December 2011 / January 2012
Newsletter Volume 56, Number 5
Eighty Student Transportation of America (STA) workers in San Jose voted to become members of Teamsters Local 287 on November 8, uniting for respect and a voice on the job.
“I look forward to better benefits and being treated with respect on the job,” said Kelly Watson. “My co-workers and I have really worked hard to come to this point and we’re going to continue to work hard so we can secure a good contract.”
During the organizing campaign, STA workers held a “speak out”—a meeting where they brought their concerns about their working conditions to the attention of the community. Dozens of workers spoke out about the struggles they faced and why LOCAL 533 At left: The STA organizing com- mittee reached out to their 80 co-workers to win union repre- sentation in November. they chose to form their union.
“It felt good to tell people about our struggles and to have our community actually listen to us,” Watson said. Confronting head-on issues like favoritism, no paid sick days and a lack of respect was very empowering. “Speaking out gave us the inspiration we needed to come together and form our union,” she said.
“We are elated to welcome these workers to our union and into the Teamster family,” said Local 287 President and Organizer Bob Blanchet. “These are hard working people who will make a great impact on the local. We look forward to helping them secure a strong Teamster contract.”.
Having received its charter in 1936, Local 315 was proud to celebrate its 75th Anniversary on October 15. The day’s events began at 10 a.m. with the General Membership meeting. Western Region Vice President Rome Aloise was the special guest speaker. Aloise received a big reception and spoke about his fond memories and stories of when his father, Vince, was a Business Agent and Principal Officer at Local 315.
Secretary Treasurer Dale Robbins congratulated the membership, retirees and officers on the Local’s many accomplishments over the years as he reminisced about 315’s past history.
State Senator Mark DeSaulnier and Assembly Woman Susan Bonilla sent representatives to present Robbins with special certificates of recognition from the California State Senate and Assembly.
The celebration concluded with a welcomed visit by former IBT Vice President and Joint Council 7 President Chuck Mack.
In addition to a terrific catered lunch, everyone in attendance received a special 75th Anniversary shirt, commuter mugs, lapel pins and there was a raffle for vests and hats. “It was a great time and a very nice way to cap off a wonderful and first class 75th Anniversary Celebration,” Robbins said.
After a grueling organizing drive and lots of legal work with the National Labor Relations Board, the 26 workers at OS Transport/HCA Management finally had an election and voted for the union to represent them in September.
In 2010, Teamsters Local 350 petitioned to represent the drivers for OS Transport, which subcontracts with Greenwaste Recovery, Inc. to haul waste in Gilroy. During the course of the organizing drive, the company had committed multiple egregious unfair labor practices including discharging union activists, assigning less desirable work and cutting the hours of union supporters.
“The employer tried to call the drivers “owner-operators,” so that they couldn’t unionize,” explains Secretary-Treasurer Bob Morales. In addition to filing unfair labor practice charges against the employer, the union took the case to the IRS.
The Labor Board ultimately exercised its infrequently used power, under section 106 of the Act, to obtain a federal court order enjoining the employer’s unfair labor practices and requiring it to rehire the union supporters and to restore employees to the working conditions and hours of work they had enjoyed before the union campaign. The judge’s order also required the employer to give the union access to the names and addresses of employees, post a broad cease and desist order, and permit the reading of his order to the employees.
Persuading the NLRB to seek injunctive relief during an organizing campaign, where the slow remedial process of a board trial is often too late to stop an employer from crushing an organizing campaign, can often be crucial to winning the campaign. “But, very seldom does the labor board do that,” added Morales.
“We are eager to start negotiating with the company on behalf of these workers,” Morales says, “but we still have a few unfair labor practice charges to clear up.”.
More than 400 members and their families came to the union hall on October 16 to celebrate Local 431’s 100th Anniversary. Everyone enjoyed a scrumptious BBQ lunch and the kids played on slides, jumped in bounce houses, and got their faces painted. Several officers and staff from other Joint Council 7 Locals attended the celebration as well.
Joint Council 7 President Rome Aloise was the guest speaker. He congratulated President Darryl Pratt, the Executive Board, members and retirees on their 100th Anniversary milestone.
“The Officers and Staff of Local 431 thank all members who attended,” says Pratt. “We look forward to serving the members for the next 100 years.”
The Central Valley Retirees Chapter is offering a college scholarship to students whose parent or grandparent is a member of Teamsters Local 431. (Other eligibility requirements also apply). The deadline to apply for the scholarship is December 31, 2011. If you are interested, please contact Local 431 at 559-486-5410 for an application.
Ruan, Nevada: After a six-month organizing drive, on September 22, the 45 drivers at the Ruan Transportation Terminal in Fernley, Nevada voted for Teamsters Local 533 to be their union representative. These drivers pick up the milk from 27 Northern Nevada dairies and transport it to Northern California processing locations.
“The most pressing issues for the drivers were unsafe equipment and lack of overtime pay,” says IBT Organizer Paula Macchello. “The ranch drivers pick up the milk and then the longer-haul drivers take it to Northern California for processing, working 120 hours per pay period or more. While these drivers had not been receiving overtime pay, the Ruan California Teamster drivers all get overtime pay after 40 hours.”
“Management fought hard, but in the end it became clear to the drivers that collective bargaining is the only way to make the gains they richly deserve,” said Macchello.
Local 533 Secretary-Treasurer Debbie Calkins wanted to especially thank Robert Bellis and Ed Baker, who were instrumental in building majority support for the union.
“We surveyed the workers to find out what they want in their contract and have scheduled three contract proposal meetings so far,” Calkins adds.
MV Transportation: By a margin of 18-0, the 23 mechanics who work at MV Transportation voted on October 25 to become Teamsters. “They will be added to the MV contract that we are currently negotiating,” says Calkins.
Local 601 organized three Steward Seminars in 2011. Two were held at Local 601, the first was in March and was attended by 40 stewards; the second, cosponsored with Local 890, was in September, and was attended by 70 stewards. The final workshop was in October in conjunction with the Cannery Council meeting in Reno. Speakers and presenters at the events included IBT Rep. Sally Payne, IBT Rep Betty Fisher, IBT Drive Rep Jack Peasley, WCTP Rep Edgar, Attorney Bob Bonsall, and IBT Vice President Rome Aloise.
“I would like to thank Local 601 for three excellent workshops,” says Steward Robert Dominguez. “It was great to meet shop stewards from many different barns. The workshops have been very informative from start to finish, covering many topics and duties of a shop steward. I was given the opportunity to learn about the history of organizing in both the Cannery and Food Processing Industries. I thank Secretary-Treasurer Ashley Alvarado for the opportunity to learn about our responsibilities as stewards and Teamster members.”
With the final go-ahead from the IBT General Executive Board and Joint Council 7, the merger of Locals 665 and 624 will now take place. Talks began in the summer, and since then, the membership of both locals voted to approve the merger. The merged Local will be known as Teamsters Local Union 665 and will represent nearly 6,000 members.
“This merger will combine staff and resources which will better serve a diverse membership,” said Local 665 Secretary-Treasurer Ernie Yates. “I think all our sisters and brothers will see improvements immediately.”
The merged Local will have a large jurisdiction covering the North Bay, San Francisco and the South Bay. A new main office will be located in San Francisco. The North Bay union hall in Santa Rosa will keep the same hours as before the merger. Local 665 will also maintain an office in San Jose to serve its South Bay members.
“We are excited about this merger,” said Ralph Miranda, North Bay Director and officer of the merged Local 665. “By joining forces, we will have a renewed ability to organize and grow. The opportunities for new members are great.” Miranda expects new campaign efforts in traditional North Bay jurisdictions including solid waste and school buses.
Local 665 will be forwarding more information about the merger to the entire membership in the coming weeks.
In its biggest event yet, just about 1,000 Local 853 members, plus family members, turned out for the 12th Annual Membership Appreciation Day event on November 5 at the John Muir Middle School in San Leandro. After breakfast, flu shots, and everyone getting a Local 853 windshirt, they heard Secretary-Treasurer Rome Aloise’s State of the Union. More than 300 members won prizes—from union gear to a range of electronics and flatscreen televisions.
Every November Local 856 is delighted to host its annual Thanksgiving meetings and award prizes and gifts to members. This year, the members turned the tables and gave back to the union, raising more than $1,500 for the Solidarity Fund in addition to donations of food and toys for needy union members.
The event was held on November 15 at the Best Western Grosvenor in South San Francisco where Local 856 represents front desk employees and night auditors. Nearly 200 members attended.
Fairmont San Francisco member Rich Oliver, Nancy Calderon and Shop Steward Geoffrey Brown engaged in a friendly competition with Westin Market Street members led by Shop Steward Kathleen Romero to see who could raise the most money. Calderon said that they made sure to explain what the Solidarity Fund was all about when asking for contributions: members helping members.
The Westin Market Street just edged out the Fairmont San Francisco, raising $215 to the Fairmont’s $190.
“This is our third year collecting money for the Solidarity Fund,” Romero said. “Our goal was $5 per person, and we surpassed that.”
The most vocal group was from Northwest Administrators, Inc., who energetically cheered on their fellow members as their names were called for prizes. “I come to have a good time and enjoy myself,” said Northwest Administrators Member Willie Mendieta.
And these members weren’t about to be outdone by their counterparts in the hotel division when it came to helping out; they raised nearly $260 for the fund.
“It’s a great chance to get together, win prizes and support the union,” said Shop Steward Paula Mas.
Gift baskets, boxes of See’s Candy and Safeway giftcards were raffled off, but the most coveted prizes were the hotel stays.
Oliver was the lucky winner of the grand prize: a twonight stay, including dinner for two at the San Francisco Hilton Union Square.
“I’m proud to be a Teamster,” Oliver told the crowd as he accepted his prize. “I’ve already won by being here.”
A second Thanksgiving meeting was held in Sacramento on November 16 at Teamsters Local 150 for Local 856’s large membership who work and reside in the Sacramento area.
“Because of the generosity of our members, fellow union brothers and sisters won’t go without this holiday season,” said Principal Officer Joe Lanthier.
“This is what being a Teamster is all about. It’s a very proud moment for Local 856,” he said.
“It’s not that we can’t afford to pay; its that we don’t want to.” That’s what the chief negotiator for National Beverage Corp., the parent company of Shasta Beverage in Hayward, told Local 896 negotiators when the union dismissed the company’s proposed wage and pension cut of $1.95/hour in light of the increases the company is paying for their union employees in Tukwila, Washington.
For more than 30 years, Local 896 and Shasta beverage have had a mutually beneficial relationship. Since the company’s profitability has not changed, this unscrupulous negotiation tactic was a complete surprise to the union team. As a result, the members voted unanimously to give strike authorization.
“This is our most challenging negotiation in the union’s long relationship with this employer,” says Brian Indelicato, Local 896 Business Rep. “They are leading the charge in the War on Workers right here at the Hayward Shasta Facility.”
A negotiating session took place in mid- November, and at presstime, talks are continuing. “Regardless the outcome of the next session, we are actively preparing for a battle,” adds Indelicato.
All Teamsters can help in the fight to get a good contract at Shasta. Call 1-877-NBC-FIZZ, or e-mail AskNBC@nationalbeverage.com and voice your support for the workers.