(WASHINGTON) – Drivers with Ryder Integrated Logistics at three California locations have voted to join the Teamsters Union, gaining representation for 105 workers in one week.
The drivers in Orange, Riverside and Fontana, Calif., united to improve wages, health insurance, working conditions and treatment on the job.
There are 84 drivers in Riverside and nine drivers in Fontana who are now members of Teamsters Local 166 in Bloomington, Calif., and 12 drivers in Orange, Calif. who have joined Teamsters Local 952, also located in Orange.
“We wanted to make changes, to get respect, dignity and a union,” said Victor Medina, a 15-year driver in Orange. “We are good, professional drivers and things need to be better for us.”
The drivers united over changes by the company to the wage structure, which meant working more hours for less pay; excessive health insurance costs for individuals and families; and how they feel they are treated at work.
“It’s embarrassing what has been done to us. Instead of having a raise after six years working here, they dropped our rates. I like my job, but we deserve respect. That’s why we wanted to join the Teamsters,” said Alejandro Diaz, a driver from Riverside.
Junior Hernandez, a Ryder driver who works in Fontana, heard about the Teamsters through his brother, who is a member.
“It’s a great organization and the mechanics here are Teamsters. I want to be part of that team,” Hernandez said.
Teamsters Local 495 in West Covina, Calif., represents about 350 Ryder mechanics throughout Southern California and Las Vegas, and has represented them for 40 years.
Patrick Kelly, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 952, welcomed the drivers to the Teamsters, noting a recent surge in organizing.
“The Teamsters Union has a solution to income inequality for workers. It’s called organizing,” Kelly said. “Workers are seeing the opportunity to step up and organize.”
Mike Bergen, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 166, congratulated the new Teamster members at Ryder on their efforts.
“The battle to organize is never easy and you have to stay united, performing the goals to change your working conditions,” Bergen said. “I’m proud of Local 166, Local 952 and Local 495 working together. When we work together, we can be strong.”
“The International Union, Joint Council 42 and local unions have come together, and have done a great job of helping these workers who need a union to organize,” said Randy Cammack, President of Teamsters Joint Council 42 based in Pomona, Calif.
The drivers also had the support of the Southern California chapter of the Teamsters National Black Caucus and the California Teamsters Hispanic Caucus.
Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.