About 50 workers at Pac Rail, a rail head at the Port of Oakland, voted in December to be represented by Local 70. “We welcome our new members at Pac Rail and look forward to giving them the strong union and contract that they deserve,” says Business Agent Lou Marchetti.
The workers previously had another union, but when Pac Rail took over the port contract, they had an opportunity to change unions. “Representing workers in the transportation industry is a large part of Local 70’s jurisdiction,” Marchetti adds. “We’re pleased that they chose to come with us.
Seeking lower health care costs and a voice on the job, more than 1,000 Butte County workers in the social services and general services units voted to join Teamsters Local 137.
“I am so happy we are joining the Teamsters,” said Debbie Chamberlain, a 10-year Social Services Aide at Butte County. “Our health care costs were spiraling out of control. Our premiums had spiked and the additional expenses were hurting me and my family financially. The Teamsters will work hard at the bargaining table to win the benefits we deserve.”
“We’re really excited to work with this group,” said Local 137 President Dave Hawley. “These workers chose the Teamsters because they know we’ll fight tooth and nail for better wages and increased benefits.”
As this paper goes to press, the members will be voting on their first Teamsters contract with 10% wage increases over three years and the option of moving into a superior Teamsters health plan.
Local 315 held its Annual Children’s Holiday Party on December 10, 2016. More than 300 members attended with their families, and that included more than 100 children. “We had face painting, a cotton candy machine, a photo booth and a raffle,” says Secretary-Treasurer Don E. Garcia.
The Local provided tri-tip, chicken, and hot dogs for everyone. Each child 12 and under received Santa hats, jingle bell necklaces, stickers and candy canes.
After receiving their gifts, all the children lined up to go on stage to select a gift and take a picture with Santa.
The 50 members at Dublin-based Health Services & Benefit Administrators, Inc. (HS & BA) unanimously ratified a new 3-year contract in January. In addition to wage increases, their health and welfare contribution stays the same.
These members help administer the pension and health and welfare benefits for a variety of unions.
Secretary-Treasurer Ashley Alvarado & Business Agent Pablo Barrera negotiated the deal.
New contract for supervisors
The Teamsters represent 26 supervisors at the Stockton Unified School District, and together they recently ratified a new 3-year contract that starts in February.
“We successfully negotiated raising the employer’s contribution for health care to $1,350 from $856, significantly lowering members’ out-ofpocket expenses,” says Business Rep Pablo Barrera.
The team also negotiated a 2% cost of living raise—all without losing any contract language protecting members rights.
Special thanks goes out the negotiating team: Local 601 Political Coordinator/Business Representative Pablo Barrera and members Joe Kusy, Mo Padilla, Ruben Modesto and Charlie Keen.
It took almost a year, but the 25 employees at Le Boulanger Bakery in Sunnyvale finally ratified their first contract in December, after having voted for union representation back in January.
“The collective bargaining agreement includes wage and benefit increases of about 20% across the board, which is excellent for a first contract,” says Business Agent Lou Valletta. The new members ratified the contract by a vote of 18-3.
In December, Local 853 joined Locals from around the country to inform Target customers about the plight of port truck drivers.
Mowing dozens of acres a day, readying football fields and baseball diamonds for play, and helping to set up infrastructure for new school facilities, are just some of the tasks Teamsters 856 member Equipment Operator John J. Sanchez has completed in his 41 years with the Mount Diablo School District. At the close of 2016, Sanchez called it quits and stepped into a well-deserved retirement, with his entire medical plan covered, including vision and dental, thanks to his new Teamsters 856 contract.
“It’s a blessing,” said Sanchez. “I’m really excited. It’s a 100% gift at my retirement.”
The two-year agreement at the school district in Contra Costa County covers more than 400 maintenance and operations employees. It contains big raises of 10% (9% ongoing/1% one-time money); guaranteed District contributions to health care, even if rates increase; full benefits for half-time employees; and an increase in longevity pay.
“We’ve had 18% in wage increases over the last two contracts since we’ve been Teamsters,” roofer and bargaining team member Dave Tomason said. “That’s unheard of.” Mount Diablo maintenance and operations employees left their previous representation and joined Teamsters 856 in 2014.
Local 856 business representative Juan Escobar, who served as lead negotiator, said the bargaining team approached negotiations seeking equality. “It’s only fair that all employees of the District enjoy the same benefits,” said Escobar. “Teachers and management enjoyed retiree medical, our members deserved to as well. Our bargaining team did a tremendous job and we were able to bring back a contract that improved conditions for every member,” he continued.
Carolyn Inklebarger started working in the District’s transport department repairing upholstery in 1985. “I never thought that I’d ever see it,” the bargaining committee member said of the Teamster-negotiated retiree benefit, which will cover retirees for 10 years provided they have worked for the District for five years prior to retirement. Inklebarger now works as a groundskeeper at Northgate High School and is planning to retire later this year.
“It feels good when you can get something for new members, and it feels really good when you can get something you’ve never had before,” Inklebarger said. “I’m really proud of this contract.”
“Since Mt Diablo workers became Local 856 members in 2014, we have been relentless in our fight to turn around the downward slide of wages, benefits and working conditions they had faced prior to Teamster representation,” said Local 856 Principal Officer Peter Finn. “Teamsters at the District strive every day to ensure that students have a safe and well-maintained environment in which to learn. They care very deeply about the work that they do, and we will persist in ensuring that they are given the respect they so deserve,” he said.
Contract negotiations have arrived again for Neil Jones Food Company dba San Benito Foods and Teamster Local 890. This process just doesn’t happen over night. It takes a lot of organizing and solidarity to bring about change to make our members lives better.
This process began early last summer with meetings with our members to see what types of changes they wanted to see in this contract negotiation. The results were better wages, health care, a pension plan, and better treatment.
The Local has put together two committees for the negotiations: The Communication Committee and the Negotiation team. The Negotiation team is composed of the Local 890 leaders and nine San Benito Foods employees, some who work year round and seasonal workers, to provide a diverse view and representation of the whole plant. San Benito Food employs about 500 employees but roughly 100 work year round and the rest are seasonal.
We know negotiations will be tough, but we will persevere and in solidarity we will overcome any obstacle which may come our way. Negotiations are set to officially begin mid-January and continue on until we have a ratified contract by our members. I hope that our Local 890 can count on your support throughout this process.
After Local 890 member Rickii Zuniga attended the Teamsters Women’s Conference in Hollywood last summer, she returned excited and had a vision: “Our local needs a Sisterhood.”
She took charge and starting visiting the plants represented by Local 890, including Dole, Taylor, OLAM, and San Benito Foods. She talked to sisters to get them involved, and has successfully launched Local 890s Sisterhood.
“Now,” says Business Agent Jose A. Perez, Jr., “they are organizing, educating, and making a difference in the lives of our sisters.” Most immediately, they are actively raising funds to be able to send more women to the 2017 Teamsters Women’s Conference in San Antonio on September 17-19.
To get involved, contact Perez at 831-272-2186.