It takes a strong union to get a good contract, and, in March, the 500 members of Locals 853, 287 and 315 who work in the ready-mix industry saw just how strong their union is.
With a vote of 202-2, they came together in San Leandro for a joint ratification meeting of their threeyear contract extension with the Aggregate Concrete Association. According to Local 853 Vice President Bo Morgan, who chairs the Bay Area Building Materials Teamsters Committee and these negotiations, the members will be getting $1.80/hour per year increase each year of the contract, which includes wages, benefits and a supplemental add-on.
“All three locals were well-represented in the negotiations for this extension,” says Morgan. In addition to the benefit package, the committee negotiated some language improvement s , including reducing the number of years from five to three that the employer can use past work history against an employee in discipline procedures.
“Having 99% of the members vote to ratify this contract was an historic first,” Morgan adds. Everyone was feeling great about this deal, except perhaps for the two who voted no.”
Morgan believes that since several construction locals merged back in the late 1990s, the whole dynamics of the ready-mix industry has changed for the better. “We’re more unified as a negotiating committee than at any other time in Bay Area history,” Morgan said. “I think we have to give kudos to officers Rome Aloise from 853, Dale Robbins from Local 315, and George Netto and Bill Hoyt from Local 287 for their participation in making this happen.”
Members of Locals 350, 315 and 70 in Northern California have stood with their brothers and sisters at Republic Services/Allied Waste in Youngstown, Ohio, by honoring their picket lines and refusing to work.
Members of Teamsters Local 377 in Youngstown went on strike on March 27 to protest Republic’s unfair labor practices – violations of federal labor law. These Teamsters are also extending picket lines all across the country. The massive show of protest is causing garbage collections to be delayed and has generated the support of hundreds of other workers from other local unions in a show of solidarity.
“Support and solidarity are growing by the day as workers tell the company that ‘enough is enough,’ said Bob Morales, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division. “I am proud of our members’ strength, unity and resolve as we all fight for justice at Republic.”
Workers at other locations subsequently refused to work in a show of support of their striking colleagues. Workers in Daly City, Half Moon Bay, Pacifica, Fremont and Fairfield, Calif. (members of Local 350, 70 and 315, respectively) honored the Youngstown picket lines. They refused to work starting on April 4, the 45th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. (70 in tri cities area fremont, Newark and union city)
During the week of April 8, members of Locals 952 and 396 refused to cross picket lines at Republic’s facilities in Anaheim. In addition, more than 150 workers at Republic’s commercial and residential truck yard in Sun Valley, Calif. refused to cross the picket line. The Sun Valley workers are members of Local 396 in Covina.
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Teamsters Local 431 is supporting the effort to defeat “Measure G” on Fresno’s June 4th ballot. Members should recognize this effort by the City of Fresno as yet another attempt to eliminate good union jobs and replace them with non-union employees, by awarding the entire city residential trash pick up to a non-union company.
Measure G makes radical changes to the city's cost effective, award winning, and nationally recognized trash collection service. While Local 431 does not represent the current City of Fresno employees, we stand with them and support the effort to defeat Measure G.
The Local encourages its members to vote “No” on Measure G, and volunteer to phone bank or walk precincts. Members can also pick up bumper stickers at the Local 431 office.
“Shop stewards are the first line of defense for workers,” said Secretary- Treasurer Maria Ashley at a March 16 stewards training at the Local’s Stockton union hall. “Our goal is to keep them up-to-date with the laws and strategies so they can better serve our members.”
The training seminar focused on handling difficult situations in grievance meetings, building unity among members, organizing, preparing for bargaining sessions and contract enforcement. With a mixed workforce, it was very important to hold the training in both English and Spanish.
“I would like to thank Cindy Impala from the IBT’s education department for offering bi-lingual steward training. And I offer a big thank you to IBT Vice-President and Joint Council 7 President Rome Aloise for joining us at the training.”
The Employees of SFO Shuttle Bus who transport people around the various parking lots at San Francisco International Airport unanimously approved a 10-month contract extension that protected their wages, pension, and medical benefits. The extension was a product of the Airport imposing its will on the shuttle bus company, and not allowing them to fund any wage increases.
“These are some of the best members in Local,” said Local 665 Vice President Ernie Yates. “They deserve a raise and I don’t like the airport boxing in this company.” The employees voted to accept the committee’s recommendation to protect the benefits now and get a short extension in place to give Local 665 time to put pressure on the airport to open up its coffers and provide this company with enough funding to give a raise to its employees.
After Red Bull employee, Edison Figueroa, was fired in June, 2012 by the Livermore-based company for his support of the union, Local 853 brought the company up on unfair labor practice charges. In April, 2013, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the company had engaged in retaliation and had to reinstate him.
In the meantime, Figueroa got a better job and didn’t want to return to Red Bull. But he was given a choice: he could take a “non-board” decision and collect a check for $12,000, or he could take a “board decision” and take home $8,000. With the board decision, the company would need to notify all of their workers about their rights to join a union and Figueroa would have an opportunity to come back to the facility to talk to his former coworkers. He chose to stand by his coworkers and the union and take the lesser amount.
“This is about unity and solidarity,” says Local 853 organizer Rodney Smith. “We stood for him, so he decided to stand with his co-workers and the union. It was very admirable of him.”
Smith says that the organizing campaign is continuing and “when we get enough traction, we’ll file for an election.”
Local 856 Member Deirdre Lopez, along with Staff Attorney Susanna Farber (left) and Political Director Trish Suzuki (right), met with Assemblyman Dr. Richard Pan in Sacramento on April 18. They discussed restoring funding to the Denti-Cal program, which provides dental coverage to low-income families, and invited Pan to visit a Delta Dental facility to see how Local 856 members provide much-needed services.
Local 2010 launched an organizing campaign at UC San Francisco following up on an all-day training on February 10 at the Oakland offices of Local 70. Members and staff took to the streets on Feb. 11, walking into offices and speaking with members on campus and at the medical centers.
Local 2010 members from UC Davis to UC Santa Cruz took part in the all-day training, which included role playing and activities to learn the importance of union membership.
The following day, 15 teams of staff and members were sent out to worksites in Mt. Zion, China Basin, Mission Bay and Parnassus to sign-up new members and inform people of the benefits of being a Teamster. Not only did the union succeed in growing its membership base, but the organizers also generated new and enthusiastic activists for UC San Francisco.
“It is important to be a member of Teamsters Local 2010 because it is one of the only outlets we have to get our voice heard,” Gerald Kofi Boateng Ibsen stated.
Since February, the local has continued to organize UC San Francisco and has met with members, so far adding more than 160 new members to the bargaining unit and recruiting 50 new activists from across UCSF.
“I appreciate being able to have the Teamsters’ support and access to their vast resources in good and in challenging times,” said Local 2010 member Kristina Benjamin.
Teamsters Local 2010 will continue to be a strong presence at UCSF. The local plans to hold a series of membership meetings and UCSF activist meetings to improve everyone’s workplace.
Member Ronda Metcalf put it best: “Believe in Teamsters because Teamsters believe in you.”