Local 150 members joined Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to kick off California’s new Paid Sick Days law, which went into effect on July 1. The bill, AB1522, will provide up to three days of paid sick leave each year for workers across the state, no matter the size of the employer.
Estimates are that 6.5 million workers will have the benefit of paid sick leave for the first time, as a result of this new law. All full-time, part-time, per diem, and temporary employees in California’s private sector will begin to accrue at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employers can limit the time off to 24 hours or three days.
Paid sick leave may be used for preventive care or care of an existing health condition, to care for a family member, or for specified purposes, such as for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Benefits will not change for employees who already receive paid time off that meets the minimum requirements of this bill..
By a two-to-one margin, the employees of the Second Harvest Food Bank in San Jose voted to become Teamsters. Local 287 Secretary-Treasurer Bob Blanchet and Business Agent Merrilee Zerrougui are proud to announce this organizing victory.
“This new 35-member unit had great spirit and courage throughout the campaign,” says Blanchet. The union held a meeting of the employees shortly after the election to let the employees submit their contract proposals. Dates and times for negotiations are forthcoming.
Local 431 members were out in force for several action days hoping to show U.S. Congressman Jim Costa of the 16th District, how important his vote and his stance on “Fast Track” and the “TPP” are to working families. Unfortunately, Congressman Costa sided with pro Fast Track and TPP proponents and the bill passed.
“We may have lost the battle but Local 431 members are always ready to fight for legislation that will improve the lives of working families and not hurt them,” said Secretary-Treasurer Peter Nuñez. “Thanks to UPS, UPS Freight, ABF, Harris Ranch Beef and YRC members for taking time to assist in these action days and thanks to Joint Council 7 President Rome Aloise for sending the Teamster truck to assist us.”.
Never has it been more difficult to negotiate good contracts than today, as we struggle to recover from the most severe economic recession since the 1930s. Seeing some hope in the economy, we are still dealing with many challenges at the bargaining table, especially with the unpredictable canning industry. Even so, the Cannery Council is pleased to announce the ratification of the CPI master agreement, which members from Locals 601 and 948 ratified by more than 75%.
“Three years ago, we negotiated a contract that, according to the experts, had an overall value of approximately 8.4%,” says Local 601 and Cannery Council Principal Officer Ashley Alvarado, who chairs the negotiations. “Our new three-year master agreement has a value of 9% overall, so we are definitely headed in the right direction!”
Alvarado reports that the talks were tough, but the Teamsters on the Cannery Council fought very hard to obtain good wage increases and to protect the great benefits for more than 10,000 Teamster members. Some members will receive a $2.10 wage increase over the three year life of the contract and, for the first time, Bracket 4 and 5 seasonal workers will get better wage increases. “Significantly, we held the line on rising health care costs, which was one of the most difficult tasks in bargaining,” Alvarado adds. The Council was also able to fend off dozens of contract concessions that the employers pushed hard for.
“It was great to see our members smile at the ratification meetings knowing that their contractual benefits were protected and that they will be better able to provide for themselves and their families in the future,” Alvarado said. “When our members stay strong and united, we can negotiate good contracts and the new Teamsters Cannery Council Master Agreement is a prime example of that.”
Workers employed as revenue collectors for thousands of San Francisco’s curb and off-street parking meters voted in June for representation by Teamsters Local 665.
The workers are employed by SERCO, a private company that the City of San Francisco subcontracts with to collect the monies from public parking meters.
The National Labor Relations Board-supervised election on July 2 resulted in a 22-3 victory for the union. Thirty workers are in the bargaining unit.
“These workers stuck together through a tough employer anti-union campaign,” said Local 665 business agent Michael Thompson. “This was a strong Yes vote; one that will send a message to SERCO that it’s time for real improvements in wages and conditions”.
Parking meter revenue collectors in San Francisco collected tens of millions of dollars last year, almost exclusively coins. SERCO workers push heavy collection canisters up and down the hills of the city, emptying thousands of meters a day. Most SERCO workers in this group currently earn $14.50 an hour, with minimal benefits.
“San Franciscans who pay a premium for metered street parking might be surprised to know that meter collectors are barely making the voter-approved minimum wage,” said Mark Gleason, Secretary- Treasurer of Local 665. “We believe the City will need to review the terms of its contract with SERCO.”
Gillig, a 40-year Teamster employer and the last family-owned start-to-finish bus manufacturer in the U.S., will leave their home of 80 years in Hayward and move up the road in Alameda County to Livermore.
Gillig’s success has grown, especially since Teamster allies convinced AC Transit, the local bus company, to purchase locally-made buses. A backlog of orders had convinced the company that they’d outgrown their Hayward facility, launching them on a national search for a new site.
And that’s where the Teamsters came in. The company garnered generous offers from other states, but Joint Council 7 Political Director Doug Bloch was able to help the company raise enough money and concessions from the City of Livermore and from Alameda County to convince them to stay local. Building big with an eye for continued expansion, Gillig will relocate to a half-million square-foot manufacturing and office facility on a 38-acre site at the new Oaks Business Park near the Livermore Municipal Airport. They will build a nearly 600,000-squarefoot main facility, as well as two smaller structures—a 50,000-square-foot building used for fabrication and assembly and a 27,000 square-foot facility to prepare the buses for delivery.
“It wasn’t just the money that enticed them to stay in this area,” says Local 853 Vice President Bo Morgan, “it was our members and the company’s strong relationship with our union.” Even though there were still 18 months left on the current agreement, the company asked for a seven-year contract extension to 2023.
The agreement averages $2.26/year for seven consecutive years in the economic package that includes health and welfare, pension and wages. “The members can allocate that increase whereever they choose,” Morgan explains. “We also got the employer to pay the 13-19 cents/hour restoration surcharge that the AI Pension is demanding of each member.”
“We’re so glad that the company is staying in Alameda County. We don’t know how the move will play out, but the company had been clear that they didn’t want any labor unrest during that process,” Morgan explains. “If we had been without a contract during the move, it could have been a difficult transition.”
Ultimately, Morgan believes that doing the extension was prudent. The membership at Gillig agreed, as they ratified their new contract by an 85% margin.
“In 1976, Gillig was the lowest-paid manufacturer in Alameda County. Now they’re the highest paid in the country,” Morgan says. “By 2023, they’ll be at $40/hour with two pension plans and a 401K.”
Morgan wanted to be sure to thank all the shop stewards: Jose Tejada, Joe Bulhouse, Robert Kerry, Joel Bellison, and Lupe Pinedo. “They were involved in supporting it, getting it out on the floor, and explaining it to the members.”
A delegation of Teamsters from around the state, including Local 2010 Secretary-Treasurer Jason Rabinowitz and President Catherine Cobb, took to the State Capitol on May 27 to present their concerns and share their personal stories with the legislators. It was a full work day as Local leaders met with 15 legislators including Assembly Members Jim Patterson and Tom Lackey, and Senator Jeff Stone.
“We want our elected officials to consider the issue of funding higher education as a top priority, not only from the standpoint of educating our great state, but also to make UC, once again, an engine for economic growth and good jobs,” said Rabinowitz. “Our elected officials should know that UC does not pay its employees enough to live, and has decreased real pay by 24 percent over the last two decades.”
“I work as an early childhood education teacher,” said UC Berkeley Steward Elise Magno. “I work with little kids. The children I take care of are the children of faculty and students. Our work is essential to these people. But right now, I am a newlywed living in Berkeley and I cannot afford to start my own family with the wages I am getting paid.”
Local 2010’s leaders discovered numerous allies throughout their meetings and are set to take their message back home to the local districts of their elected officials.