In August, when several forest fires near Redding destroyed more than 50 homes and threatened many others, the Teamsters stepped up to help. Secretary- Treasurer Dave Hawley lives in the area and Local 137 represents two of the school districts in the fire zones.
On Friday August 24, Hawley contacted Joint Council 7 President Rome Aloise with a plan to utilize the Joint Council 7 truck to provide much needed water to the victims and fire fighters. Aloise and the Executive Board immediately authorized the plan.
Local 853 Business Agents Dennis Hart and Jessie Casqueiro contacted Alhambra and were able secure over $13,000 of bottled water for just $2,500. A big thank you to Alhambra for the donation!
By 5:00 PM that same day, Joint Council 7 driver Doug Radonich had loaded the trailer full of water in Sacramento and delivered it to the Salvation Army’s distribution center in Redding. Those 21 pallets of water arrived just in time, as numerous fires were burning in the area and the Salvation Army’s water supply had been depleted.
Once again, our Joint Council and Locals acted decisively to assist our members and their community in a time of need.
By a vote of 37 to 7, the drivers at STA ratified their first Teamster contract. The five-year agreement includes 12% wage increases, sick leave and major improvements in their medical plan. Not only did they vote yes for their new contract, but all of the new Teamsters Local 287 members present registered to vote as well. “This will bring another 90 new members to the Local immediately and the company is in the process of hiring 30 new drivers,” says Local 287 President/ Business Agent Bob Blanchet.
Local 315 members attend a workshop on voter registration and the No on Prop 32 campaign. “The training was critical in our Local’s efforts to reach our target of registering 700 members to vote,” said Secretary- Treasurer Dale Robbins.
Local 439 kept a full calendar of events over the summer, including the annual picnic and annual fishing trip. More than 1,200 members came out for the picnic. This event included—at no cost to the member or family—several jumping bins for the kids, face painting, cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn, hamburgers, hot dogs, and tacos for lunch. Every member received a free 2012 T-Shirt.
International Vice President (and Joint Council 7 President) Rome Aloise was the keynote speaker, Also speaking was the California Labor Federation’s Art Pulaski and several local politicians.
To close the event Local 439 raffled off more than 100 gifts! Save the date for next year’s picnic—August 31, 2013.
Local 439, through the International, chartered its first Motorcycle Association called the “Teamster Horsemen.” Our first ride was a Poker Run through the foothills that ended with a celebration at the picnic for riders and spouses. “Through this Motorcycle Association, we hope to build solidarity and enhance camaraderie among our Teamster brother and sisters, raise funds to help our members with various hardships, and donate to charitable organizations, especially children’s organizations,” says Secretary- Treasurer Sam Rosas.
We are now accepting applications for anyone interested in joining us. For more information, call Cary Daughters at 209-482-8505.
In August, more than 200 employees of Marquez Brothers Inc. in Hanford (Kings County) voted to join Teamsters Local 517. The primarily Latino immigrant workers help produce dairy products for the largest distributor of Mexican consumer products in the country.
For Marquez Brothers employees, organizing was not an easy feat. The company held daily meetings to try and influence their employees against joining the union. Marquez Brothers is now challenging the election results and spreading fear throughout the workplace in hopes of coercing employees into calling for a new election. Additionally, on the Monday after the election, Marquez Brothers began telling the employees that representatives from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would be at the plant on Friday checking immigration status as workers picked up their paychecks.
“99% of the employees at Marquez are Latino,” said Chester Suniga, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 517. “It’s outrageous that a Latino company appears to be taking advantage of our broken immigration system to deprive their employees of a voice at work.”
Joint Council 7 President Rome Aloise, who also directs the IBT’s Dairy Conference and Food Processing Division, is reaching out to Latino elected officials to ask for their support in future negotiations with Marquez. Joint Council 7 understands that organizing is part of a long-term project to build power for Latinos in the Central Valley. The same week that the employees at Marquez Brothers in Hanford voted to join our Union, a Teamster-supported project registered over 500 Latinos to vote in the City of Hanford itself. “Our Union is steadfastly committed to Latinos having representation at their workplace and in local government,” stated Aloise.
“With this victory, Teamsters Joint Council 7 has grown by over 10,000 new members since 2010!” says Political Director Doug Bloch, who notes that the Teamsters is the largest union of food chain workers in California.
Local 665 held its third annual North Bay Benefits Fair on September 8 in Petaluma. The event included an open session for members to ask questions of the various providers.
More than 100 members from across the North Bay came to hear from benefit providers Zenith Administrators, DMC Administrators, Kaiser Permanente, United Healthcare, Anthem/ Blue Cross, Delta Dental, BriteNow! Dental, and VSP. Others— Rael & Letson, United Concordia Dental, and McMorgan Investments— generously provided gifts and prizes for those in attendance.
Congrats to welder Jeff Palmer, of Marin Sanitary Service, who walked away with the grand prize donated by McMorgan and Company—a 46” flat screen TV.
In a stunning development, on September 14, the 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno reversed the Tulare County Superior Court’s ruling on VWR International’s Visaliabased distribution center, stopping their move from Brisbane.
Teamsters Local 853 has represented employees at VWR in Brisbane for more than 50 years. In 2010, VWR abruptly announced they were shuttering the Brisbane plant and moving the facility to Visalia. The right to transfer and enhanced severance packages were off the table. VWR was clear that they intended to keep the new facility non-union.
Looking for ways to stop the move, in December, 2010, Teamsters Joint Council 7 was joined by several groups in filing a lawsuit under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) against VWR and the City of Visalia. Joining the union was the Association of Irritated Residents (AIR); the Center for Environmental Health; the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment; and the Coalition for Clean Air.
The City of Visalia had fast-tracked the new facility despite union efforts to convince the City to conduct a full environmental impact review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and despite citizens’ concerns about the impact of truck trips and the transport of hazardous chemicals on traffic, air quality, and public health in the region.
When the Tulare County Superior Court ruled against the union and its allies, Attorney General Kamala Harris filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief to support their appeal.
“In a region with record air pollution, VWR seems to care about clean air about as little as they care about their employees,” said Joint Council 7 President Rome Aloise.
“The City of Visalia should never have approved this project without considering the environmental and public health problems it would cause,” said Elizabeth Jonasson of the Coalition for Clean Air’s Fresno office. “This victory goes to clean air and protecting public health.”
The Court of Appeal found that VWR did not obtain a required Planned Development Permit as required under the Visalia Municipal Code prior to the City issuing any building permits. Likewise, the Court determined that Visalia’s Notice of Exemption under CEQA was null and void because it was filed before the project was approved—another sidestep of the law. Finally, the Court ruled that the City of Visalia may have illegally provided VWR with $1.5 million in taxpayer money for “site-related improvements” in violation of its own municipal code.
Importantly, the Court ruled that VWR will have to pay the union’s attorney’s fees. “We can now press VWR and the City to follow the environmental impact requirements of the law, potentially delaying their move to Visalia by 18 months,” says Aloise. “But of course, we expect the company to appeal the case to the
Local 948 recently ratified a new three year contract at Del Monte Foods in Hanford. The local was able to negotiate a contract with solid wage increases and no reduction in health and welfare benefits.
“A special thanks to all the members and the negotiating committee— Norma Vinegas, Tim Thiel and Scott Olson—for all of their input and hard work. It truly was a team effort,” says Secretary-Treasurer Adam Ochoa.
Granite Construction also ratified a new 3-year contract that includes wage increases and actually lowers the cost for health and welfare while maintaining the same level of coverage.