Local 287 Pension Seminar with Chuck Mack was a huge success. “Chuck Mack and his staff did a fantastic job giving the history of the plan, the current condition of the plan and the great benefits upon retirement! We are looking forward to doing this again next year,” reports Local 287 Secretary-Treasurer Bob Blanche.
The IBT UPS Nor Cal committee hosted a retirement dinner for Local 315 Business Agent Frank Coppa on September 1, 2015. Frank served on and occasionally chaired the Nor Cal UPS Negotiating Committee. “If you have to go to war you want Frank Coppa on your side,” said Nor Cal UPS Chairman Marty Frates. The Committee wishes Frank the best in his retirement..
More than 600 Teamsters Local 431 and Teamsters Local 517 members enjoyed the Annual Teamster Picnic at Wild Water Adventures in Clovis on August 8. In addition to staying cool in the park’s many water activities, the two Locals served a bountiful BBQ lunch.
On Monday September 7, members of Teamsters Local 431 joined labor organizations throughout the valley to celebrate the Annual Labor Day Breakfast at the Fresno Fairgrounds. More than 800 union members were treated to a delicious pancake breakfast with eggs, sausage, potatoes and fresh fruit. Participants enjoyed a raffle, music and numerous activities for kids to enjoy.
Immediately after the breakfast, labor leaders and allies participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony dedicating “Union Park,” a beautifully landscaped oasis in the middle of the fairgrounds, commemorating the labor organizations in the valley. In addition to the completed park, a labor memorial is in the works..
More than 70 Teamsters and allies blocked two Bauer’s buses in San Francisco’s Mission District on September 21 to protest how the company is illegally hindering Local 665’s efforts to organize the drivers.
Bauer’s has built a company serving high tech companies such as Cisco, Yahoo, and Twitter. The union began its organizing drive following Local 853’s successful drives for tech shuttle drivers at Loop and Compass Transportation. Bauer’s drivers have been increasingly demanding to earn a living wage and form a union. After their efforts stepped up this spring, the company responded with a number of “unfair labor practices,” according to the NLRB complaint.
The National Labor Relations Board alleges that Bauer’s broke federal labor laws when the company surveilled workers and blocked them from talking to Teamster organizers. Shortly after, a company manager allegedly created a fake union by circulating a blank piece of paper and telling drivers to sign it. Within the week, the drivers had a new contract with a phony union that they hadn’t voted on or even seen! Called the Professional Commuter Drivers Union, a company supervisor served as the PCDU’s chief union representative. The company entered into a collective bargaining agreement within days of collecting the signatures.
The Labor Board has since ruled that Bauer’s has “dominated and interfered” with the creation of an outside union while “rendering unlawful assistance” to its own in-house union. At press time, Local 665 is anxiously waiting on the Labor Board to set a date for a new election for a legitimate union.
“The drivers need and deserve better wages, better benefits, and more respect,” says Local 665 Secretary- Treasurer Mark Gleason.
When the votes were counted following the twoday election at Adecco (August 19 and 21), the employees at this temp agency who work for Google Express overwhelmingly chose to have union representation.
The employer has filed objections to the election, but Local 853 Organizer Rodney Smith is confident that the 153 warehouse workers will soon become union members.
“The employer ran a terrible anti-union campaign,” explains Smith. “First, they threatened to close the San Francisco and Palo Alto locations. But when their employees didn’t buy those illegal threats and still voted for Local 853, the company filed objections to the bargaining unit. Of course, this was something that we had agreed to before the election.”
“We’ll see this through, and I’m confident that the union will prevail,” Smith adds.
Nearly 50 Teamsters 856 members packed the Local’s Union Hall for an all-member training on rights in the workplace on a September Saturday morning.
“It was excellent!!” said United Airlines Member Keri Martin via the Local’s Facebook page. “I would recommend that everyone try to make it for the next one!”
The workshop focused on protected leaves, workplace rights afforded to union members, workers’ comp, and members’ rights to concerted activity when it comes to using social media and work e-mail.
“There was so much helpful information,” said new UPS Shop Steward Ula-Latoya Hughes. “I have six pages of notes!”
Hughes also appreciated the relaxed atmosphere of the workshop. “I felt very comfortable asking questions, and participating in the discussion,” she said. “It wasn’t intimidating at all.”
The workshop was Pedro Hernandez’s first union member training. “Our old union never had anything like this for us,” the Mount Diablo Unified School District member said. Members from this school district had left their previous association to become Teamsters 856 members in 2014. “I can’t wait to go back to work and share this information with my co-workers,” he continued.
As the father of a 4-year-old, Hernandez was particularly interested in kin care laws. “It’s really valuable to know that certain time off is protected to take care of my family,” he said.
Teamsters in attendance included members from every industry covered by the Local, including public sector, airline, hotel, car rental, benefit administration and healthcare.
“An educated membership is one of the most powerful tools we have as a union,” said Teamsters 856 Principal Officer Peter Finn. “It’s impressive and inspiring that our members dedicated their Saturday morning to learn more about protecting and standing up for their rights in the workplace,” he said.
San Francisco Fairmont Shop Steward Geoffrey Brown also used the Teamsters 856 Facebook page to praise the workshop. “A wealth of information,” he commented. “Thanks to our members and leadership!”
On August 21, Local 890 was proud to present a settlement check totaling $48,000 to union members Ruben Tapia and Guillermo Montaño. In 2014, both drivers had been illegally fired by the trucking company Fresh from D’Vine. The union filed charges and Local 890 attorney Susan Garea processed an appeal to the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board in Washington D.C.
Tapia has been a long time Local 890 member and activist, participating in the Basic Vegetable strike in 1998. Montaño is a Local 890 member working at Taylor Farms.
Back in 2012, Local 912 organized more than 300 workers at a vitamin manufacturing, warehouse and distribution facility called Threshold Enterprises. Threshold is the second largest distributor of nutritional supplements in the entire country and has been expanding, doubling its workforce and acquiring more facilities throughout the nation. Their CEO Ira Goldberg bragged, “During the worst recession, we’ve been growing steadily. We never stopped our growth pattern.” Although the privately-owned company does not release its sales figures, Goldberg has reported multimillion-dollar sales.
However, this isn’t enough for him. In the late 1990’s, Threshold entered a plea to two counts of corporate tax evasion, acknowledging that they evaded a total of $1.18 million in taxes.
As is the story with far too many successful companies, our members don’t see their employer’s profits reflected in their paycheck. Many of them make minimum wage, can’t afford their health insurance and can’t afford to live in the upper class communities of Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz where the company operates.
Now that Threshold’s first contract is due to expire, a few select workers, favored by management and aided by the National Right to Work Committee, have submitted a decertification petition. Local 912 has filed unfair labor practice charges on the employer for their involvement in assisting, encouraging and instructing the favored workers on how to decertify the union. The National Labor Relations Board is investigating.
Karla Negrete, a Local 912 member who works sorting pills for Threshold, believes the company should bargain a fair contract with a livable wage, not come up with union-busting tactics to evade their responsibility to their workforce. “Me and my co-workers deserve more. Threshold not only underpays us, but it also controls my life, from what I can afford to eat, to what part of town I can afford to live in. I can’t afford to be sick or take a day off to spend with my family, because if I do, I would be struggling later to pay my bills,” said Negrete.
As the NLRB continues its investigations, Threshold is required to begin negotiations this fall, and Local 912 will be bargaining aggressively to fight for a living wage for their members.
Teamsters Local 2010 won another victory for our members, ending the discriminatory exclusion of Teamster members from receiving incentive awards under the University’s STAR program.
This victory could not have been won without the concerted effort of our members. After hundreds of signatures, thousands of leaflets, and countless hours of outreach done by volunteer leaders, we are proud to say we won the fight against bargaining unit discrimination.
“No employee should ever be punished for being in their union,” said Local 2010 Secretary-Treasurer Jason Rabinowitz. “Through the efforts of Teamsters throughout California, we have once again shown our strength and the power of working together for justice.”
As all other employees in the UC system have enjoyed the benefits of incentive programs, such as the STAR Award, Local 2010 members experienced consistent exclusion from receiving these bonuses. Management would claim that members were ineligible because they were Teamsters, despite the fact that the union contract clearly allowed for participation in such incentive programs.
“Thank you to all the leaders who made this victory possible,” adds Rabinowitz. “We will continue to fight to protect the rights of all our members.”
Local 2785 Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Cilia and Business Agent Ed Lynch successfully argued a grievance about supervisors working in the place of bargaining unit members at the UPS National Panel in Minneapolis, MN on June 2. The National panel award was for $45,000.
The Local had pursued the grievance since the peak season of 2013 on behalf of several of its members.
“Congratulations to all involved,” Cilia said. “This proves that enforcing our contracts works.”