Author: Joint Council 7

Like father, like son in solid waste and recycling industry

“Watching my dad work as a garbage man since I was four years old and loving his job inspired me to follow in his footsteps,” says Pedro Ponce about his father, Toribio Ponce.

The Solid Waste and Recycling industry is one of those unique industries that can span generations within families—fathers working with sons, nephews/nieces working with uncles, cousins working with cousins. It becomes a proud family affair of hard-working men and women who help serve their community,

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Sign petition to support union drive at AAA

AAA insurance sales agents across Northern California have filed for their Teamsters Local 665 election with the National Labor Relations Board. The 460 insurance agents are seeking a more secure future and a strong voice on the job. As the insurance industry evolves, COVID-19 has exposed the need for security and protections for workers. AAA workers in Northern California are experts in providing customers with insurance to protect themselves and their families, but these workers feel increasingly unprotected themselves on the job and are seeking Teamster representation to protect their futures.

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Q&A about the COVID vaccine

How do I get the vaccine? 

At press time, vaccinations are available to people over 65 years old, or people who work in education (teachers, school employees, school bus drivers) and in agriculture and the food industry, as well as people with underlying health issues. As more vaccines become available, the state will start lowering the age limit for vaccine eligibility.

To find out if you’re eligible for vaccination, call your health care provider to schedule first and second doses,

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Light at the end of the long COVID and Trump tunnels

Finally, some upbeat news to report after a year of pandemic shutdown and horror stories about the over 500,000 deaths in our country from COVID—too many of them our members. We’ve seen story after story about the hardships many of you have had to endure due to the COVID collateral damage to jobs, the economy, and to many of the companies you work for. However, things are finally looking up.

Members who have been out of work are being called back.

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Politics matter!

As this paper goes to press, the U.S. Congress just passed legislation unlike any we’ve seen in our lifetimes. As reported in this issue’s cover story, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) will protect Teamster pensions in struggling plans-—a victory the union has fought long and hard for through 20 years of Democrat and Republican administrations.

Thankfully, our Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Fund is in strong shape but, to keep it that way,

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Lots of new contracts

Local 517 has completed negotiations on several contracts and members have ratified them. Members at Land O Lakes in Tulare and at Ventura Coastal in Tipton now have new five-year contracts. The members at Bright Now Dental in Visalia and Myovich Trucking in Fresno have new three-year agreements. Those at the City of Farmersville Fire Department have a new one-year agreement.

“All of our negotiated contracts were a step forward for our members,” said 

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Big arbitration win

Teamsters Local 431 recently won a significant arbitration involving construction along the Hwy 99 and Hwy 180 corridors. Along with Construction Chairman Stu Helfer and Business Agent Mike Pratt, Teamsters Union Local 431 prevailed against Security Paving. The arbitrator ruling for underpayment and trust fund contributions could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The award covered Kodiak Trucking’s performance of Teamster work when they blatantly chose to run non-union as well as underpay their employees.

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Important new benefit

The 80 members at Napa Recycling and Waste Services recently ratified a new five-year contract with a valuable new benefit. For the first time in franchise history, the contract includes the Retirement Security Plan (RSP), fully covered by the employer. 

“Knowing that they will now have medical coverage after retirement, an overwhelming majority of ecstatic members ratified this contract,” says Business Agent Dustin Baumbach.  The contract also included increases in wages and pension as well as full maintenance of benefits for health and welfare.

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Hospital workers stand strong for a good contract

After long contentious negotiations, that included a one-day strike in December, front-line health care Teamsters 856 members at Sutter Health Eden Medical Center (EMC) in Castro Valley have ratified a new contract that increases wages and protects hard-fought contract language.

The 140 Teamsters 856 members at EMC include respiratory therapists, lab techs, imaging techs, and other health care professionals who have been on the front lines of the pandemic since its onset last spring.

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Cal State workers negotiate COVID-19 leave pay

Local 2010’s bargaining team for CSU workers negotiated another round of leave benefits for members to help maintain their jobs and livelihoods. Teamsters working at CSU campuses throughout California will now have access to 256 additional paid leave hours for use between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021. This is twice the amount going to other CSU bargaining units that don’t have similar settlement agreements.

“Our union agreed that we are past the emergent phase of COVID-19 and that maintaining all CSU workers’ base pay is critical through the remainder of this pandemic,” said Skilled Trades Director Drew Scott.

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