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Visalia VWR Employees Vote To Join Teamsters Union

In the news release, Visalia VWR Employees Vote To Join Teamsters Union, issued 15-Feb-2013 by Teamsters Joint Council 7 over PR Newswire, we are advised by the organization that the first paragraph, first sentence, should read "68 employees of VWR in Visalia voted" rather than "61 employees of VWR in Visalia voted" as originally issued inadvertently. The complete, corrected release follows:

Visalia VWR Employees Vote To Join Teamsters Union

Employees Vote Overwhelmingly In Favor of Union Representation

VISALIA, Calif., Feb. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Thursday, February 14th, 68 employees of VWR in Visalia voted affirmatively to join Teamsters Local 948 in an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.  The election punctuates a very high profile and controversial move by the company from the Bay Area to Visalia and continues the Teamsters' struggle with the company. 

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VWR, which was founded as a local California company, has grown into a global corporation, reporting more than $4.1 billion in sales for 2011.  The Teamsters have represented VWR employees at their distribution center in Brisbane for over 50 years.  For most of that time, labor-management relations were good.  But when Madison Dearborn, a Chicago-based private equity firm, bought the company in 2007 things quickly changed.

In the midst of contract negotiations in 2010, VWR announced plans to close its Brisbane distribution center and move its operations 220 miles south to a new 500,000-square-foot facility in Visalia.  The company did not offer their employees the right to transfer. 

VWR benefited from federal, state and local subsidies to open its distribution center.  The City of Visalia agreed to pay VWR the $1.3 million it needed for road and sewer improvements for the facility and granted VWR a delay in paying more than $500,000 in local impact fees until April 2016.

VWR's move was highlighted in state hearings examining the Enterprise Zone program, which enables the company to secure up to $3 million in "job creation" tax credits from the State. Under the program, the company is not eligible for credits if they allowed their Brisbane employees to transfer.

"The State of California and the City of Visalia have invested millions in VWR to help the company build their new distribution center, but they didn't want to invest it back in their employees," said Rome Aloise, President of Teamsters Joint Council 7.

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