Mario Banuelos, a Crystal Creamery employee for 10 years and member of Local 386, was termi- nated for allegedly miss-shipping product to a cus- tomer in July of 2014. After months of delay, a Two-By-Two Committee was convened to hear the case, but was unable to make a decision. This forced the union to proceed to arbitration. Eighteen months later an arbitrator returned Mario to his former job, minus a short suspension.
Mario’s patience paid off. On May 27, 2016 Business Representative Gaylord Phillips presented Mario with a back-pay check for lost wages.
Mario expressed his appreciation for the sup- port of the union and his co-workers who stood behind him. Without the testimony of several of his co-workers, this win would have not been possible.
(L) Teamsters Union Local 431 was honored to host a community meet and greet with California State Attorney General Kamala Harris in February. After answering questions, she met with Local 431 and Building Trades unions to discuss the need to increase construction projects.
(R) Local 431 members participated in the “Mayor’s Forum” in March, and stand with Teamster-endorsed candidate for Mayor of Fresno, Henry Perea.
For their efforts to highlight and organize around the safety and health violations at Taylor Farms, the Justice at Taylor Farms campaign was honored by Worksafe, an Oakland- based nonprofit that fights for safety at work in California. Accepting the award in Berkeley on June 2 were Jose Vega and Brenda Vega (Center). Worksafe board member and Local 853 member Debra Chaplan (L) presented the award. Local 601 Secretary-Treasurer Ashley Alvarado (R) also spoke about the Taylor Farms campaign and the tenacious workers who are fighting for union representation.
In a turn-around from the month-long strike of 2013, Lake County’s public transit driv- ers, members of Local 665, have unanimously approved a new three-year agreement which includes wage improvements of 5% annually.
“The committee did an outstanding job of presenting the membership’s interests and stick- ing to demands for a better contract,” said Ralph Miranda, President of Local 665.
Miranda described tense negotiations, with the memory of a bitter month-long strike during a hot summer three years ago, on the minds of union members and management.
“Everyone wanted to avoid a repeat of that strike, but the members were not going to be backed into a corner either,” Miranda said.
Along with wage increases, improvements were also found in overtime language and sick leave.
Lake County Transit drivers have also received an 8.16% wage increase in September, provided by the Lake County Transit Board of Directors from State Emergency Funds for Teamsters at Lake County Transit, for providing emergency evacuation services during the “Valley Fire” on September 12, 2015.
Miranda noted the special efforts of Local 665 members Dante DeAmicus, Bob Dugan, April Allen, Nicky Smith and Toby Anderson. Local 665 Recording Secretary David Rodriguez assisted Miranda in the talks.
After more than 15 years in San Leandro, Local 853 has returned to the union’s Oakland roots in a very big way.
“Our local has grown substantially over the last decade and we needed more space, not only for offices, but for meetings with members and employers,” says Secretary-Treasurer Rome Aloise.
At 22,000 square feet, the new building is nearly twice the size of the Local’s old prop- erty. After a complete gutting and renovation, the building includes 21 business agent offices, multiple conference rooms, and a large meeting hall. “Plus, we were able to create a mini-Labor Temple,” Aloise adds. “Our two tenants on the first floor, the Alameda County Central Labor Council and the Alameda County Building Trades Council, bring the strength of Alameda County’s unions into our space.”
Building out the space to meet the Local’s specifications was a greater challenge than any- one anticipated. “Even now, six months later, final details are still being completed, but we’ve got state-of-the-art facilities that should make our members proud, and should impress any employers who might want to take us on.”
Teamsters 856 Staff Attorney Malia Vella is the type of citizen who will stay at a city council meeting that lasts past four in the morning. Tenacious, determined, and always on point, Vella is the type of union representative who doesn’t back down from a fight. These are the exact qualities that will make her an excellent Alameda City Council member, a position for which she announced her candidacy in May.
One of the major issues facing Alameda residents –like most residents in the Bay Area– is the lack of affordable housing that is displacing young families, senior citizens and people of color. In fact, that was the subject of the fateful 4 a.m. city council meeting that convinced Vella she needed to do something and run for office.
“My job as a Teamster representative is to cre- ate and keep people in the middle class,” Vella said. “However, housing costs are outpacing cost of living adjustments and wage increases. There needs to be a solution. Preserving affordable housing is a desire to preserve community.”
Fellow Alameda resident and Teamsters 856 Shop Steward Elena Hernandez agrees that the cost of housing is putting a squeeze on working families. “It’s a great city to raise a family, and such a special place in the Bay Area. I want to keep it that way, but there’s a continual tug of war between maintain- ing our small town charm and development,” said Hernandez, who got to know Vella at the Next Up Young Worker Summit in Chicago last year.
Family Fun Day at Wild Water Adventures Saturday, August 27, 2016 Get your tickets at the union office and enjoy a great day of family fun, barbecue, drinks, games, and water rides all for one price of $25. With all the hot weather on the way, plan to spend a cool weekend with your fellow Teamsters.
“Malia’s an outstanding role model and very inspiring,” the Fairmont San Francisco Teamster said. “She’s privy to labor issues and problems facing working families. She has that special insight that other politicians may lack,” Hernandez added.
Vella has always been drawn to public service. While in college she worked on political campaigns, and prior to joining the 856 staff, she worked for both Assembly member Bill Quirk and former California Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett. In addition to her staff attorney role, she also serves as Local 856’s public policy coordinator.
“I consider being a Teamster representative the best kind of public service there is —it’s something I’m naturally passionate about,” she said.
“Anyone who’s met Malia knows how incredibly driven and passionate she is about improving the lives of working families. She’ll make an extraordi- nary council member,” said Teamsters 856 Principal Officer Peter Finn. “Our Local is incredibly proud of this step she’s taking toward furthering her commit- ment to public service. She has the full support of Teamsters 856 and the Local Unions that make up the 100,000 member-strong Joint Council 7,” he said.
Hernandez is excited about the prospect of having Vella on her city council.
“Malia is very down to earth and approachable. I feel she would have an open door policy, and residents wouldn’t have to jump through hoops to communicate with her,” she said. “That’s something to look forward to.”
More than 50 UC Berkeley workers and students rallied on May 5, 2016 in support of Janette Reid, who received a layoff notice after three decades of service at the UC Berkeley Molecular and Cell Biology Department. Reid is the first administrative support worker to receive a layoff notice under Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ recently-announced plan to eliminate 500 jobs at UCB. Supporting Local 2010’s fight back against these cuts were Berkeley students, and fellow union workers from UPTE-CWA and AFSCME 3299.
“The lowest-paid workers and students should not be made to pay the price for the irresponsible decisions of administrators that created the budget shortfall,” said Alicia Flores, Teamsters Local 2010, UC Berkeley Chapter Coordinator. “UC workers are already working harder for less,” said Jason Rabinowitz, Teamsters Local 2010 Principal Officer. “Students are paying triple tuition for fewer classes and reduced services. This cynical, disastrous plan will only compound the problems. We call on Chancellor Dirks to stop the cuts and withdraw the unjust layoff of Janette.”
“It will not make the workers afraid,” quipped City of Berkeley Councilperson Kriss Worthington, of the layoffs. “Perhaps the management may be surprised. It will make the workers and the entire communi- ty angry and it will make them organize!”
The demonstrators marched down the Free Speech Bikeway to deliver their message to Janette Reid’s supervisor. Carrying signs and chanting slogans decrying the proposed layoffs, they demanded justice and suggested instead the layoff of Chancellor Dirks.
Administrative support workers, who are primarily women and people of color, are among the lowest-paid in the UC system, and have seen their real income drop by 23% over the past two decades. At UC Berkeley, 98% are paid too little to meet basic household expenses according to a recent study.
Concerns of participants centered around the leadership crisis at Berkeley. In hopes of addressing so-called structural budget problem, Chancellor Dirks plans to cut essential student services, libraries, housing offices, academic departments, childcare centers, medical clinics, and the BearWalk public safety program.