Members and stewards from Marysville, Chico, Redding, Fall River Mills, Eureka and elsewhere in Northern California met in Redding on November 14, 2015 for the annual Stewards Training Seminar. Legal counsel John Provost assisted Local 137 staff in educating the participants on the role of stewards in the workplace and how to represent members in disciplinary meetings (Weingarten Rights).
The Local welcomed new stewards and activists from the newly-organized unit at Waste Management, as well several Organizing Committee Members from Butte County. More than 1,000 Butte County employees will be voting for Teamsters representation in the next few months.
Local 431 is readying its members for the High Speed Rail project to get into high gear. Many aspects of the project will bring more work to the Central Valley. Much of this work will be done by Teamsters, such as demolition, hazmat abatement and much more.
Local 431, with the help of the Northern California Teamsters Apprenticeship Training (NCTAT) Director Phil Winters, held a “hazwoper” class in January to help certify over a dozen Teamster construction hands in the proper handling of hazardous material. “Many of those who seek work on the High Speed Rail project will require this type of certification,” says Local 431 President Peter Nuñez. “We are lucky to have the NCTAT as a valuable resource. Thanks to NCTAT and Phil Winters for all the assistance.”
Teamsters Locals 517 and 533 recently completed successful negotiations with Dyncorp International, a private military contractor in aviation maintenance.
Here is the team from the Naval Air Station in Lemoore, CA and the Business Agents of Local 517. “Thank you to all the Teamster members who are keeping our military jets in the air,” Local 517 Secretary-Treasurer Chester Suniga said.
Local 665 members employed at Clover-Stornetta Dairy gathered in January to assemble proposals for upcoming contract talks.
“These Teamsters, involved in both production and delivery, are proud of the work they perform for this locally- owned dairy,” says Mark Gleason, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 665. “Contract talks will proceed with an eye on achieving improvements.”
Clover-Stornetta includes the smiling face of Clo the Cow, who’s pun-filled advertising greets shoppers at stores like Safeway and Costco. The line of products produced and delivered by 180 Teamsters includes organic milk, cheese and butter sourced from 27 North Coast farms.
Contract talks will certainly include discussion of new employment opportunities at a 64,000 square foot distribution facility scheduled for to open in 2017.
“The new facility will offer expansion of business, which is good news for our members,” says Business Agent Michael Yates, who along with Local 665 President Ralph Miranda, will be coordinating contract talks with Clover.
The coming months will be a time for the members at Clover to stick together as talks continue toward a new agreement.
“These Teamsters at Clover were united during our proposal meeting. I know they’ll remain strong as the negotiations proceed,” Yates said.
Topping off a string of organizing victories with Silicon Valley shuttle bus drivers, Local 853 closed the year by organizing the We Drive U shuttle drivers. In November, these drivers ratified a strong agreement providing for significant wages, benefit improvements and gains mirroring or exceeding the Facebook/Loop Transportation contract already in place.
“This is another step in making extraordinary improvements to the working conditions and overall livelihoods of tech shuttle drivers,” said Secretary-Treasurer Rome Aloise. “We are moving to bring drivers in the entire shuttle bus industry into the Teamsters Union to create a level playing field on costs and so that the richest companies in the world are assured of quality, experienced drivers for the valuable employees they service.”
In addition to organizing shuttle drivers, Local 853, along with other Teamster Locals and other unions, is part of Silicon Valley Rising, working together to bring union power to the thousands of workers who provide services for Silicon Valley’s wealthiest companies.
“Local 853 got the ball rolling and saw it gather steam in 2015,” adds Aloise. “We have big plans for the coming year.”
Early on a brisk morning late last fall, City of Concord Teamsters stood gathered around their representative, 856 Vice President Rudy Gonzalez, at the Local’s Concord meeting space, listening intently as he spoke of fairness and the importance of standing up for what was just.
In a few moments, the Teamsters would hoist picket signs and disperse in teams to the sidewalks lining Concord City Hall and in front of the city’s corporation yard on Gasoline Alley.
Days earlier, members of both the Administrative, Clerical and Technical and Field and Operations units had overwhelmingly authorized strike action in protest of city management’s unfair practices against its employees.
Nearly 100 members walked off the job for the one-day action, which took place on November 18.
“It was quite a sight to see so many Teamsters on the line, standing together, sending a message to management: an injury to one is an injury to all,” said Gonzalez.
“In my 18 years with the City, this is the first time I’ve seen the ATC & F/O units come together like this,” said Steward Lisa Jardine, a treasury technician for the city. “On that day, we were united as employees who just wanted to be treated fairly,” she said.
The strike drew considerable media attention and supportive honks from passers-by as the Teamsters formed a procession and chanted along busy Willow Pass Road in front of city hall.
“It’s easy to talk about solidarity, but Concord Teamsters put their words into action,” said Teamsters 856 Principal Officer Peter Finn. “We are ready to stand up and aggressively pursue what is right.”
When Teamsters Local 2010 set out to build a strong network of union stewards in 2013, it seemed overly-ambitious to some, and to many, just flat-out impossible. However, in just two years of conversations and trainings, we can confidently say that we have achieved just that.
After our final steward trainings of 2015, we now have a representational program second to none with hundreds of trained stewards at every chapter of the UC.
“Our leaders have an inspiring drive to help their colleagues and protect workplace rights,” said Secretary-Treasurer Jason Rabinowitz. “It has been a privilege to work with so many of our members who want to make real change in the UC system.”
Steward trainings have been taught by an array of experienced Teamster members such as Rabinowitz, Legal Director John Varga, Staff Attorney Abenicio Cisneros, and Regional Directors Tanya Akel and Keith Uriarte. Trainings covered introductory topics such as duty of fair representation and Weingarten rights while integrating more advanced topics like grievance-handling and organizing for power in the workplace.
“I came mainly because of some of the people who approached me earlier in the year,” UCI Steward Mark Green said. “I got the union bug and wanted to educate myself so I can educate my coworkers.”
Hands-on activities were key to all the trainings, with leaders doing mock disciplinary meetings, creating and investigating grievances, and organizing workplace actions.
“The Northern California Steward Training was invigorating,” UCSF Steward Cordis Webb said. “I would recommend this training to anyone ready to make a change in their workplace.”
Over the years, Local 2010 stewards have not only applied their training when representing members in disciplinary situations, but have become union activists. Many have organized and led their own issue-based actions, lobbied politicians at the State Capitol and even became elected leaders of Teamsters Local 2010.
We encourage anyone who is ready to make a difference to come to a union meeting, contact their union representative, and most importantly, become a full-voting member of the Teamsters. Together, we will create a better UC.