The practice of misclassifying drivers as independent contractors has stymied Port drivers’ efforts to unionize for years. The Teamsters have fought this practice on many fronts and were recently successful when Shippers Transport Express (STE) did an aboutface and changed their drivers’ status from independent contractors to employees. “Their transformation was due to the pressure we and our allies have been putting on employers who misclassify workers,” says Local 70 Secretary-Treasurer Marty Frates. The Port Division reached out to the drivers about becoming Teamsters and found overwhelming support. “Armed with signed pledge cards, we were able to leverage that support into card check neutrality from the employer.”
Local 70 met with the Oakland STE drivers to firm up support and explain the process of becoming union. JC7 Political Director Doug Bloch made contact with faith-based coalition partners, and recruited Servant B.K. Woodson from Working East Bay to act as a neutral third party to verify the drivers’ signatures in support of joining Local 70.
Frates and Trustee Kelsey Frazier secured a contract that the drivers ratified unanimously.
“Shippers’ transition to an employee-based business model is a crucial step in the drayage industry’s efforts to modernize, make the ports more efficient, and reduce congestion at the ports and on our freeways,” said STE General Manager Kevin Baddeley. “On unionization, we took a neutral position because we respect our drivers’ right to form a union. Finally, through our productive dialogue with the Teamsters, we anticipate we will be able to improve operational efficiencies and stabilize our driver workforce.”
“Local 70 wants to thank IBT Vice President Aloise for his efforts in assisting our campaign,” says Frates. “We are continuing to leverage our coalition partners in an effort to keep the ball rolling in this tremendous opportunity to reestablish a working middle class in Oakland.”
Steven Hedlund was pleased to win a Teamsters Joint Council 7 Harry Polland/Robert Morales Scholarship. His mother, Cathy, works at the State Line School and has been a Teamster for seven years.
Hedlund started at the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls with the intent of pursuing a nursing degree, so that he can become a physician’s assistant. “Throughout high school, I have taken all the medical classes that were offered.... Thank you for supporting education through this scholarship.”
After the recession of 2008, Teamsters Local 150 has returned to the forefront of the construction trade, with the involvement in the Sacramento Entertainment Sports Complex, now called Golden 1 Center. After the May 2014 vote to build the arena at the Downtown Plaza, there was hope that, through union involvement, work would be created for Local 150 construction and ready mix workers.
“From day one, we’ve said this project is bigger than basketball,” said Mayor Kevin Johnson during his press conference held on May 19, 2014 near the future arena site. He was clear that the New Sacramento Kings Arena would be a union project.
Turner Construction, the General Contractor on the Arena, has played a huge role in assuring that Sacramento-area union workers, apprentices, and veterans (through the Helmets to Hard Hats program), are provided job opportunities on this project.
Demolition got underway in August, 2014. Teamsters Local 150 is playing a major role in providing union companies, such as GR Trucking and Benjamin Transport, with skilled, qualified drivers to off-haul over 101,000 tons of material to various landfill and recycle yards. Local 150 and the Project Labor Agreement, backed by the Sacramento Sierra Building and Construction Trades Council, were also able to secure jobs for our union ready mix companies. Cemex, Teichert and Syar Ready Mix have been, and are still delivering concrete to the site. This $502 million project will employ more than 1,200 workers over the course of the two years of construction. The Arena project should be completed by October 2016.
The Kings Arena has not only provided job opportunities and growth for Sacramento; it has helped stimulate the economy and will bring new business to the area. For Teamsters, it has allowed the placement of Local 150 drivers in the seats of their craft, while receiving union wages and providing them with continued experience in their trade. Union-made was our goal and we are accomplishing it through this project!
UPS driver Randy Hall started volunteering for the Bay Area Rescue Mission in 2004, assisting with painting and repairs. In 2006, the 29-year member brought in Local 315 and UPS to support his work on two food events each year. These events, where UPS drivers distribute turkeys and hams to rescue mission residents, feed more than 300 people each year. The UPS drivers also donate money for Christmas gifts for the children.
“I have worked with other organizations, but the Bay Area Rescue Mission has a special place in my heart,” says Hall. “Each event is more and more successful because of all the volunteer support we receive. I really appreciate my family, feeder drivers, UPS, Local 315 and friends for coming out and thank the great staff of the rescue mission for their help and guidance.”
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for the Rescue Mission, please contact Albert Ruiz at Local 315.
In 2001, drivers at the Safeway Warehouse, with the support of Local 439, filed a lawsuit over issues concerning meal periods and rest breaks. After 15 years of litigation, where Safeway did everything to delay, the case was finally settled for $30 million. Checks were mailed to all the drivers who worked at the warehouse to cover the meal periods and paid rest breaks they should have been paid for. The payment also addressed Safeway’s failure to provide accurate payroll stubs to the drivers. Safeway has now implemented paid rest breaks.
This case is important for all workers in California because of two Court of Appeal decisions won in the course of the 14-year fight. One case established that employers have to provide meal periods to workers. The second established that workers who are paid by piece rate, such as truck drivers who are paid by the mile, must be paid separately for rest breaks.
“We’ve really got to thank our Counsel, Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld, for pursuing this case for 14 years,” says Secretary-Treasurer Ken Gurtin. “They achieved a remarkable result for our members at Safeway. But more than that, they achieved an important victory for all California workers to now enjoy a clear right to meal periods and paid rest breaks.”
After two months of negotiations with Unified Grocers, 320 members of Local 439 joined Southern California Teamsters from Locals 630, 495 and 848 to take a nearly unanimous strike vote. Four days later, the company blinked, and offered an agreement that doesn’t have concessions. The members ratified their new contract on November 15.
It was a long, hot summer for the negotiating team from Land O’ Lakes in Tulare. They began talks with the company in May, 2015 and, after two votes, finally ratified their new collective bargaining agreement at the end of October. All updates and changes took effect on November 1.
The new agreement extends the threeyear contract to a five-year term, with no out of pocket costs for insurance for the first three years and a wage increase that compensates for any insurance increases over the five years.
These Teamsters took a stand and did a tremendous job in gaining a secure future for their fellow brothers and sisters at Land O’ Lakes.
Responding to community concerns about the operation at Pacific Coast Producers’ (PCP) cannery, in November, the Woodland City Council voted to approve a new General Plan that will protect thousands of Teamster jobs. The new General Plan will allow PCP to move its spray field outside of town in a swap with Conway Ranch. Local 601 played a key role, gathering hundreds of signatures on a petition and delivering them to the Woodland Planning Commission and City Council.
The employees at the Alhambra/D.S. Services yard in Santa Rosa overwhelmingly voted on November 5, to become Teamsters.
They did this despite the company running a very strong anti-union campaign. The company even gave raises to all the non-union yards in the area three days before our election. The group stayed together, voted together and are now members of Local 665. This group covers a huge area; they deliver to Marin, Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties.
“This victory would not have been possible without the help of International Rep Dennis Hart, Local 853 Business Agent Jesse Casqueiro and Local 315 President Carlos Borba,” said Business Agent Mike Yates. “Thank you brothers.”
With their help and with the support of the leadership of Local 665—Mark Gleason and Ralph Miranda— the union was able to run a successful campaign utilizing the new NLRB election rules.
More than 900 Local 853 members came to San Leandro for the 14th Annual Member Appreciation meeting on November 14. In addition to winning prizes, members got flu shots, donated toys, and collected more than $1500 for the Davis Street Community Center (that the Local will match).
When Park Central Hotel Steward Kathleen Romero took up a collection from her colleagues for the 856 Thanksgiving Meeting Solidarity Fund Raffle a few years back, she had no idea she was starting a tradition and a competition. Romero’s efforts inspired other bargaining units to pool their money together as part of a friendly rivalry to see who could raise the most for the fund at the annual event.
This year, nearly all Park Central Teamsters participated, collecting $220 at the November 4 meeting at the Best Western Grosvenor in South San Francisco.
Romero concedes her toughest competitors are United Airlines Teamsters: members in the Jet Shop alone raised $1,100 for the raffle. In addition, United Airlines members have collected $3,000 throughout the year for the fund.
The raffle prize, four luxury box tickets to a Golden State Warriors game, generously donated by Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle, helped entice ticket purchasers too. In all, Teamsters 856 members raised close to $3,000 for the fund at the annual Thanksgiving Meetings, held in both South San Francisco and Rancho Cordova.
Started 10 years ago to support Local 856 hotel members who honored UNITE HERE Local 2’s picket line, today, the Solidarity Fund continues to provide assistance to members facing dire financial hardships.
“Having each other’s back is what a union is all about and the impressive level of donations to the Solidarity Fund this year is a great example of that,” said Principal Officer Peter Finn.
UC Berkeley leaders marched to the office of University of California President Janet Napolitano on Wednesday, September 30 to call on her to recognize the struggle of the 14,000 clerical support staff from across the UC system.
Lead by Secretary-Treasurer Jason Rabinowitz and Union Representative Elise Magno-Jardinico, the delegation delivered a giant anniversary card congratulating Napolitano on her second year as UC President. The card was filled with a petition signed by hundreds of Berkeley members demanding wage increases.
“The UC cannot continue to disregard the hard working women and men of the UC,” said Elise. “Janet Napolitano must recognize the struggles and sacrifice of our membership. Do the right thing and pay workers enough to live.”
According to an Economic Policy Institute study, 98% of clerical support staff at UC cannot afford to make ends meet in the cities in which they work. A big thanks to Chief Steward Mike Erazo and Assistant Chapter Coordinator Joseph Meyer for coordinating the successful action.
On September 11, 2015, Local 2785’s Retirees Club put on a great spread for its members at the annual barbeque at Coyote Park in San Mateo. These proud Teamster retirees worked hard all of their lives and continue to work hard in order to achieve their goal of making this event a huge success. They also haven’t forgotten where they came from and want to acknowledge the sponsors who made this occasion possible.
The workers/barbequers are (from left): Albert Gnecco, Michael Pettinari, John Casaccia, Terry McHugh, Gino Pettinari, Joe Munoz, Vince Fitzpatrick, and Bob Silva.