California Waste Solutions members ratify new contract

On April 19, 2022, the 72 drivers and mechanics at California Waste Solutions (CWS) in San Jose voted nearly unanimously to ratify their new collective bargaining agreement.

“I thank the members at CWS for their patience through the long process. They trusted their local to get the best deal possible for them, with language improvements and an economic package that bridges the gap between neighboring counties,” said Local 350 President Sergio Arranaga. “A special thanks to Larry Daugherty; his institutional knowledge of this industry in the South Bay ensured that our members improved on the working conditions to which our long-time members are accustomed.”

The negotiating committee included four rank and file members: George Salamida, Moon Schwenke, Ricardo Sanchez, and Mike Albert, who collectively have over 100 years of experience in the industry. 

“The company dragged out the talks, sending people to negotiations who couldn’t make decisions,” said George Salamida, a 41-year veteran. “However, our committee did a great job increasing the pension and getting us a good raise while not allowing any takeaways.” 

Vice-President and IBT Solid Waste Division Rep Daugherty, who led the talks, expressed the importance of codifying worker protection language in the agreement. “A lot has happened in this industry since we held our last talks in 2014. In addition to a great economic package and full maintenance of benefits, there would not have been a deal if we did not get the language and application of practices in writing.”

“This is my fourth time in negotiations, and it’s always tough,” added 27-year member Moon Schwenke. “I am very proud of this deal. We made progress in every important aspect of the CBA—from disability protections to tool and boot allowances, and more. We didn’t give anything up and we were able to negotiate substantial wage and pension increases. That’s why the vote was almost unanimous!”