Members of the graphic communications union employed at Digital XPress last week voted overwhelmingly to leave the union effective November 2, 2017, according to Jodi Hess, company president.
Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board issued a letter stating that the results had not been contested, making the vote official.
The printing, mailing, prepress and bindery departments at DXP had been unionized for over three decades. “This past summer, members of our workforce initiated a grassroots movement to reconsider their union affiliation,” said Ms. Hess. “The viability of union pension funds was at the heart of their concerns.”
“Several months ago, the union announced that our pension fund was in serious trouble, and that we would need to accept significant benefit reductions in order to save it,” said Tim Hotaling, DXP press operator and union delegate for the shop. “This revelation came only three years after the membership had voted to accept previous reductions that promised to keep the fund solvent for 25 years.”
Mr. Hotaling also served on the executive board of the union local for about 10 years. “Unfortunately, I could no longer ignore the uncertainty plaguing our union pensions,” he said. “I believed it was time to end our union affiliation and initiated the process that led to the vote.”
“We have always respected and supported our employees’ right to decide whether union membership is in their own best interests,” said Ms. Hess. “We also recognize that continuing to support them now remains in the best interests of our customers.
“Customers can expect the same conscientious craftspeople in all of the departments affected to continue performing at a high level,” added Ms. Hess. “We do not foresee any changes in staffing or pricing as a direct result of our employees’ decision to leave the union.”
One thing has changed: Digital XPress is no longer able to include union bugs on the materials it produces. Ms. Hess suggested that customers speak to their salesperson or project coordinator if this becomes an issue on any of their projects.
“While we can no longer place a union label on our work, the high quality of that work will not waver,” said Mr. Hotaling. “Rest assured, the same dedicated craftspeople customers have come to trust will still be manning the equipment and minding the store.”
Digital XPress employs about 75 people and is located at 5 Sand Creek Road in Albany, NY. Founded in 1981, the firm provides printing, mailing, large format display graphics and design and copywriting services to clients throughout the Northeast.