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O’Reilly Auto Parts Workers Win Teamster Representation After Five-Year Battle


For half a decade, workers at a warehouse in Moreno Valley, Calif. have gone without union representation despite voting in favor of joining Teamsters Local 166 in 2010. Now the 65 warehouse workers and drivers of Ozark Automotive Distributors, who stock and deliver supplies to O’Reilly Auto Parts stores, can finally call themselves Teamsters. An election held on Jan. 8 resulted in a majority voting in favor of joining the union.

“This has been an epic fight for these workers and our local but we prevailed at every turn,” said Mike Bergen, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 166 in Bloomington, Calif. “The company fought tooth and nail to prevent the workers from having the Teamster representation they voted for but the workers at the warehouse held strong throughout the five-year saga.”

The workers first reached out to the union after the company changed the pay format from hourly to piecemeal. A majority voted in favor of the union in a 2010 election but the company filed objections with the NLRB. After the NLRB ruled against the company, Ozark took the board’s decision to court, losing one appeal after the other as the case went all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Even after the Supreme Court ruled against it, the company remained obstinate. Local 166 then withdrew several objections it had filed against the company, prompting the NLRB to call for a new election this year. Once again, the workers voted in support of the union, putting an end to the years-long struggle for representation.

“It feels great – it’s such a relief to finally have our union after five long years of sticking together during all the appeals,” said Robert Castilleja, a 6-year driver at the company. “We all hung in there during this battle. Everyone saw through the company’s negative tactics and dishonesty while the union was professional. This is an important victory because it shows that unity and patience can pay off in the end for workers.”

Castilleja added that he and his coworkers are looking forward to negotiating a contract to win better job security, benefits, pensions, and a safer work environment. He said the lack of overtime pay remains an issue for drivers

“Management says we’re professional drivers – well then we deserve professional wages,” Castilleja said.

The workers supply O’Reilly Auto Parts retail stores throughout Southern California. They are employed by Ozark, which does business as O’Reilly Auto Parts.  

“We look forward to negotiating a strong agreement for these workers. They’ve waited long enough and deserve a Teamster contract that addresses their issues and improves their workplace,” said Bergen.