From left: Tom Clark, Lisa Stieper, Julie Ferrari, and Cassandra Rizzio train for phone banking using the latest technology. Local 315 installed four stations in the Martinez office and six stations at the Vallejo office.
The eight dispatchers, maintenance clerks and operations clerks at Republic Services, a waste company in San Jose, voted in October to be represented by Local 350. The Local also represents the drivers, mechanics and others at that facility.
“The employees are looking for better wages, benefits and working conditions,” reports Business Agent Larry Daugherty, “and that’s just what we aim to get them.”
At press time, a proposal meeting for the group had been set.
Construction on High Speed Rail has started and we intend to ensure that our Teamsters members have the opportunity to perform the work.
UPS will again reach record levels and will be utilizing a large number of new workers to help deliver peak season packages.
With the lack of rain, many construction and pipeline projects continue to progress.
“This is always a good time of year to reflect,” says President Peter Núñez. “While the year brought many challenges, we remain committed to serving and negotiating good contracts. Our members at UPS, Harris Ranch Beef, Republic Services, Delta Health Services, UPS Freight, YRC, Nor Cal Bakery, and many more, ratified good contracts in 2014. We’ll continue to work in the best interest of those who matter most to Local 431—our members.”
The 12 employees at Ameripride Linen in Sparks voted to be represented by Local 533 in an NLRB election held in July. “We are pleased to be able to represent these workers. Bargaining should begin in the next month,” says Secretary-Treasurer Debbie Calkins.
Arbitration win at US Foods
US Foods thought they could get away with unilaterally rewriting the discipline portion of the collective bargaining agreement enabling the company to discipline and possibly terminate employees much sooner. “After many discussions, it became clear that the company was not going to change its position, so we took them to arbitration,” says Calkins. The arbitrator agreed with the Local and the Collective Bargaining Agreement stands as originally written.
Back pay for UPS drivers
In other exciting news, five UPS package drivers who had performed 22.3 relief jobs for a substantial amount of time as part-timers (under the Letter of Understanding for Article 22.3 in the Norcal Supplement) collectively received in excess of $94,000 for payroll progression errors.
Settlement for Cemex workers
A Board of Adjustment hearing resulted in awarding a number of Local 533 Cemex workers a share of roughly $4,000, plus pension and medical, for seniority violations over a threeday period.
“These back pay awards just show how important it can be to have a union at your back. We fight to make sure our contracts are honored and that our members are paid what we jointly agreed to,” Calkins said. “We don’t always win, but without a union, workers have nobody to fight for them.”
After an almost four-year battle, in September, the 23 drivers and salespeople who work for Nestles in San Leandro and San Ramon finally ratified a new five-year contract. “The agreement includes improvements and guarantees for all of our members in terms of annual earnings, pension increases, and health and welfare increases,” reports Local 853 President Bob Strelo. “It also includes a legal settlement for enhanced severance, voluntary opt-out for employees who want to leave early and a significant sum of money.”
“After trying to get the members to concede to some serious concessions, it’s clear that Nestles just wanted to bust the union,” Strelo says. “But the members all stayed and fought it out. We held them off from implementing their final contract until the court and legal action could come to a head.” The Local had filed for a series of legal charges charging that the employer had violated laws regarding lunch and rest breaks.
“In all the years that I’ve been doing this job, I’ve never seen a group hang so closely and so together. Historically, it’s hard to get members to stay strong during a prolonged fight like this. But this group was above and beyond,” Strelo says, and adds that Local 853 is the only organized group left within Nestles still holding a union contract.
Strelo wanted to be sure to recognize the combined efforts of the IBT Dairy Division, headed by Rome Aloise, Joint Council 7 and Costa Kerestenzis and Teague Paterson from the law firm of Beeson, Tayer and Bodine, who handled the court case.
First Student school bus drivers in Oakland voted, by a 15-1 margin, to be represented by Teamsters Local 853. The 150 drivers transport children in the Oakland Unified School District.
“We are happy about our vote for the Teamsters. We need representation and a voice. We need a union to have our back,” said Jacqueline Pittman, a 20-year driver who works at First Student.
First Student became the transportation provider for Oakland schools this summer, after the school district chose to end a contract with Durham School Services, the previous transportation contractor.
“We are excited to represent another group of school bus drivers who do the important work of transporting our children,” said Rodney Smith, organizer for Local 853.
The drivers and monitors will be covered by the Teamsters’ national master agreement with First Student. Economics and individual gains will be negotiated by Local 853.
Driven by member involvement, this year’s election cycle marked the continued expansion and influence of the Teamsters 856 Political Action Program. Recognizing that politics increasingly impacts wages, benefits, and working conditions, 856 members once again stepped up and volunteered their time to advocate on behalf of candidates and issues that support working families.
Led by Political Director Trish Suzuki, the program relies on direct member involvement in the candidate endorsement process and get-out-the-vote efforts. Teamsters 856 has also recently added Public Policy Coordinator Malia Vella, who will work with members to advocate for worker- friendly legislation at the local, state and national level.
“Political action gives members power with decision makers,” said Suzuki.
“Political engagement of our membership is what helps get good local Teamster friendly candidates elected into office, and is what wins campaigns,” she said. “If we aren’t engaged to vote, participate in campaigns, and are a part of DRIVE we don’t have a voice,” Suzuki continued.
In a demonstration of this increased involvement, Teamster 856 member participation in DRIVE has doubled in 2014.
Teamsters 856 Member Eddy Galleguillos is part of the Teamsters Political Action Team. Galleguillos regularly participates in phone banks, precinct walks and get-out-the-vote efforts.
“I like to take action,” Galleguillos, said. “It’s important to remind people to vote – if you don’t put anything into it, you’re not going to get anything out of it,” the United Airlines Mechanic said.
And action works. In November, despite a challenging national political climate, Teamster 856-endorsed candidates throughout Northern California were elected with the help of the team’s get-out-the-vote efforts.
“Political action does not end after Election Day,” said Peter Finn, Teamsters 856 Principal Officer. “It’s crucial for members to keep pressure on elected officials throughout the entire year,” he said.
Last summer, the Political Team played a vital role in securing $15 million for St. Rose Hospital in Hayward.
“This was a major win for the fiscally ailing hospital and the more than 400 Teamsters 856 members at St. Rose who serve the health needs of the community every day,” Finn said.
In order to secure the funding, which came from a number of county, state and federal sources, the team spoke on behalf of the Teamster workers at public meetings, had numerous strategy sessions with individual county supervisors, and worked in coordination with St. Rose Hospital and the County Health Department.
“I’m excited to see so many members empowered through our Political Action Program,” said Finn. “Through their involvement, we’re making valuable strides,” he said.
Galleguillos encourages his fellow Teamsters to join in the process.
“We all have things going on, but if we can all help out a little, it can mean a lot in the big picture,” Galleguillos said.
Union strength and solidarity continue to grow as Teamsters Local 2010 passed the milestone of 60% membership of the entire bargaining unit across the nine UC campuses! The Local now stands at 63%, on its way to the goal of 75% membership by the spring!
The incredible feat may have not seemed attainable just a year and a half ago when only 29% of the bargaining unit were members of the union. Low member involvement and even lower communication with members was a simply reality in those times. But the path of status quo could not continue. Through extensive campaigning, majority status was reached by end of 2013. With the addition of new leadership from the ranks, Local 2010 now boasts more than 105 union stewards and hundreds of Recruiting and Organizing Coordinators (ROCs) from every part of California.
“We have not rested on our laurels,” Secretary- Treasurer Jason Rabinowitz told the gathering of ROCs. “By building the strength of our membership, we are creating the power we will need to win a fair contract in 2016.”
Teamsters Local 2010 continues to build their membership and strength to fight for every member in the Teamsters.
You can tell an event is a success when it gets larger and larger every year. That’s certainly the case with the Teamsters Local 2785 Retirees Club’s annual picnic. A great time was had by all. The Club’s membership would like to thank their sponsors for making their annual picnic a memorable event.