimate and would give the union the required number.
"Joining with other UAW members working at Navistar and other bus and truck companies only makes sense," said Gary Jones, director of UAW Region 5. "Our strength comes through solidarity and numbers, and we gladly welcome these new members into the UAW."
Employees at the plant are now slated to vote on local union leadership Feb. 28. Those leaders will then gather information from members and conduct other research before they begin collective bargaining with the company.
A UAW spokesman said the union does not publicly discuss contract negotiations or bargaining goals.
Navistar opened the plant in 2001, initially employing 400 people. Last June the company celebrated the 100,000th bus manufactured at the facility.
IC Bus plant
2322 N. Mingo Road
Size: 1 million square feet
Original Print Headline: IC Bus workers unionize
Kyle Arnold 918-581-8380
Miccah Johnson works on the undercarriage of a school bus at the IC Bus plant, which is part of the Tulsa International Airport industrial area. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World file