The Local 70 foursome, including James Jackson (Tri-Ced Recycling), Kelsey Frazier (Horizon Lines and Local 70 Trustee), Matt Buck (Horizon Lines), and Charlie Hanson (Horizon Lines) point out their winning score at the All Charities Golf Tournament. The tournament was held on September 12 at the Rancho Canada Golf Club in Carmel.
The Five Counties Central Labor Council held its 29th annual Labor Day Picnic this year on September 1 at the Anderson River Park in Anderson. Picnic goers were treated to music from a local band, Fire Mountain Rock, and able to enjoy bingo and face painting. Hot dogs, hamburgers or smoked chicken and chips were served with proceeds going towards the Council’s scholarships for local students. In the past two years, three children of Local 137 Teamster members have won scholarships towards their college education
By a vote of 9-6, the employees at Redwood Debris Box Service in Burlingame decided in July that they wanted to be represented by Teamsters Local 853. These workers drive containers for concrete and other construction debris to and from construction sites.
The Labor Board has certified the election results, and the union has begun the process of setting dates to bargain for a first contract. The new members met at Local 853’s union hall to hammer out the proposals and priorities they want to present to the employer.
“The employer did run an anti-union campaign,” says Organizer Rodney Smith. “But our guys stood fast. Of course, they are interested in getting a wage increase, but more, they are looking for respect, dignity and a voice at the workplace.”
By a vote of 28-3, the employees who work as drivers, driver aides, mechanics and maintenance personnel at Elgin Five Star Transportation voted to be represented by Local 853. Working out of two locations— San Francisco and San Rafael—these folks are responsible for transporting special needs and handicapped people.
“As always, the company ran an anti-union campaign,” says Smith. “But we held regular meetings with our group. At the end of the day, I’m pleased to report that we were victorious.”
On August 28, newly organized Mount Diablo Unified School District Unit members overwhelmingly ratified their first ever Teamster 856 contract. The new agreement includes 9% in wage improvements, increased healthcare contributions from the District, and the first phase of a long term healthcare restructuring plan to alleviate out-of-pocket healthcare costs.
When the nearly 500 maintenance and operations workers at the District officially became Teamsters 856 members in March, it was cause for celebration—their newfound status as Teamsters was the result of a year-long organizing campaign. However, the hard work was far from over. After years without wage increases, skyrocketing health and welfare costs and disrespect from management, getting a fair and equitable contract would require that the members remain steadfast in their solidarity.
Teamsters 856 Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer Peter Finn headed up the bargaining team as lead negotiator.
“When we entered negotiations we made it clear things had to change and we were prepared to fight to force the District address the healthcare crisis they had created,” said Finn.
A multi-pronged contract campaign was implemented that included rallies, union visibility in the workplace, membership attendance at school board meetings, and legal and political strategies. Some members even gave testimonials to board members on the devastating effects the healthcare costs were having on their families.
Steward and Bargaining Committee Member David Tomason is pleased with the new agreement.
“After all the hard work by the 856 team at the table and away from it, we received pay increases for the first time in years, and more importantly, a better healthcare package,” said Tomason, who works as a roofer for the District.
“I’m proud that the bargaining team was able to deliver results that will make a real difference in the day-to-day lives of 856 members and their families,” said Finn.
Steward Noven Feria believes that, along with economic gains, one of the most important aspects of the new agreement is respect. “Maintenance and operations employees perform work which provides an important foundation for children to learn,” he said.
“We’ve gotten back the respect from the school district we deserved,” said Feria, who also served on the bargaining committee.
The unit includes school bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, network technicians, as well as plumbers, electricians, roofers, painters, carpenters, groundskeepers, and other classifications working out of the maintenance department who provide services critical to the operations of the District.
The unity from the organizing drive served members well, as their resolve continued in their pursuit for a fair agreement.
“This contract was hard fought and hard won by the membership,” said Finn. “Every member who wore their Teamsters 856 t-shirts and attended school board meetings, every member who came to the rallies, every member who told their story to the school board deserves tremendous credit. All of these acts and more demonstrated our unity and determination to achieve a strong contract,” said Finn.
MV Transportation drivers based in Salinas have voted unanimously, 67-0, to join Local 890, to improve their working conditions. The 91 drivers provide adult paratransit services, shuttle and tourist trolley routes in Salinas and Monterey.
“We stuck together. We worked together like a team because we needed a strong union and representation,” said Juan Rosales, a seven-year driver at MV Transportation.
“We are very excited to join the Teamsters. The biggest thing for us is having good representation. We’re looking forward to better retirement and medical benefits that we can afford. We want any disciplinary action to be fair,” said Lester Farley, a three-year driver.
“We’re happy to welcome these drivers to the Teamsters,” said Crescencio Diaz, President of Teamsters Local 890. “Working with the Teamsters’ International and Joint Council 7 in California, organizing together, we are able to accomplish more for workers.”
“This is a solid group of drivers who made the decision together. We look forward to improving their standard of living,” said Fritz Conle, a business agent with Local 890.
Drive Up Standards is a national campaign to improve safety, service and work standards in the private school bus and transit industry. Since the campaign began in 2006, more than 37,000 drivers, monitors, aides, attendants and mechanics have become Teamsters.
The 2,500 Teamster members who work at Taylor Farms’ Salinas facility voted by a 2-1 margin to ratify a new four-year agreement.
The new contract was negotiated by Teamsters Local 890 President Crescencio Diaz and a bargaining committee of 25 rank and file members. It includes wage increases of over 11% over four years, improved seniority and attendance policy language, and a greatly improved medical plan.
The new contract in Salinas stands in sharp contrast to the situation at the Tracy plant where there is no union contract, wages are substantially lower, there are no seniority protections and the employer is charging employees 15% more for comparable family medical insurance coverage..
Teamsters celebrate as California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB2053, the Local 2010 sponsored bill addressing workplace abuse, into law on Tuesday, September 9, 2014, after months of Teamster members testifying and meeting with legislators.
“It’s a proud day for our Union, because our members made this happen,” said Teamsters Local 2010 Secretary-Treasurer Jason Rabinowitz. “Our Local 2010 Political Committee developed the idea for the bill; our Teamster Political Action Committee got it introduced; our members testified and lobbied the legislature to support it; and hundreds of us signed the petition urging the Governor to sign the bill.”
The new legislation is the first of its kind to take on the epidemic of workplace abuse by defining abusive conduct and requiring large employers to train their supervisors in identifying and preventing abusive behavior in the workplace.
Abusive conduct has been a growing epidemic throughout the United States, with 27% of all working Americans having suffered from abuse at work and an additional 21% having witnessed this behavior in the workplace.