After a months-long fight that included layoffs, election challenges by the company, and several unfair labor practice charges filed by the union, on February 16, 2021, 22 Sierra Transport LLC drivers based in Bakersfield voted to join Teamsters Local 87.
“This huge victory was won despite the pandemic and the Trump NLRB,” says Secretary-Treasurer John Moralez. “Clearly, the Sierra drivers really wanted union representation because they stood strong through all kinds of employer shenanigans.”
The Settlement Stipulation includes returning the five laid-off employees to work and ensuring that the employer pays out more than $76,000 in back wages to those who were wrongfully laid off. “Now our challenge is to get the drivers a good first contract,” Moralez adds.
In February, the four employees at AAVA Dental in Bakersfield also voted to join the Local and, in November, they ratified their first contract. “These new members will now enjoy Teamster benefits,” Moralez says.
Local 87 is still in negotiations with XPO Freight Logistics for a first contract for the 19 drivers based in Bakersfield.
“We have a strong group and they are holding their ground as the talks grind on,” says Moralez, who adds that the union has signed an MOU for a wage increase and has agreed to an interim grievance procedure.
As a result of the union drive in Bakersfield, the company has made some minor improvements for drivers in nearby locations who are not yet part of the union. “Our union supporters see right through those short-term bribes; they are focused on bargaining power and longevity,” Moralez adds.