Teamsters

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D.C. Drivers Organized at Cyber-Grocer Peapod



D.C. Drivers Organized at Cyber-Grocer Peapod

September 27, 2001

Delivery drivers at Peapod have voted, 33-18, to join Teamsters Local 639 in Washington, D.C. The 58 drivers serve the Washington metropolitan area - D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia. Customers place grocery orders online. Peapod drivers deliver out of a central warehouse, located in Gaithersburg, MD.

Peapod is the dot-com subsidiary of Teamsters grocery employer, Giant Foods. Teamsters pick and load merchandise out of Giant warehouses. Teamsters deliver that merchandise to the Peapod warehouse in Gaithersburg. There, Teamsters warehousemen again take charge.

But until Local 639 fought and won a tough organizing campaign, the last link in the distribution chain, delivery to the public, was non-union.

Giant’s Teamsters drivers, delivering to the Peapod warehouse, struck up friendships with the Peapod drivers they met when making deliveries to Gaithersburg. When Local 639 member and Giant Food driver Phil Giles compared notes with a few colleagues, he realized the Peapod drivers were ready to organize. Their shop was rife with discontent about wages, benefits, retirement and favoritism in assigning work shifts and overtime.

“Our Giant drivers proved again that in the Teamsters, every member is an organizer,” said John Gibson, a Local 639 business agent and organizer. “It was tough. The company brought in outside consultants and fought us tooth-and-nail. But in the end, our guys fought back and won.”

In the coming days, Peapod drivers will establish their bargaining priorities and negotiate for their first Teamsters contract. Because they stood together to demand their fair share, these newest Teamsters brothers and sisters can look forward to a brighter, more prosperous future.

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