Political Director’s Report

California Teamsters take on Sacramento to call for end to worker misclassification

Teamsters from more than 15 local unions within California Joint Councils 7 and 42 took part in a hearing and lobby day in Sacramento in support of legislation to help end misclassification. The Lobby Day was sponsored by the California Labor Federation.

In April, the California Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. vs Superior Court of Los Angeles, referred to as “Dynamex,” simplified the test for determining whether a worker is classified as an employee for minimum wage and overtime protections.

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Joint Council 7 goes big — and wins big — in November election

The merger of Joint Councils 7 and 38 in 2010 united more than 100,000 Teamsters in 23 local unions covering a vast territory—50 of California’s 58 counties and all of Northern Nevada. Despite this, our 2010 endorsement list was only two pages long. We made endorsements in most of the federal and statewide races, but at the local level – city councils, county boards of supervisors, school boards, and ballot measures – we mostly stayed out.

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Technology and the future of trucking—more reasons Teamsters do politics

This month, Working Partnerships USA and the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education released a groundbreaking report entitled “Driverless? Autonomous Trucks and the Future of the American Trucker.”  The author is Steve Viscelli, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania who also spent time as a long-haul truck driver. He captured that experience in a book called The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream. Steve presented his report findings and signed copies of his book at our Joint Council seminar in June.

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Keeping health care prices down—another good example of why Teamsters do politics

For the fifth year in a row, the availability and affordability of health care topped the list of concerns in a nationwide Gallup poll conducted in May.  Health care ranked higher on the list than crime and violence, the economy, unemployment, the quality of the environment, and many other issues.

This should be no surprise to any Teamster.  The rising cost of healthcare is front-and-center in every contract we negotiate, eating away at money we could otherwise put into raises and our pensions.

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Automation will impact jobs; how much is up to us

In the past few months, the issues around automation and driverless trucks have become a major focus for Joint Council 7. You may ask why Teamsters should care about automation. The answer is the potential “robot apocalypse.” Some people estimate upwards of four million transportation workers will lose their jobs to automation in the next 5-20 years. Whether and how that happens  will depend on how our employers and our union act on the issue of automation.

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Looking Back and Looking Forward

With changes at the leadership level here at Joint Council 7, now is a good time to look back on all that was accomplished under the leadership of our former Joint Council President, Rome Aloise, and to look forward as well.

In 2009, when Rome Aloise took over as President, Teamsters in Northern California were divided. In the Bay Area and on the Coast, Teamsters were part of Joint Council 7. Local Unions in the Central Valley,

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