Union Rallies To Save Members’ Jobs At Ontario BMW Warehouse

ONTARIO (CBS) — The Teamsters Union says it is launching a campaign asking BMW dealers to support workers at a Southern California parts distribution center. About 100 workers are slated to lose their jobs when contracts expire August 31.

BMW Group is looking for a company that specializes in warehouse operations to take over managing the center in Ontario when the contract expires, company spokesman Kenn Sparks said Wednesday.

A union official said BMW abruptly broke the news on June 3 to 65 warehouse workers without giving them a chance to negotiate a new contract.

“It came out of the blue,” said Robert Lennox, the secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 495. “They said, `This is to tell you we’re going to terminate employees and talk about severance pay.’ There was no other option.”

Lennox said about 25 clerical workers and supervisors, who are not union members, were told that BMW intended to outsource their jobs.

The union said its effort to get dealers to support the workers will kick off Thursday.

Sparks said it will be up to the contractor whether to rehire the current employees, and added that BMW has not yet picked a company to take over operations of the center.

“We’re working with the union to make a smooth transition,” Sparks said.

The warehouse workers earn about $25 an hour and receive benefits similar to that of other BMW employees. They are responsible for locating any of about 200,000 vehicle parts in the huge warehouse and getting them quickly and accurately to dealers and auto shops for repairs.

“The people who work there have been through BMW training, they know the parts and they know the cars,” Lennox said. “If (BMW) replaces these people with people with no experience, the dealers and car owners will suffer.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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