What used to be called “Nashville Auto Diesel College” was a family-owned college that was founded in 1919. NADC was bought by a corporation in 2003 and is now known as Lincoln College of Technology.
SEIU Local 205 represents instructors at Lincoln and their role is to educate and prepare students for a career path of their choice in the automotive repair industry.
Before the takeover by Lincoln, instructors were faced with aggressive and unethical practices by management forcing them to work long hours and making it a stressful and unfulfilling workplace. In 2000, instructors came together and decided they needed representation in order to make the changes on the job they wanted to see. SEIU Local 205 was there to help and stood with the instructors as they made their stand and conducted a two-week strike to get Management to the bargaining table. With this act of solidarity, the instructors demonstrated that Management’s hardball tactics were not going to be tolerated.
The negotiating team worked hard on the first union contract, which among other things guaranteed strong wages and benefits, job security, and a process to hold Management accountable. Internally, the union leadership at Lincoln has been consistent about meetings and receiving training from Local 205 on how to build power and get good results for the membership. “The main goals that our union stewards focus on is to train and to keep the membership posted on updates,” says Lyman Parsell, chief steward at Lincoln. “Training and communication has also been very helpful in dealing with representation in times of trouble.”
Led by a strong Bargaining Committee, faculty at Lincoln College of Technology negotiated one of their strongest union contracts in decades. SEIU Local 205 has represented Lincoln (formerly known as Nashville Auto Diesel College) staff since 2000 and their role is to educate and prepare students for a career path of their choice in the automotive repair industry.
“We are proud of the hard work that went into our new contract, we’re grateful for all the support and resources that Local 205 has to offer, and as a result, we are proud of the education we provide our students,” said Lyman Parsell, the union’s chief steward.
The new agreement expires in 2020 and includes the following improvements:
- Wage increases totaling $2.15/hr over three years
- Company (not employees) pay for short term disability benefit
- $10,000 increase in life insurance coverage paid by company
- Improvements to grievance procedure
- More flexibility in using paid sick leave for doctor visits
- New 10×4 work schedule for Collision Department which gives flexibility to Lincoln but also protects employees’ rights
- New health insurance plan through a union trust fund starting in 2018. Good benefits with affordable rates with additional life insurance and vision benefit included. Set benefits for three years, instead of the company plan that could change every year. Only moderate increases in instructor contributions over the three years
- Stop company from eliminating the employer match on the 401k benefit
In Nashville, Lincoln College of Technology’s union membership is currently above 90% density and because of that solidarity, when the union files a grievance or requests a meeting, Management has little choice but to comply.
Several recent grievances, two of which had to do with workplace safety, were won by the union in fairly short order and as a result, both instructors and students are in a safer environment.
In another instance, the union filed a grievance on behalf of all instructors when Lincoln refused to pay them for on-line training they had taken. The contract said that instructors would get $35 per course, but Lincoln said they had changed the program and would not pay. The union contract required Management to meet with the union before making any changes to the program, which the college had not done. After the union requested arbitration, Lincoln settled the grievance. Some instructors received over $400 in what was dubbed “Operation Christmas Bonus.”
“We have been able to win some grievances that put over $20,000 in members pockets,” said Lyman Parsell, Lincoln’s chief union steward.
Workers at Lincoln College (formerly NADC) rallying for improvements in 2012.
SEIU members working at Lincoln College of Technology (formerly known as Nashville Auto Diesel College) voted to ratify a new three-year agreement that gives Lincoln faculty improvements in wages and benefits.
Regarding wages, SEIU negotiated a $2.45 increase for instructors over the term of the agreement. Language specifying how a possible second shift in the body shop would be scheduled was included in the contract as well as protections to limit the amount of time an employee would have to work over his assigned schedule. There was improvements for funeral leave, sick leave, and stronger language to recognize seniority.
Regarding employee health insurance, workers enrolled for single coverage will receive $1,000 up front to cover the initial cost of coverage. Workers enrolling in family coverage will receive 2,000 dollars up front.
The SEIU bargaining committee was made up of Tim Lewald, Jeff Baker, Earl Fields, Paul Losh, and Jason Black. The new agreement expires in 2017.
Hundreds of faculty & students rallied against unfair layoffs at NADC.
In a ruling by arbitration, two veteran instructors who were laid off by the Nashville Auto Diesel College were ordered back to work with back pay with interest. SEIU Local 205 represented the instructors in their grievance against the company.
In 2011, the Nashville Auto Diesel College laid off two instructors who had seniority over 14 other instructors in their division. According to the collective bargaining agreement between NADC and Local 205, “seniority will govern all layoffs,” and yet, NADC still laid them off citing the reason of “their failure to attain Master ASE certification” – implying that they were not qualified to teach. But the instructors had been qualified, the arbitrator decided, because both instructors had been teaching their courses for years. The arbitrator also pointed out that, “instructors hired before January 1, 2006 were not required by the Agreement to complete […] certification to keep their jobs”. Both instructors were hired long before 2006.
As a result, the union’s grievance was sustained and both workers are to be made “whole in all respects”.
Just hours before their contract expired, the Bargaining Committee of SEIU’s Nashville Auto Diesel College (NADC) chapter voted overwhelmingly to approve a new five-year agreement. The new agreement will result in better working conditions, better communication procedures with Management, and will increase wages by $4.50/hr over the five-year period of the contract.
“This was a tough set of negotiations,” says local president Doug Collier. “The committee was very frustrated at some proposals Management was making and the membership was fully prepared to go on strike”. Bargaining Committee member Jeff Baker – a union member for nine years – attributed the success of the negotiations to solidarity since 90% of the NADC instructors are in the union. “If there’s one lesson to be learned here it’s that when workers stick together, they can win – even in this economy”, Baker says.