Puerto Rican Phone Workers’ Union Merges Into OPEIU

Puerto_Rico_1SAN JUAN, P.R. —Members of an union representing 2,000 Puerto Rican telephone workers voted by a 10-1 margin to merge into the Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU), the two unions announced on August 14.

The Independent Union of Telephone Workers (UIET) joined the larger union after its members’ employer, the Claro Telephone Company, imposed onerous demands that UIET felt unable to resist alone, OPEIU President Mike Goodwin said.

The “terms and conditions eliminated the union security and dues check-off provisions,” Goodwin continued.  “OPEIU will now help UIET reach an agreement with the company that would include restoration of both provisions for all 2,000 employees.”
The membership benefits OPEIU offered also attracted UIET, he added.  OPEIU has pioneered in using member benefits, such as Union Privilege, as an organizing tool.

UIET will become OPEIU Local 1971 and “will continue to exist as an autonomous labor organization, administrating its own business, but will be assisted by OPEIU in building the organization through organizing, collective bargaining, and legislative and public relations support,” the larger union added in a statement.