South Bay Recycling Semi Drivers Ratify New Contract

The 24-member Semi Driver unit, stationed at the Shoreway Environmental Center Transfer Station in San Carlos, unanimously approved their successor collective bargaining agreement with the incoming employer, South Bayside Industries Inc., on Nov. 21, 2023.

Lead negotiator Robert Sandoval said, “Beyond the economic improvements sought by our members, the transition to a new employer inevitably brings a level of uncertainty for the rank and file. Even with a signed Memorandum of Understanding, we aimed to ensure that practices were officially codified, and language protecting our members was strengthened. In the realm of labor negotiations, establishing a collaborative relationship with employers is akin to discovering a hidden gem.”

Sandoval highlighted the positive experience with the clerical unit’s ratification, emphasizing the refreshing approach of a management team that actively sought to understand the intricacies of the facility’s operations through thoughtful questions. Sandoval said, “This serves as a testament and should be an example to corporations: When both sides prioritize the well-being of the workforce and engage in dialogue rather than discord, the collective bargaining unit and work environment thrive. I look forward to continuing that partnership.”
Operationally, the unit plays a crucial role in transporting trash, recyclables, and other materials from all over the Peninsula that get dumped at the transfer station. Once their trailers are loaded, the Teamsters drivers transport these materials to landfills across the Bay Area.

The agreement contains historic wage increases while preserving full maintenance of benefits, enhancements to the pension plan, and additional job protections. The four-member bargaining committee included rank-and-file members John Apodaca (alternate Shop Steward with nine years of service), Mark Lema (a 31-year member), Joey Gomes (Shop Steward and Vice President), and Robert Sandoval (Business Representative).

Brother Apodaca said: “Participating in negotiations for the first time was a valuable experience for me, especially as a relatively new steward. It will undoubtedly enhance my ability to effectively represent my unit. Gaining insight into the strategic aspects and observing how language is crafted during these discussions has been enlightening. Securing a contract that surpasses any in the history of our unit is truly remarkable and positions us exceptionally well for the future. The overall experience has been very positive, and the Local Union representatives exhibited exceptional knowledge, working tirelessly to secure a strong contract that speaks volumes.”