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Ticketmaster employees seek to unionize

Ticketmaster employees seek to unionize

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BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. - Management at the ReserveAmerica/Ticketmaster call center is urging workers to think hard about plans to affiliate with a local union.

For the second time this week, a handful of workers picketed the company outside the South Street office to further their effort to join the Schenectady-based Communications Workers of America Local 408. Earlier in the day, employees received a memo from management urging them not to sign union cards.

Pay, health care costs and a punitive "point" system are among employees' concerns.

According to Chris Debiec, an organizer with Local 408, between 175 and 200 people work at the call center.

Most are paid between $7.50 and $8.50 per hour to take campground reservations and handle Ticketmaster calls.

Debiec served management with a petition Tuesday signed by 16 employees indicating their intent to organize.

Gansevoort resident Kate Garrity, who has worked at the center for a year, said she likes the job -but not the working conditions.

"I like coming to work," said Garrity, who was outside on her 10-minute break.

"I don't enjoy that I have to live with my parents still because we only make $8.50 per hour, and I have to pay my car insurance and car payments and my health insurance and schooling."

ReserveAmerica spokesman John McDonald said Thursday he could not comment on the situation.

The memo sent to employees advised them to proceed carefully.

"Regardless of what the union organizers may claim, the truth is that there are many disadvantages to working in a union shop, including the costs of dues, risk of strikes and in many cases, the loss of your flexibility" said the memo, which was signed by Gary Evans, ReserveAmerica director of call centers.

"For these reasons, Ticketmaster/ReserveAmerica believes that unionization is not in the best interests of our agents."

The union needs about 30 percent of the site's employees to sign a card before an election can be held to decide if the office will unionize, according to Debiec.

"You want to have as many as you can get," he said.

"With the anti-union campaign now, it's going to be a tough process."

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