New Members Vote Yes for Teamsters in Self-Determination Election

Chicago warehouse and operating room management workers at Rush University Medical Center (RUMC) recently voted to join with other bargaining unit employees represented by Teamsters Local 743.

The 60 new members chose Teamster representation in a “self-determination” election certified by the NLRB.

Multiple elections were held covering various departments. Local 743 won two out of four recent elections, adding on to more than 230 Patient Care Technicians (PCTs) at RUMC who joined the union last year. In addition to PCTs, Local 743 represents more than 800 workers at the hospital, including housekeeping, transporters and unit clerks.

“We are proud to represent our new members at RUMC and we’re ready to fight on their behalf,” said Local 743 President Debra Simmons-Peterson. “The workers have elected to join our existing bargaining units at the hospital and we will continue our efforts to organize other nonunion workers seeking representation at RUMC.”

Self-determination elections, also known as Armour-Globe elections, allow workers who share a “community of interest” with co-workers already represented by a union to vote on joining that bargaining unit.

At RUMC, hospital workers not represented by Local 743 approached the union for support. Simmons-Peterson, a former Teamster employee at RUMC, pursued the rare strategy of self-determination instead of the traditional representation vote. This process involves running smaller elections to give unrepresented workers the right to join together with their Teamster co-workers.

“Our local president has been incredible in driving this innovative strategy for organizing at RUMC,” said Local 743 Organizer Richard Cristo.

“This is a difficult procedure that President Debra Simmons-Peterson has been very meticulous in implementing,” said John T. Coli, President of Teamsters Joint Council 25 and Teamsters International Vice President for the Central Region. “This approach empowers workers in the organizing process and we think it could change the face of labor organizing for health care workers industry-wide.”

Teamsters Local 743 is an affiliate of Teamsters Joint Council 25, America’s premier labor union for Chicago, Illinois and northwest Indiana.