DexYP, Thryv Marketing using scare tactics to coerce union members to vote against their best interests
By SHERI GASSAWAY
Maryland Heights, MO – CWA Local 6300 members and friends of Labor turned out in force June 5 to rally in support about 120 Local 6300 members who work at DexYP and Thryv Marketing, both owned by Dex Media. The employees are scheduled to vote Thursday, June 13 on decertifying the union.
Local 6300 President Mark Johnson said the company is conducting meetings on paid company time and using scare tactics ahead of the vote to try to convince employees to vote the union out.
The employees at DexYP, situated at 13801 Riverport Dr., work in the call center and inside sales. Employees at Thryve, a software management company for small businesses located nearby at 13690 Riverport Drive, work in inside business sales.
DexYP executives were in town on June 5 to meet with the union employees at a neighboring Dave & Busters for lunch. Fellow union members and friends of Labor rallied there against the decertification vote and in support of the employees.
“We have a decertification vote on June 13, and it is important that we show we have the support of all unions,” Johnson wrote in an email calling union members and supporters to the rally.
About 75 people answered the call for help, including representatives from CWA District 6, Local 6300, the Missouri AFL-CIO, the St. Louis Labor Council, Jobs with Justice, the St. Louis Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and numerous other Labor activists and union members.
Johnson and A.J. Villegas, a CWA District 6 staff representative who has been in contract negotiations on behalf of the employees, said they were both pleased with the rally’s turnout.
“We’re out here today to show these employees that they are not alone,” Villegas said. “They’ve been intimidated by managers threatening them that if they vote yes for the union, they are going to close this call center.”
COMPANY IMPOSED ITS OWN CONTRACT
CWA started bargaining with YP Holdings in December 2016, Villegas said, but was unable to reach an agreement and employees were forced to work without a contract. When Dex Media purchased YP in June 2017, CWA returned to the bargaining table, but again without success.
“In 2018, we went back to the table again, and still no contract,” Villegas said. “They gave us a last, best and final offer, and then declared an impasse and imposed that contract.”
Villegas said the company took a 50-to-60-year-old contract that was about 200 pages and pared it down to about 70 pages. He said the rest of the contract language went into company policy, which the union does not bargain.
“Some of that language includes commission scales, seniority when it comes to layoffs and the way they treat our members with severance,” he said.
“In regard to severance, it’s a lot less money and they don’t give it to you all at once –– it’s spread out,” Villegas said. “They keep the money and let it work for them.”
‘ESSENTIAL FOR WORKERS’ RIGHTS’
Missouri State Senator Karla May (D-St. Louis), a 20-year member of Local 6300, attended the rally in support of her fellow union members and underscored the need for a union and a fair contract.
“These union members need a fair contract,” she said. “Missouri is an at-will state and a union and a fair contract is essential for workers’ rights. We need processes to protect jobs.”
Rose McCowan, a Local 6300 vice president and 30-year member of the union, said the rally showed unity in the fight for workers’ rights.
“We know how important unions are, and we’re here in solidarity to let the employees know they have our support,” she said.
Tori Pratt, another Local 6300 vice president and 19-year member of the union, added “We want our union brothers and sisters to know we’ll always have their backs.”
ABOUT THE DECERTIFICATION VOTE
The June 13 vote for the 90 employees at DexYP and the 30 employees at Thryv will be conducted via secret ballot in person and by mail for those employees who work from home.
The question on the ballot will read, “Do you wish to be represented for the purpose of collective bargaining by the Communication Workers of America, AFL-CIO?”
“We’re encouraging the employees to vote “YES” to protect their rights,” Johnson said.
Results from the election are expected to be announced in mid-July.