Local 533 welcomes two of our newest members, Maria Knutson and Louis Alcala, of Waste Management in Carson City, who were thrilled to attend the Joint Council 7 Annual Seminar. They got to meet other Teamsters, as well as Joint Council 7 President Rome Aloise and thank them, in person, for supporting the workers who voted to become members of Local 533.
Local 533 is also greatly indebted to Joint Council 28 President Rick Hicks and Local 70 Business Agent Felix Martinez, for writing letters of support to let our group know they were not alone as their Company had repeatedly told the 38-person group in captive-audience meetings. These letters showed our group that they had support from Teamsters in other areas and that they would have strong support going forward.
This group stood tough and overwhelmingly voted “Yes” to being represented by Local 533.
Local 601’s organizing committee is building support for the organizing drive at Taylor Farms in Tracy, as the company runs a full-blown anti-union campaign. On October 29, union members and workers joined together for a visibility day. Thanks to Locals 853, 386, 439 and Joint Council 7 for their support of the event. Organizer Manuel Rodriguez invites all Teamsters and supporters to go to “Justice at Taylor Farms” on Facebook.
Following the Great Recession, airport workers around the country struggled to maintain wages and conditions they had worked hard for, and Local 665 members at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and San Jose International Airport (SJC) were no exceptions. With an improved economy, improvements are on the horizon for Local 665 rent-a-car, bus drivers and parking garage workers at both facilities.
During the summer Local 665 signed off on the IBT’s letter of understanding which will bring 70 new members, currently employed at Dollar/Thrifty RAC, into the union as part of the purchase of that company by Hertz RAC.
“We look forward to welcoming these new members,” said Local 665 Secretary-Treasurer Mark Gleason.
In October, SFO Avis/Budget RAC members ratified a new five-year agreement that includes long-awaited wage improvements, Western Conference of Teamsters Pension increases during three of the agreement years, and premiums for dispatchers, lube and tire techs.
While negotiations were in process, one member of the Avis bargaining unit, En Cheng Li, won an arbitration decision resulting in eight months of back pay.
“These talks with this employer were difficult, and I think the members recognized this fact as they ratified the agreement,” said Local 665 Vice President Chuck Andrew.
At another area of SFO, members at Standard Parking/New South ratified a threeyear deal which continued their status as the highest-paid airport parking facility employees in the U.S. The agreement they ratified includes annual salary improvements and a pension increase, while maintaining the rest of their economic package. “The members at Standard worked with the Local leadership to make sure that they maintained long-fought conditions, and together I believe we accomplished that goal,” said Business Agent Phil Ybarrolaza.
With this trend, SFO bus drivers opened negotiations on November 1 with expectations of maintaining and improving their contract at the conclusion of scheduled talks.
In Silicon Valley, Avis/Budget RAC members at SJC prepared for negotiations for a new contract, and bus drivers employed at Veolia at the San Jose Airport also awaited for the start of talks.
At press time, members employed by ABM as auditors and bus drivers at SJC were reviewing an offer by the company that includes wage improvements during each of three years.
Other pending negotiations include new agreements for taxi dispatchers and van coordinators employed by ABM at SFO and contract talks for Local 665 members employed at Enterprise/National/Alamo at SFO and SJC.
On October 28, the 55 processors, packers, machinists and lead people who work at Western Eagle, a plastics company in Livermore, voted to be Teamsters.
“The workers haven’t had a raise in the last two years and they wanted to better themselves,” says Organizer Frank Harms. “They also wanted to make the company better and stronger.”
Harms says that the company fought hard to keep the union from coming in, but the workers stood up for themselves and stood strong.
Harms credits Jose Lopez, a worker at the facility, for standing up with everybody and leading them to victory. He also credits lead organizer Rodney Smith, who put in long hours on the campaign and really saw it through to successful completion. Finally, he acknowledged Secretary-Treasurer Rome Aloise for offering his strategic know-how and expertise.
“As always, union campaigns are about rights, dignity, respect, seniority and a strong contract,” says Rodney Smith. “The workers stood up for themselves and said ‘we need a contract’ Well, we look forward to negotiating that contract with them.”
Perseverance pays off. Local 856 member Irene Mani learned this firsthand when her year-and-half fight to win her job back culminated in a stunning victory: an arbitrator ruled that Mani be reinstated to her job at Avis Car Rental and be made whole for loss of wages and benefits, including interest.
In June of 2012, Mani was forging a promising new career as a rental sales associate at Avis, when she was suddenly terminated for allegedly violating an unwritten rule. She had been receiving accolades from management and co-workers alike on her professionalism and was even routinely ranked among the top sales earners, so when management requested a meeting with her, she had no idea she was about to be disciplined.
“I even jokingly asked if I was getting an award when I was called in,” Mani said. It was quite the opposite. Mani was informed that she was the subject of an investigation. Because Mani had previously had a good rapport with her managers, and was a relatively new union member, she did not think to assert her Weingarten Rights and ask for a union representative to be present in the meeting.
Mani now realizes that was a mistake. “I now know, no matter how much you think they’re your friend, don’t ever go into a conversation with management without a union representative.” Mani said that having a union representative present would have leveled the playing field. “They had three people on their side, and I only had one: me. I was shaking in my boots.”
Until September of 2011, Mani had never been a union member and didn’t know much about unions. But her interest level changed with her termination. “I wanted to know more about my union and how unions help people,” she said.
While waiting for the outcome of her case, Mani stepped up to support her fellow members: she walked the DBI picket line and represented Local 856 at the Summer Institute on Union Women in Seattle in June. At the Institute, Mani joined other Local 856 members and women from across North America to take classes to learn more about the labor movement and how to empower fellow members. “It was invigorating, it got that fire burning — that we can stand up and make a difference,” she said.
“The great thing about Irene is that she decided that if her union was going to support her, she was going to support her union,” said Local 856 Representative and Trustee Rudy Gonzalez, who represented Mani in her termination case. “From the beginning, I knew that I didn’t do anything wrong,” said Mani. The arbitrator agreed, stating in the decision that an alleged violation of an unwritten rule cannot be the basis of disciplinary action.
Gonzalez believes this case is a win on multiple levels. “Not only is a member who was unjustly terminated returned to work, but she is going back an impassioned union member,” he said.
“Irene exemplifies the tenets of a true unionist: courage, conviction and solidarity. We are proud that she is a Local 856 member,” said Local 856 Secretary-Treasurer Peter Finn. “If you believe in the course, you have to stick it through,” Mani said. “Deep down I had complete faith that justice would prevail.”
From the desk of Secretary-Treasurer Adam Ochoa
When you sit down at your holiday dinner table, you can give a little bit of thanks to the members of Local 948, so many of whom work in the food processing industry. Your holiday dinner wouldn’t be the same without the great food products made by your brothers and sisters who work at the Del Monte, Seneca, Con Agra and Stanislaus canneries, or who deliver breads and cakes from Bimbo, Sara Lee and Svenhard’s. And all those Christmas gifts delivered by our brothers and sisters at UPS are always a trademark of the holiday season.
Negotiations have started with the newly organized CT&T, a company that manufactures liners and covers for pools and boats in Visalia. Local 948 is proud of the hard work that Business Agent/Organizer Chris Zent did to bring union representation to the hard working people at this company.
On behalf of the Local 948 Executive Board, I want to remind our members that we will hold our Turkey Raffle at the December membership meetings in Modesto and Visalia. Please bring your families and join us this holiday season.
In October, Teamsters Local 2010 officially crossed a major hurdle. For the first time in history, the Local reached majority status of UC employees.
At the start of the year, only 29 percent of UC employees were fullvoting members of the Teamsters, and even fewer were informed and involved in union activity. This low membership and involvement was a significant obstacle to the Local’s goal of being a strong and effective union that can win fair wages and benefits.
As a result, the Local launched an ambitious campaign to build it’s membership’s size and strength in 2013. “Our goal was to reach majority status— more than 50 percent membership— by the end of the year,” says Executive Director Jason Rabinowitz. “It was ambitious, because it required us to sign up more than 2,500 members in a single year.”
Not only did the Local reach that goal, but they did it in just 10 months!
Local 2010 staff and a committee of members spoke with more than 6,000 employees of our unit. That outreach succeeded in adding 2,800 new members to the rolls, signing up 304 new union Recruitment and Organizing Coordinators (ROCs) and appointing more than 60 new stewards!
UC is an “open shop,” which means that the people who work there are not automatically union members, as they are at most Teamster worksites. By increasing union member density at UC, and especially by representing a majority of the workers, Local 2010 gains significant clout in bargaining.
“Thanks and congratulations to all of our hard-working members who made our union-building campaign a success,” says Rabinowitz. “This important work makes our union stronger.”
More than 30 stewards from Local 2785 met on October 26 for a day-long review of labor law and other issues impacting their fellow members on the job. Attorneys David Rosenfeld and Bert Arnold were the guest speakers.