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July 27, 2011 5:17 PM

Teamsters Protest at Jackson Lewis Offices Nationwide

Posted by Claire Zillman

Hundreds of Teamsters showed up outside Jackson Lewis offices nationwide on Tuesday to protest the firm's role in BMW's decision to lay off 68 employees at the automaker's parts distribution warehouse in Ontario, California, according to the Los Angeles Times. The union members are to be replaced with workers from a third-party logistics company.

"The firm helped orchestrate BMW's plans to terminate employees in favor of a third-party company," Ed Rendon, a public affairs officer for Teamsters Joint Council 42, told The Am Law Daily.

BMW employees and Teamsters launched a coordinated protest outside Jackson Lewis offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and New York Tuesday afternoon, according to a Teamsters statement. The protesters distributed leaflets that said, “Jackson Lewis helps BMW destroy American jobs” and held signs that read “Jackson Lewis: Betraying America for BMW $$,” the statement said. 

The Teamsters asked BMW to delay its plans for three months, which would give the union a chance to work with the automaker to avoid the layoffs, Robert Lennox, secretary treasurer of Teamsters Local 495, told The Am Law Daily.

The layoffs are planned for August 31 when BMW's agreement with the union expires. The Teamsters are holding informal discussions with BMW, says Lennox. "We didn't ask for this fight, they came to us. We hope we can settle this." 

The Teamsters decided to target Jackson Lewis on Tuesday because "the firm specializes in union-busting," Rendon said. "BMW is using the firm to help it outsource middle-class jobs."

A Jackson Lewis spokeswoman said it represents BMW on a variety of employment matters. She declined to comment on the protests because she said they involve an active client matter. 

BMW said its decision to switch to the third-party logistics company is not about unions or wages and is instead about running the Ontario warehouse the way it operates three other facilities—through third-party providers, the LA Times reports. BMW did not respond to a request for comment.

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