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Union's effort to win carriers fails

A labor union's efforts to win representation of the carriers who deliver the St. Petersburg Times failed after a ruling on Friday by the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board.

The carriers have been employees of the newspaper. But the Times announced last year that it is switching its method of delivery to independent contractors, a common industry practice.

The Graphic Communications International Union, based in Washington, D.C., said it wants an election among 780 home-delivery carriers. In a filing, the union said it has support from 30 percent of that group.

But NLRB Regional Director Rochelle Kentov ruled that carriers who have already switched to being independent contractors are not, by law, Times employees and therefore are not eligible to be represented by the union.

As for carriers who have not yet made the switch to being independent contractors, Kentov said they will do so in such a short period of time that it serves no purpose to hold a union election.

The union can appeal the decision to the full NLRB within two weeks.