The Teamsters are nothing if not determined. It took almost 15 years of representation elections and court battles to win exclusive representation of education support employees in Clark County, Nevada. And on the flip side, they were so determined to retain exclusive representation of education support employees in Rapid City, South Dakota, that they held onto it despite having only 35 members in a 212-employee bargaining unit.
When those 35 members rejected a contract offer, the district filed a decertification request with the state labor board. In order to maintain exclusivity, Teamsters Local 120 would have had to come up with 107 votes. Facing the inevitable, Teamsters business agent James Heeren announced the union would abandon its role as exclusive representative due to “a lack of supportive membership.”
In the short term, the workers will have to be content with the district’s final offer, but they are free in the coming year to form another union or make different arrangements.