Enterprise Rent-A-Car Boycott

Community and labor groups kick-off new boycott of Enterprise Rent-A-Car

East Boston (July 12, 2007) - Outraged by flagrant management retaliation against a good faith effort by Enterprise Rent-A-Car workers to improve their wages and working conditions, a broad coalition of labor and community organizations -- and many elected officials -- announced their support for a consumer boycott of the company. The effort is designed to level economic pressure on the nation's largest auto rental employer because of its abuse of workers' rights at its East Boston airport rental facility.

Enterprise is vulnerable to a boycott because consumers have many car companies to choose from when they make their rental decisions. Enterprise also has large accounts with auto insurance companies and state and local governments that may be responsive to the boycott. For example, Enterprise is the exclusive car rental company of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

"Enterprise relies on a good reputation to rent and sell cars in over 30 Boston area locations," said IUE-CWA Local 201 President Jeff Crosby at an event to kick-off the boycott at Enterprise's East Boston facility. "Unless management reconsiders its actions and respects its employees, that reputation will suffer. In this era of internet communications, damaging information of public concern can spread very quickly and have a lasting impact."

More than 25 community and labor groups have already pledged to support the Enterprise boycott. Many elected officials have also expressed support, including: Senator Pat Jehlen, Councilman Felix Arroyo, Chelsea City Council President Roseann Bongiovanni, State Rep. Denise Provost and State Rep. Martin Walsh.

"It's an outrage that workers who try to form a union can be faced with mass firing," Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry wrote in a joint statement. "We strongly support your efforts to represent workers at Enterprise's East Boston airport site, and we're concerned about the company's strong-arm tactics to defeat your campaign."

Congressman Michael Capuano also lent his support. "The right to organize is a fundamental human right, enshrined in the United States law since the New Deal," Capuano said in a
prepared statement. "I urge that all employers respect the right to organize and refrain from retaliating against organizers."

The Enterprise Rent-A-Car workers have spent the last year and a half trying without success to get management to address their concerns about wages, safety and discrimination in job assignments and promotions. Tensions between Enterprise management and workers peaked on June 4 when workers petitioned the NLRB to form a union with IUE-CWA Local 201.

Soon afterwards, on June 13, management informed the shuttle van and car prep workers that their jobs would be subcontracted to a Houston, TX staffing services company and told drivers they would now have to apply for jobs at other Enterprise locations.

"All we wanted was voice at work and a union contract to improve our wages and working conditions," said Enterprise shuttle van driver Jonny Arevalo. "Instead management is depriving us of our rights by making all of us apply for new jobs. It's really outrageous!"

The workers filed a complaint on June 15 with the National Labor Relations Board, citing the federal law prohibiting any retaliation against workers for joining together to improve conditions, including the formation of a union. A decision on the charge is still pending.

"Enterprise continues to tout its record earnings," said Isabel Lopez, a health and safety specialist at MassCOSH. "But this summer more Massachusetts rental car customers will go elsewhere to spend their dollars at other companies that treats their workers with more respect and dignity."

Boycott organizers distributed a public flyer and announced plans for a boycott website. For copies of the flyer and a complete list of organizations backing the boycott, contact Rand Wilson or Khadijah Britton at the above numbers.

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Press Release
For immediate release
July 12, 2007
For more info contact:
Rand Wilson, c) (617) 803-0799
Khadijah Britton, c) (917) 957-1837