Newsletter Volume 56, Number 2
On January 20, 62 workers at First Student in Concord ratified their first contract and became proud members of Local 315.
“The members really stood together in determined solidarity during the organizing campaign and throughout contract negotiations,” said Secretary Treasurer Dale Robbins. “I have to give credit to Local 315 Organizer/BA Jim Sveum and to First Student drivers Sylvester Williams and Rob Robberson for keeping the members informed and unified throughout the process.
The unity paid off as, in these tough economic times, the local was able to get wage increases, retroactive to August, 2010 and into the future as well as health and welfare improvements, job security provisions, and other significant guaranteed terms and conditions of employment that the members demanded.
“This campaign was a solid victory and a successful way to begin the New Year,” Robbins said as he welcomed the newest members of Local 315.
The Rally at Los Angeles was an unforgettable experience for me. I was truly excited to see what the rally brought to our communities. The support, enthusiasm and unity among of all the Teamsters and other union organizations was motivating. We were all marching for one single cause—the fight for worker’s rights in all of our states.
I am sure that united, we will accomplish our goals, because unity means power and also makes us stronger. Personally, I am willing to help in any way possible. I also would like to invite our brothers and sisters to join us and show support for our union brothers and sisters from Wisconsin, who are going through difficult times.
La Marcha en Los Angeles fue una experiencia inolvidable para mi. Fue impresionante ver el apoyo y el entusiasmo de todos los Teamsters y otras uniones unidas por una sola causa—defender el derecho de los trabajdores de nuestros estados.”
Estoy seguro que todos unidos lograremos nuestros propositos por que la union hace la fuerza. Personalmente, estoy dispuesto a apoyar y invito a todas las personas a que apoyen en esta causa. Es muy importante que apoyemos a nuestros hermanos de Union de Wisconson, que hoy estan pasando por momentos dificiles.
2011 is proving to be another big year for negotiations, reports Secretary-Treasurer Gaylord Phillips.
Teamsters Local 386 has just wrapped up and ratified contracts with Olam International, Darling International, Merced Transportation, Berkeley Farms and Sara Lee. Contracts are open for Merced County Mosquito Abatement District, Ameripride, Aramark, TechTrans, Calaveras Materials, Versa- Cold/Americold, Organized Labor Credit Union, G.R. Clark, Mission Linen and Mission Industrial.
“We continue to negotiate with the newly organized CVS/Pharmacy distribution center in Patterson,” Phillips says. “When that contract is ratified, we will increase our membership by 625.”
Local 386’s First Annual Membership Appreciation Picnic will take place on August 20, 2011. Watch for further details, but be sure and circle the date on your calendar and plan on attending this event.
Tickets are available for purchase for the Local 386 Father’s Day at the Coliseum bus trip. The Giants and the A’s will do battle. Purchase price includes commemorative shirt, tail-gate party before the game, and premium seating at the game.
In solidarity with the workers in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and across the nation who were standing up for their right to be union members, the California State Labor Federation called on all Labor Councils in Northern California to join together in a rally at the State Capitol on February 22. In one of the biggest Sacramento demonstrations in memory, thousands of union supporters and activists turned out, including a large contingent from Local 439.
“Unfortunately, many union members are sadly in the dark about what truly is at stake in this labor struggle,” said Local 439 Secretary-Treasurer Sam Rosas. “We have to become aggressive to protect what we have, especially in light of groups like the tea party movement that are saying that ‘unions ought to become non-existent’ and that ‘unions are the problem.’ I take those statements personally, and so should every union member. Our right to be union members is under attack and in some cases, we are attacking each other. This needs to come to an abrupt end. We need to embrace one another and fight this fight together.”
Rosas reports that during organizing campaigns and current negotiations such as with DBI (beer distribution for Corona, Heineken, Coors Light, and Blue Moon), companies are demanding language that would give workers the right not to join the union if they choose not to. “California is not a right to work (slave) state, but rather a state that allows for workers to have union representation and bargain collectively,” Rosas says.
Local 665 has 65 members who drive shuttle busses for Cal Train in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. They work for a contractor called PCAM, LLC and earn about $12-$14/hour. With CalTrain’s budget in the red, PCAM is seeking to gut their medical coverage entirely. About 15 members attended the Cal Train Joint Powers Board meeting in San Mateo County on March 3, and several testified at that meeting about their need to retain their health insurance. “It’s important that these members spoke up for themselves. We’re working on ensuring that they have decent benefits in upcoming negotiations,” said Local 665 President Mark Gleason.
If you’ve been in the unfortunate position of having to call 911 in Daly City, Fremont, Burlingame, San Bruno, Atherton, Woodlake or Merced County, then you’ve relied on a fellow Teamster to get you the help you need.
Public Safety Dispatchers are the first ones people call when they are in crisis, but are the otherwise unsung heroes behind the scenes of both high profile and everyday emergencies.
When a gas line explosion destroyed a San Bruno neighborhood last September, City of Burlingame Dispatcher Shirley Nicholas was one of the first responders. “I was on my way to the movietheaterin San Bruno, as soon as I found out what happened, I volunteered,” shesaid.
Nicholas stayed well into the night connecting family members with loved oneswho lived in the neighborhood.
“It was horrible,” Nicholas says of the experience,which hit particularly close to home. Nicholas had previously worked for theCity of San Bruno and knew people who were closely affected by the devastation.
Not everyone is cut out to be on the receiving end of frantic phone calls.“Dispatching is a knack,” said Ginny Powell, a 24-year public safety dispatcher withthe Fremont Police Department. “You have to be adaptable to change your gameplan at a moment’s notice.”
Dealing with panicked callers takes a person who is calm, articulate, can maintain a clear head— and also be a coach at times. Powell said her job requires her to process information quickly and be able to turn it around and put it back out so that the right emergency personnel get to the people in need.
Dispatchers are not only crucial to the general public, but are also a lifeline for police, fire and other emergency personnel. If emergency personnel need assistance or back up, it’s the dispatchers who connect them with the right people.
“There is not a lot of glory, but we take a lot of pride in doing a good job every day and being part of a team that does a good job,” Powell said.
Nicholas said the recent backlash against public employees is frustrating. “People seem to forget that we’re here for them 24/7,” she said. “We want to them to be OK – we want to keep everyone safe out there.”
“Most people only realize the vital importance of 911 and the public safety dispatcher’s job when they have an emergency,” said Local 856 Principal Officer Joseph Lanthier.
“We take pride in celebrating the job they do every day and thank them for their dedication to public safety,” he said.
Local 948 Secretary-Treasurer Lupe Juarez reports on several contracts under negotiations. The Local is currently in talks with Ruan #309 and would like to thank Joint Councils 7 and 42 and Paul Kenny from the Food & Drug Council and for all their support.
The Teasdale Quality Foods contract was ratified in March, 2011. The Greif Brothers contract is going to ratification soon. We are still in talks with Kozy Shack about the economics of the new contract. And, talks with Ruan #504 and Silgan Containers in Modesto are getting ready to open.
Finally, the local is now holding orientations and registrations for the upcoming season at Del Monte Foods in the Kingsburg and Hanford plants.