Teamsters Local 70 was heavily involved in the Oakland Franchise Agreement for solid waste and recycling. For the first time, the Franchise Agreement included the area of food waste and that meant an additional 10-12 new Local 70 jobs. A condition written into the Franchise Agreement was to mandate a partnership with Civicorps to find and train workers for these new jobs.
Civicorps helps Oakland youth and young adults achieve education and economic self-sufficiency. Not only do they help young adults, aged 18-26, earn their high school diploma but they also provide skills and job readiness training, and transitional employment. Civicorps’ Career Counselors connect program graduates to professional internships, pre-apprenticeships and union apprenticeships through their many employer/ community-based agency partnerships.
Teamsters Local 70 is now working with Civicorps and Waste Management to develop a designated route that will help transition Oakland youth into high-demand industries.
In life, it is not where you start but the path you take to achieve your final goals. Congratulations to brothers Corey Lever and William Montaha who are now on a good path, apprenticing at Waste Management.
After 20 bargaining sessions, the Teamsters who work at Sysco in the Bay Area, Sacramento and north, and in Reno were close to a strike. “We had huge struggles over keeping maintenance of benefits for the health and welfare plan and for a contract that included retroactivity, even though the company had stalled negotiations for months,” says Local 853 Business Agent Dan Varela.
“Fortunately, the members stood up and stayed solid, and we got great contracts,” Varela says. “The Sysco Fremont contract is the best in the nation.”
Bargaining was coordinated with Fremont, Reno, Sacramento and Okahoma City. Joining Varela to set strategies and do the bargaining was International Vice Presidents Rome Aloise and Steve Vairma and Local 137 President Dave Hawley.
“The Reno folks were paying anywhere from $400-900 for their health and welfare,” Varela explains. “As a result of the coordinated bargaining, they got into the Sacramento plan and employee costs went down substantially. We had a seasoned group of stewards and just surrounded the company. Being united and having the support of the International made all the difference.”
Although working for a school district may sound enticing because of extended time off for spring break, Christmas and summer vacation, the job has its scheduling challenges. Bus drivers for school districts work limited hours and/or split shifts; their day starts very early in the morning and doesn’t end until all students are safely home.
Teamsters Local 150 in Sacramento has proudly represented San Juan Unified School District Transportation Department for over 20 years. “When negotiations for this District started nearly a year ago, we knew we had a BIG fight ahead of us,” says Business Agent Nancy Jones. “The District wanted to take away the 8-hour guarantee that 65% of the drivers received through their union-negotiated contract.”
It was a long and arduous fight. “But, not only did our members say no...they said HELL NO!” Jones says.
While the District made threats that members should take what was offered while they still could, the members stood strong, rallying and speaking at School Board meetings, and testifying about how the proposed severe cuts would negatively impact not only themselves, but the community as a whole. In the end, not only were the members able to prevent the drastic and severe cuts, but they also secured a wage increase and an additional 7% increase over two years. “That’s what solidarity is all about,” Jones adds.
The employees at United Site Services voted in 2014 to join Local 315, but the negotiations for a contract were going nowhere. “These employees agreed to go on strike in October of 2014 in an effort to get the employer to bargain in good faith,” says Secretary-Treasurer Don E. Garcia. “What we didn’t expect is that after two weeks on strike, USS would permanently replace those workers.”
An administrative law judge found that USS’s hiring of permanent replacements was unlawful because of its failure to inform the union of its plan until all of the strikers had been replaced. The judge ruled that this shows that the company had an unlawful motive to break the strike.
In addition to ordering that all of the strikers be offered reinstatement to their former positions, the judge ordered the company not only to pay all backpay due, but also to “compensate the employees for the adverse tax consequences of receiving a lumpsum backpay award.” Further, the company was ordered to “recognize and bargain in good faith with the union as the exclusive bargaining representative of the unit.”
On April 2, 2016, 29 Local 350 Shop Stewards attended a training in South San Francisco.
“We were very excited to have such a large turnout for this seminar. Caren Sencer, from the law firm of Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld, gave an excellent presentation,” said Local 350 President John Bouchard.
“Our goal is to provide our Stewards with every available tool so they can represent our members at the highest level. This was a great opportunity for them to learn, share ideas and foster unity,” Bouchard added.
When Jon Finley was fired from Aramark, he felt it was a wrongful termination and the union backed him up. Bryan Ronngren, Local 386 Business Agent won a huge settlement. So far, Finley has received a partial settlement of $40,000 for back pay. The rest of the case is heading to arbitration.
If you ever wonder why you pay union dues, ask Jon Finley!
(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.
The campaign to organize the drivers at Bauer’s IT in San Francisco started back in October 2014 and has been an organizing and political minefield ever since. “First we had to chase out a phony company union,” says Local 665 Secretary- Treasurer Mark Gleason. “Then we had an election. But, after more than a year, the National Labor Relations Board won’t certify it, because they know that the company engaged in intimidating and unfair conduct.”
The Local continues to protest Bauer’s on a regular, usually surprise, basis. “It’s important to know that we can count on all of the Locals in Joint Council 7 to back us up,” Gleason adds.
But more than protesting, the Local, with the help of President Rome Aloise and Political Director Doug Bloch, has moved mightily into the political arena. “We fought for a labor harmony agreement with San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors and the Transit Agency (SFMTA) as part of the permit process that enables tech buses to utilize public bus stops. We were able to use this strategy to stop Bauer’s from getting a lucrative contract for San Francisco’s big Super Bowl weekend, and we recently won unanimous support from the supervisors to pull the company’s permit altogether. The SFMTA did just that, as of April 1,” Gleason says. “Owner Gary Bauer isn’t entitled to use city resources willy-nilly the way he wants.”
The SFMTA cited the company not just on the labor harmony clause, but on not following numerous rules of the road. (At press time, Bauer’s hasn’t yet protested the decision, but that’s expected.)
Bauer will continue all the political and legal pressure he can, as will the union. “Just two years ago, not one tech shuttle driver was a Teamster,” Gleason says. “Now, more than 700 are. We need to keep pushing ahead and will use every creative strategy we can.”
Teamsters 856’s membership surpassed the 10,000 mark in February when more than 1,700 Contra Costa County workers joined the Local in a landslide vote. Workers in Health Services, General Services and Maintenance, and Licensed Vocational Nurse/Aide units comprise the new 856 members
For Lisa Day-Silva, choosing Teamster representation was a no-brainer. The licensed vocational nurse has been in the nursing field since she was a child, but deteriorating working conditions at the County have made it hard for her to stay afloat in her profession.
“Between furloughs, pay cuts, and skyrocketing medical costs, I’m making less now than I did 10 years ago,” said Day-Silva, who’s been with the County for 14 years.
Senior Ultrasound Technician Cynthia O’Brien concurs. “We’ve lost the respect of the County and have fallen so far behind in wages and health care—it’s been a continual decline,” the 13-year employee said.
Fed up, Contra Costa County workers reached out to Local 856 to form a union with the Teamsters. “We had been talking about joining the Teamsters for a while and once the candle was lit, it burned like wildfire,” said Day-Silva. “The Teamsters fight; it’s known that they stand behind their word and are a strong union that cares about the membership.”
“All I ever wanted was a real union like the Teamsters to have my back,” said Organizing Committee Member Jorge Murillo, a general maintenance worker at the County for nearly 10 years.
At the conclusion of the nearly year-long organizing campaign, 85 percent of workers casting ballots chose Teamster representation, with more than two-thirds of eligible employees voting.
“The strong vote result is an important first step in our fight to ensure the valuable work done by County workers for the communities they serve is recognized. We are committed to using all the resources necessary to make that happen,” said Teamsters Local 856 Principal Officer Peter Finn.
Day-Silva, Murillo and O’Brien are now part of the bargaining committee and have already started negotiations for their first Teamster contract.
“The high participation level in the election and overwhelming vote in favor of the Teamsters is a loud statement that things need to change at the County,” said Finn, who is chairing negotiations.
“We’re ecstatic to be Teamsters. This feels like the first win we’ve had in a long time,” said O’Brien.
In an act of solidarity, members of Teamsters 890, Boilermakers, Operating Engineers, Electricians and Machinists Unions held a one-day strike on March 15 at Lhoist North America’s quarry in Salinas. The five unions all struck together and completely shut down the facility to protest unfair labor practices (ULP).
“The members demonstrated that they are all united to get a fair contract,” said Business Agent Fritz Conle, who added that negotiations are continuing and the NLRB is processing the ULP charges filed by the unions.
The day negotiations opened between Local 2010 and the University of California for the CX bargaining unit—April 7— thousands of Teamsters Local 2010 members around the state showed their support for fair wages and benefits by wearing their Teamster stickers at work.
“Member support for our bargaining team on the first day of negotiations shows the University that we are standing strong together as Teamsters to win what is fair for the workers who make UC work,” says Local 2010 Secretary-Treasurer Jason Rabinowitz.
To check out pictures and video of the event, go to www.teamsters2010.org. “Thanks to all who showed your support,” Rabinowitz adds. “This is just the beginning, and it shows that when we stand together, we win together!”