Thirteen member owner-operators have been working on a 7-mile SoCal Gas Pipeline project, just outside of northwest Bakersfield since just before Christmas, 2017. They expect to finish this work by June, 2018.
“This is the first time we’ve worked with the contractor Henkels & McCoy in many years,” says Business Agent John Morales. “Our guys on the ground have a great rapport with the Superintendent; he sees every day that they’re good workers. The company is bidding on a lot more work in our area and we fully expect to be on their team when it comes through.”
Student Transport of America (STA) employs about 88 bus drivers in San Jose. The contract expired August 31, 2017, but when new business agent Jerry Cordova organized a proposal meeting, some members thought they were attending a meeting to decertify the union instead.
Cordova addressed their complaints and promised to take care of grievances and to return phone calls. “It was definitely a challenge to rebuild trust,” he recalls.
When negotiations began, Cordova and former Business Agent George Netto were joined by two stewards: Keilli Watson and Jorge Garcia.
“The company wanted to re-write half the contact; but after five meetings, they gave us all of our top priorities and much more,” Cordova says. “We got $4 in wage increases over the five years. We also got more sick leave, and language for stewards to do investigations on the clock.”
Members voted overwhelmingly to ratify the contract at the end of August, and there’s no longer talk of decertification.
Local 315 President Alberto Ruiz, Secretary-Treasurer Don E. Garcia, and other Joint Council 7 representatives paid tribute to the 50th Anniversary of the Sanitation Workers Strike of 1968 and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ in Memphis, TN. They joined civil rights and union leadership at the Mountain Top Conference, a title referring to the last speech given by King 50 years ago when he preached “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” before sanitation workers at the same church. Program speakers included King’s children, Dr. Bernice King and Martin Luther King III, who reflected on the how their father changed the world view, from once disparaging him in life to honoring his legacy after his assassination. AFSCME International President Lee Saunders honored today’s sanitation workers who are still seeking worker safety. A video of former President Barack Obama advised, “As long as we’re still trying, Dr. King’s soul is still rejoicing.”
Local 350 has its members’ backs! Above (from L): Recording Secretary/Business Agent Sergio Arranaga, member Gareth Wiley who won his grievance against Recology Sunset, and Business Agent Juan Coca. Below (from L): Coca, member Teneya Sims, who works at West Coast Recycling, and Arranaga after they helped Sims win her grievance and regain her job. “Without Sergio and Juan, this would not have been possible. They believed in me and fought hard. I’m glad to be back on the job,” Sims said.
On April 14, 30 union members, including a strong group from Local 431, spent two hours talking to community members in Fresno about issues, such as schools and neighborhood safety.
“The purpose was not to target any particular candidate or politician, but for the Central Labor Council to gather information to pass on to elected officials and candidates,” says Business Agent Steven Sharp. “It’s a great way to get to know the community and the people in it.”
Shop stewards Yolanda Hamen, Brian Bezdek, Rosa Rubio and Nick Blanchard participated in a Joint Labor Relations Committee (JLRC) meeting with Golden Empire Transit (GET) on March 21. They successfully resolved outstanding contract issues.
(From left) Members Jessie Diez, Pedro Perez, Cesar Garcia, Guillermo Paez, Leoncio Ramirez, Jeremy Jones, Juan Oceguera, Local 601 President Manuel Rodriguez, and Thomas Ayala from Pacific Coast Producers in D.C. met in Lodi in April.”We are getting ready to start the busy season of the pack and the upcoming negotiations of our agreement of the master contract California Processors, Inc. and Teamsters California Cannery Council covering over 10,000 members.
Less than a year after 400 workers in Sonoma’s solid waste and recycling industry voted to become union members, Local 665 scored another win with an 80% Yes vote in an NLRB election to represent workers at most of the North Bay transfer stations and the county landfill.
“These workers were employees of the County of Sonoma until they were out-sourced about five years ago” says Local 665 Secretary-Treasurer Mark Gleason. “They are very aware of the benefits that were taken away when Republic Services, one of the largest global waste management conglomerates in the nation, took over.”
Gleason credited the Local’s Santa Rosa organizing team with carrying out the strategy to achieve this victory for solid waste workers.
“Local 665 President Mike Yates, and Business Agents Juan Gallo and Tom Wood stayed with this effort from the beginning. Workers are on the job at the solid waste worksites nearly round-the-clock. These three made sure that this unit stayed together in the face of fierce anti-union messaging by this employer. This victory would not have happened without their solid and unrelenting efforts,” Gleason added.
The Local has forwarded notice to Republic Services to begin negotiations immediately. Watch this space for progress on the talks.
Reservations, front desk, concierge, and rooms control employees at the W San Francisco hotel have joined the more than 1,000 hospitality workers already represented by Teamsters 856 after a resounding yes vote in February.
For Priya Kumari, the choice to join Teamsters 856 was an easy one. After years of talking with members of Teamsters 665 and UNITE HERE Local 2 who work in other departments at the W, she realized what a difference a strong collective bargaining agreement could make. “I wanted to see policies and procedures that management has to abide by,” said Priya, who’s been a front desk agent at the W for seven years.
Things began to move quickly after W employees met with Teamsters 856 President Mike Lagomarsino, Representative Liliana Cortez, and Member Organizer Kathleen Romero to learn more about the benefits of forming a union.
“The time was right,” said Liliana. “With changes being made at the hotel, the workers wanted protections and they were ready to have a seat and a voice at the table.”
In early February, a majority of the 17 workers requested voluntary recognition of the union. But, when they were met with silence, the Local was forced to file for an election with the National Labor Relations Board.
In an act of solidarity, the members of UNITE HERE Local 2 and Teamsters Local 665 participated in an action where they all wore Teamsters 856 pins on the same day.
When the election was held on February 28, 100% of the workers who voted chose to become Teamsters 856 members.
“I was really happy it was 100%,” said Cesar Landeros, a rooms controller. “Some people had doubts and may have been scared, but in the end, they realized standing together was the best thing to do. Now we’re ready for negotiations.”
The Local’s contract with Shasta Hayward, makers of LaCroix, has been expired since August 2017. The members have twice indicated that they are worth more than the company’s offer by overwhelmingly turning down the proposed five-year proposals. Bargaining is set to continue the week of May 21. Many thanks to Stewards Tanya Walker and Gerald Young for their work in bargaining and communicating with the members.
Bargaining prep has begun for the Anheuser-Busch, InBev CBAs scheduled to expire in March of 2019. Proposals will be submitted to IBT for review in early May. Additionally, Business Agent Brian Indelicato reports that the Local expedited and extended Step 2 grievance resolutions in April. With the assistance of Secretary-Treasurer Phil Cooper, IBT Rep Bud Benack, Stewards Christine Peters, Lonnie Wilson, Mike Hunt, Jamie Simmons, Mason Hurst, and Mike Deforne, the majority of outstanding issues were resolved.
On February 22, Local 2785 joined 148 union members from Sign And Display Local 510, IBEW Local 6, and IATSE Local 16 at Fort Mason in a unified protest against Dynamic Events of Denver, a company that pays substandard wages and benefits.
“This is common practice at Fort Mason, which is federal property. Companies hide under federal law rather than follow local area standards,” explains Business Agent Terry Mullady.