After Teamsters Local 853 broke the bubble in organizing the high tech shuttle driver industry, with successful drives and contract negotiations in 2015 at Loop Transportation and at Compass Transportation, it became clear that the workers in this industry were primed to get union representation. That’s when Local 665 took on San Francisco-based Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation.
While the workers were ready for a union, Bauer’s pulled out all the stops to obstruct the union’s advance. First they formed a “company union” that the drivers never voted for but that claimed to negotiate a contract in their name. This obvious attempt was quickly quashed by the National Labor Relations Board. The phony union was abolished and a real union election was scheduled for November.
Unfortunately, the company kept up its dirty tricks, and the election was lost. Believing that the election was rigged and that the company conducted numerous unfair labor practices, Local 665 is fighting for the Labor Board to issue a bargaining order. A hearing is scheduled in February.
Taking the campaign one step further, the Teamsters ensured that Bauer’s was sitting on the bench when Super Bowl 50 activities demand a huge number of shuttle buses and limos to ferry workers and fans to dozens of events and the big game itself. The Teamsters learned, a week before the event, that the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee had, in the interest of labor peace, dropped consideration of Bauer’s to provide shuttle services.
“They said that they wanted the fans to have a good experience at the Super Bowl, that a lot of people are coming to San Francisco, and that San Francisco values labor harmony and wants labor harmony around the Super Bowl,” Doug Bloch, political director with Teamsters Joint Council 7, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
According to The Chronicle, elected officials, including Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Scott Wiener, who authored a policy requiring “labor harmony” for bus companies participating in the city’s corporate-shuttle program, urged the committee to reject Bauer’s. Wiener raised the issue at a Board of Supervisors hearing on Super Bowl events.
“The whole point of the labor harmony resolution was to make sure we didn’t have labor disruptions that would undermine traffic flow,” he said, “and to make sure drivers were paid reasonable wages and benefits.”
Bloch and Local 665 worked for weeks to lobby both City officials and the Host Committee to exclude Bauer’s. “We sent letters to Recology, the city’s garbage collector, and several union hotels, informing them of the dispute with Bauer’s and threatening picket lines,” Bloch says.
“Of course, our members who collect trash, work at hotels, and provide other services for major events like this would never cross a picket line. All of this action could feasibly have caused untold inconvenience to just the people the city wants to court,” Bloch added. “We’re glad the City and the Host Committee did the right thing and benched Bauer’s.”