Catching up...

The past months have been frantic in the Teamster world.  It's been one national contract after another, organizing drive after organizing drive, and a host of rallies, demonstrations and protests thrown into the mix.

The level of activity is unprecedented – notwithstanding, the level of achievement is unparalleled.  In my experience we have never accomplished so much in such a short period of time.

Three national contracts have been concluded in less than a year.  Negotiations were back to back - UPS first, followed by freight, followed by DHL.  Talks were difficult, tense, at times even explosive, but in the end agreement was reached.  Money in the new pacts for wages and benefits was record-setting and all three have enhanced job security for our members.

New Members!

Shortly before being executed by a firing squad in Utah, labor activist and IWW member, Joe Hill admonished his supporters; "Don't waste time in mourning -- Organize!"  The Teamsters, somewhat belatedly, are heeding Joe Hill's advice.  In the first three months of the year we've organized close to 25,000 new members nationally --9,500 came from UPS Freight (with another 5,000 soon to follow).  Over 9,000 mechanics at United Airlines voted overwhelmingly in late March to become Teamster members. Add to that thousands more workers at First Student and MV Transportation who have said "Teamster -- Yes" and you have the largest IBT three month organizing numbers in sixty years.

Joint Council 7 Locals are part of the program.  Locals 70, 287 and 624 organized or are organizing UPS Freight locations in their areas.  856 worked tirelessly to organize United's base in San Bruno.  They won and have 2000 new members to show for it.  Bus driver units at MV Transportation have been successfully targeted by Locals 287, 315, 490 and 853, and there are more units to come.

Locals 85, 350, 890 and 912 haven't been on the sidelines.  85 is moving on DHL's San Francisco Gateway where there's close to 100 workers.  Local 350 organized Allied Waste recyclers at Newbie Island and Green Team in San Jose, and Locals 890 and 912 have ongoing campaigns in food processing, beverage and the public sector.

When necessary we've taken to the streets to make our point and drive our agenda.

Here in the Bay Area Teamsters rallied in February at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to protest Cross Border Trucking.  We were joined by the San Francisco Labor Council, CTW unions, the Sierra Club, community activists, in all about 500.  We were heard and the Teamster trucks from Southern California underscored the message.

In March we came together at San Francisco City Hall to support the organizing drive at United.  International President Jim Hoffa and Mayor Gavin Newsom were joined by hundreds of supporters and rank and file members.  The message Teamsters YES -- AMFA NO and the workers responded.

On St. Patrick's Day we did it again.  Teamster and other members of the coalition for Clean and Safe Ports marched and rallied in downtown Oakland.  We told the Port to give port drivers employee status so they can join a union and bargain collectively.

The March from Hollywood to the Docks in April was over the top.  A three-day event  supporting 350,000 Southern California workers who will negotiate contracts this year or try to organize.  The Screen Actors Guild, SEIU janitors, homecare workers, teachers, and ILWU longshore members have contracts that are expiring.