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Joliet IKEA workers vote to join Machinists

A group tours IKEA's 1.25-million-square-foot Joliet distribution facility in Joliet during opening ceremonies in October.
A group tours IKEA's 1.25-million-square-foot Joliet distribution facility in Joliet during opening ceremonies in October.

Workers at IKEA’s Joliet and Minooka distribution centers have voted to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers, the union announced Friday.

The vote, which took place Wednesday and Thursday, involves 186 workers, the Machinists said in a news release.

IKEA opened its 1.25 million-square-foot Joliet facility in October. Company officials at the time described the Joliet location as IKEA’s most advanced distribution facility.

The company since has been in the process of moving distribution operations from Minooka to Joliet.

Machinists organizer Dennis Mendenhall said in the release that joining the union gives the workers “the opportunity to negotiate on wages, benefits and work rules. But this campaign was mostly about fairness and a voice on the job, as well as ensuring that the profits they create also benefit their families and communities.”

Mendenhall told The Herald-News that the organization effort started in May and was the second for local IKEA workers. Workers turned down a union in a vote in May 2018, Mendenhall said. But the union was called back this year.

The 186 workers in the union are all the non-management employees at the two IKEA facilities, he said.

The Machinists already represent IKEA workers at distribution facilities in Perryville, Maryland; Westampton, New Jersey; and Savannah, Georgia. The union also represents workers at an IKEA manufacturing plant in Danville, Virginia.

IKEA issued a statement saying, “We believe the choice to be represented by a union lies solely with the co-worker and we respect the decision made by the co-workers in our Joliet and Minooka distribution centers.”

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