JC7: United and building power to win for workers

Joint Council 7 continues our work to unify and strengthen our union to meet the challenges ahead.  Our Joint Council comprises 20 powerful local unions across Northern California and Nevada, representing 100,000 hardworking Teamsters in every industry. When we stand in unity, we have the power to win strong contracts, fair wages and working conditions for working people. Great challenges lie ahead in the coming year – our fight to win strong contracts at UPS and many other employers; to take on Amazon to protect our jobs; to organize thousands of workers into the union, and more.  

That’s why, coming off the election in our international union, our Joint Council has been focused on building unity of action, and strengthening our union in every area of our work— from organizing, to communications, to political action, to representation, to training—so we will be even more effective in winning for workers.  

Our strategic planning process has continued, as the leaders of all the Joint Council locals gathered in August to review every aspect of our work as a union and to put together a strategic plan to increase our strength and effectiveness. 

Joint Council 7 locals continue to organize new members into the union. Local 350 organized the mechanics at San Francisco Scavenger.  Local 665 brought in drivers, mechanics, and dispatchers at Transdev Transportation to the union.  Local 2010 welcomed over 100 University of California Patient Navigators and Library Professionals into the Teamsters. Workers in the Facebook mailroom, employed by Canon Business Services, are standing strong with Local 853 to win their union, in the face of vicious union-busting. 

Our Joint Council continues to take on Amazon, one of the richest and most anti-union corporations in history, whose expansion is an existential threat to our core industries and every good union job. Together we have opposed Amazon’s efforts to expand its unsafe, exploitative operations in our jurisdiction, successfully blocking 12 projects through political action and community support.   

Now, for the first time, Joint Council 7 has brought on a full-time Amazon organizer, in coordination with the international union.  Our new organizer, Alejandro Negrete, has the experience and the drive necessary to build on our successes in challenging Amazon.  Already, we are moving to pass legislation in Fresno to block Amazon’s plans to build new non-union facilities there.  Our Joint Council will continue to take the lead in blocking Amazon from expanding its non-union high-tech sweatshop operations in our jurisdiction. If Amazon wants to build new facilities, we will demand that they create good union jobs—not non-union poverty jobs—in our communities. 

We won a victory at UPS, as the company reinstated the Market Rate Adjustments (MRA) in parts of Northern California, reversing the pay cuts to part-timers that UPS imposed a few months ago. This win came after Joint Council 7  locals took action together to rally and picket across Northern California in protest of the pay cuts, joined by brothers and sisters around the country.  The fight continues until all MRA’s across the country are reinstated, and we are gearing up for the big fight for a strong UPS contract next year!  

Joint Council 7 continued to flex our political muscle for workers’ rights in California, sending an unprecedented seven Teamster bills to the Governor’s desk.  These bills protect and expand our members’ rights in every industry. We also won a big legal victory before the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the rights of truck drivers to be classified as employees, with all of the legal rights that entails, rather than to be misclassified and exploited as “independent contractors.”

We are continuing to build our communications program in Joint Council 7, to make sure that we are effectively communicating with our members on every platform where they can be found: print, internet, social media, text message, and beyond. We created new Joint Council 7 social media pages and began a series of trainings to make sure that all of our Local Union communicators are trained and ready to talk to our members on every platform.  

After three years of hiatus due to the pandemic, we restarted our Joint Council 7 Day at the Ballpark, and it was the biggest and best one yet, as over 4,000 Teamster members came together for the A’s-Giants game, and a pregame Teamster tailgate with great food, drink, and solidarity! 

Joint Council 7 has made great strides this year, and we will continue to build our unity and our strength to win more victories for working people.  

Jason Rabinowitz, President