Organizing History and the Local's History.
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Below is an article regarding BNTU #9/CWA 14148's the successful campaign involving the Mailers at the Greater Niagara Newspaper - circa 2003. 


by Mike Hudson

The move by Greater Niagara Newspapers to consolidate production at a North Tonawanda location has had an unexpected consequence for the company -- a successful drive for the unionization of approximately 45 mail room employees at the new plant.

Over the past year, the company abandoned its printing and mail room operations at the Niagara Gazette and Lockport Union Sun & Journal as a cost-saving measure. Following at least two accidents at the new plant, worker's concerns prompted the union effort, according to Harold Rehm, president of the Buffalo-Niagara Typographical Union Number 9.

"There was minimal involvement by the union in this, it came from within," Rehm told the Reporter. "The main issues seem to be respect and dignity in the workplace. That plus safety." Money, Rehm said, was not a primary concern.

"The one thing I stressed in the one letter I sent out was that voting for the union would not necessarily result in higher wages," he said. "That didn't seem to be a big issue with them."

The vote in favor of the union was 28-12, Rehm added.

"That's quite a large margin," he said. "These workers are clearly looking to be more than just at-will employees."

Greater Niagara Newspapers, which also publishes papers in Medina and North Tonawanda, is owned by the Alabama-based Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.

Since the new plant opened earlier this year, readers and advertisers in Niagara Falls and Lockport have noticed a "redesign" that for the most part resulted in a smaller newspaper. Additionally, because of the new production schedule, on-time delivery has been erratic in the Falls and, in Lockport, where the paper comes out in the afternoon, the editorial deadline is a full 12 hours before the paper hits the streets.

Rehm said the union intends to begin work on behalf of its new members immediately.

"Our first negotiating meeting is scheduled for next week," he said. "The company has made it crystal clear they do not want a union there."

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PPMWS represents over 8,000 workers in a diverse range of occupations in daily newspapers, commercial printing and mailing operations, graphic design, specialty manufacturing, publishing and distribution as well as the U. S. Government Printing Office. Our union combines the proud heritage of the International Typographical Union-the oldest continuously operating union in America-with the dynamic vision of the Communications Workers of America. The combination of these two influences provides our members and their families with responsive representation and progressive programs.

Communications Workers of America


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  Mailing Address:
219 Fort Pitt Blvd., 3rd Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
412-281-7268 PPMWS Main Phone Number
412-281-7815 PPMWS Fax
202-434-1100 CWA Main Switchboard
Dan Wasser, President
412-281-7845 Office of the President
Marcia Mikesell, Administrative Secretary
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