When Super Shuttle expanded their business in the Sacramento area, Local 150’s membership grew from 15 to 70+ members. The Sacramento location is now being used as the central location to dispatch drivers -- not only for Sacramento, but for San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Ontario and more.
Many of the new employees were not familiar with unionized companies, but are quickly realizing the benefits of belonging to the Teamsters Union. "I am proud to say our original members were, and continue to be very helpful with explaining the importance of a unionized workplace and encouraging the newer employees to become involved," says Business Agent Nancy Jones. "Prior to this expansion, we successfully negotiated a new contract with substantial increases in all economic areas and these members know the value of standing strong and remaining united."
Local 150 members work around-the-clock dispatching calls for pick-ups and drop-offs not only for the Super Shuttle Blue Van but also for the Express and Execucar portion of the company. So the next time you make a call to Super Shuttle for a van, limousine or towncar to either pick up or deliver a passenger to the airport in a timely fashion, know that you are speaking to a Teamster brother or sister!
On June 26, 2012, Teamsters from across Califorfornia came together in Modesto to let the owner of ice cream manufacturer Paleteria La Michoacana know that they will not tolerate his illegal and immoral actions -- terminating approximately 40 delivery drivers for their organizing efforts.
Joined by labor legend and United Farmworkers co-founder Delores Huerta and Teamsters Vice President Rick Middleton, union members from Teamsters Locals 386, 572 and 853 and about 250 supporters sang and chanted at owner Ignacio Gutierrez. At one point Vice President Middleton challenged “Nacho” to come out and explain his side of the story.
"Charges against La Michoacana are pending before the NLRB," says Secretary-Treasurer Gaylord Phillips. "While we wait, the union is actively looking for jobs for the terminated employees." Delores Huerta gave an inspirational speech equating the struggle of the employees of La Michoacana with that of the farm workers in the sixties and seventies. "Forty years later we are still fighting for justice," she said.
One hundred sixty four First Transit employees, most of whom are members of Local 533, split more than $100,000 after the local won an arbitration about floating holidays. This came about after First Transit lost the RTC/Citifare contract and decided they only needed to give their employees one floating holiday as opposed to the number called for in the union contract.
"The union received the checks a day before MV Teamsters picnic, so we were able to distribute many of them there," says Secretary-Treasurer Debbie Calkins. "That make the picnic even more of a special event."
New contract at MV: After a long, tough year of negotiating and the company seemingly pushing the union to strike, Local 533 finally has a ratified contract with MV Transit for Reno's bus drivers.
"These members truly understand what it means to be a Teamster," says Calkins. "They are a strong cohesive unit in a right to work (for less) state."
Calkins especially wanted to thank the negotiating committee for the long hours they put in: E-board Vice-President George R. Thrower, Daleen Smothers, Mike Guerra, Mike Humes, Pepp Monteleon, and Eric Martelle.
First contracts: Calkins also noted that two new groups: Ruan Dairy and the MV Maintenance Department, both ratified their first contracts. "We’re pleased to welcome these new Teamsters!"
About 12,000 members of Locals 601 and 948 who work for 17 cannery processors throughout the Stockton, Visalia, Escalon, and Hanford area have ratified their new three-year contract.
The Cannery Council, this year lead by Local 601 Secretary-Treasurer Ashley Alvarado, has negotiated similar multiemployer master contracts for the past 70 years.
"This time was more difficult than ever," Alvarado said,"“because even though the companies are still making money, they want to take advantage of the economic situation. A few companies shut down over the past few years and many cannery workers lost their jobs."
Making matters worse, Seneca, an employer that intended to pull out of the talks three years ago but filed too late, successfully pulled out this time. "We were concerned about what the other employers would do if they saw Seneca pull out with no consequences," explains Alvarado. "Negotiating these contracts individually would be very costly and we would lose leverage if we have to go one by one with the employers."
With assistance from the International IBT, the Cannery Council launched an organizing and educational campaign at Seneca.
On another front, International Vice President and Joint Council 7 President Rome Aloise met with Seneca’s Chief Financial Officer. "I don’t know what happened there, but the next day we got a call that Seneca was rejoining the talks." Alvarado adds that this was their first victory. "With help from Theresa Conroe from the International, Mike Johnston, and some losttimers, it was truly a group effort. Rome took it across the finish line."
Alvarado says that the employers wanted to take away some of the best benefits in the contract, but in the end, the Council negotiated a solid agreement that included good wage increases and holding the line on health and welfare. "Thanks to everybody’s efforts, we were able to stay together and negotiate as a team."
Local 665 filed 13 unfair labor charges and asked for a 10(j) injunction with the National Labor Relations Board citing glaring irregularities during a representation election for 40 workers at the Springhill Jersey cheese processing facility in Petaluma. The hearing to decide this matter will be on August 15.
The workers supply various flavors of cheese under the brand name Petaluma Creamery. According to union supporters, they were subjected to illegal captive meetings, some two hours before the start of the government-supervised election, and were explicitly threatened with firings and plant closures if the "union wins."
Local 665 organizers had worked closely with the primarily Spanish-speaking workforce and believed they had been overwhelmingly supportive of union representation prior to these threats. The union lost the election by three votes.
After the election was over, four workers plus the two union-side observers in the election were fired, being accused by management of voting in favor of union representation. The union alleges that this is illegal retaliation.
These and other flagrant actions by the company forced Local 665 leadership to ask the NLRB to overturn the election results, asserting that the process was tainted and unfair. As additional relief, the union has asked the agency to issue a "bargaining order" compelling the employer to negotiate with the union. The NLRB will concur with this request if it finds that the conduct of the employer was so egregious that a fair re-run election would be impossible.
Local 665 Business Representative Mike Yates is the lead organizer at Springhill, with the assistance of Business Representative David Rodriguez.
By a vote of 23-10, the employees at Stonyfield Farm, a producer of dairy products in Antioch, said loud and clear that they wanted Local 853 to represent them. The election has been certified by the Labor Board, proposal meetings have been held and negotiations are slated to start in mid-August, reports Organizer Rodney Smith.
"We've made a few attempts to organize here in the past, but each time, the employer sold the employees a package of promises and they backed down," says Smith. "What they wanted was a grievance procedure, dignity and solidarity, and this time they were victorious."
Smith wanted to acknowledge Daniel Gonzalez who was instrumental in speaking with his co-workers and getting them to understand what it means to belong to a.
By Nicole Casey, Local 856
It’s one thirty on a Tuesday afternoon. Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA Corporal and Teamster Shop Steward Dustin Lorensen is sitting in his van, about to dive into his lunch, when he gets a call over the radio. There’s an incident involving a pitbull in San Mateo that needs his attention immediately. Lunch is over. For now.
For the more than 40 Local 856 members at the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA, a day’s work is never done. These Teamsters toil around the clock taking care of the nearly 700 animals that live at the shelter's two facilities, and also lost, injured and otherwise in-need animals in the PHS’s jurisdiction. Lorensen arrives at a grisly scene. Two pitbulls have allegedly attacked and killed a neighboring dog.
Lorensen now has to conduct an examination, take evidence and talk to the devastated owners.
"This is the emotional part of the job," Lorensen said. "You have to keep your composure though, you can’t take it personally -- you don’t know what’s going on in someone’s life."
It’s not all disturbing situations for Lorensen though; the tough calls are balanced out by the rewarding ones. "The rescues are the best parts," he said.
In 2009 he was dispatched to a driving range in Foster City to help a baby raccoon who had climbed up a 150-foot pole. Lorensen worked with the fire department to relieve the animal from its predicament, having to climb up quite a distance himself. "Those are the calls I enjoy the most," he said.
Meanwhile, back at the PH's two shelters, Teamsters are keeping busy doing everything from making sure that the animals are fed and have clean environments to sleep and play, to dispatching animal control officers and helping potential pet parents adopt their new furry friends. Or not so furry. Although the PHS is home to many cats, dogs and other mammals, the facility also takes care of pets of the more exotic variety, like snakes and lizards.
"Finding animals good homes is very satisfying," said Local 856 Member and Customer Service Representative Serena Castellanos. She has been working directly with adopters in finding their perfect pet match for the last year and a half at the PHS’s new Burlingame location.
"Most of us are animal freaks," said Castellanos, who shares her own home with two dogs, a snake and a couple of hamsters.
Shop Steward and Animal Care Technician Randall Watts concurs. "I've been working here for two and half years and just love it," he said. Watts was introduced the job by his girlfriend, a fellow Teamster and customer service representative. "I always had animals, but I hadn’t thought about working with them before," he said.
In addition to loving her job, Castellanos, who comes from a union family, is also happy to be Teamster. "I’m grateful to have great benefits like dental and vision," she said.
Watts said that it’s important for all members to be informed of what’s going on in the bargaining unit. "I try to talk to everyone in my department and make sure we’re on the same page," he said. "I like to discuss ideas with everyone, and see if we can come up with creative solutions to problems."
The members recently unanimously ratified a 4- year collective bargaining agreement that includes wage increases and maintenance of their health and welfare benefits.
"Our members at the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA work hard day-in and day-out to care for the animals that can’t care for themselves. Their professionalism and selflessness is to be commended. It embodies what being a Teamster is all about," said Local 856 Principal Officer Joe Lanthier.