Avis Budget Group
Employees at Avis Budget Group in El Paso, Texas voted unanimously to become Teamsters recently.
“This is a proud day for Local 745,” said Brent Taylor, Secretary-Treasurer of Dallas-based Local 745. “We look forward to negotiating a fair contract for these workers.”
There are 22 new members in the unit, including service agents, airport shuttlers and customer service representatives.
Following a six-month organizing effort, 140 warehouse workers, drivers and other employees at Wismettac Asian Foods voted on September 19 to join Local 630 in Los Angeles. The vote count was 75-22 in favor of union representation.
“I joined this fight because I want a voice at work with respect and dignity,” said Tim Ho, a warehouse worker who has been working at Wismettac for 26 years.
Workers at Wismettac have been attempting to organize for nearly 20 years in pursuit of respect from management, better wages and benefits, and fair work rules.
Two previous efforts to win union representation failed and workers were frustrated when the company did not deliver on promised improvements.
The latest campaign was launched when workers began organizing with Local 630 in April.
Skilled trades workers with the State Employees Trades Council (SETC-United) voted to affiliate with Local 2010 in August.
More than 1,000 workers from across California voted, with 75 percent voting in favor of the joining the Teamsters.
The new group includes over 1,400 electricians, elevator mechanics, plumbers, facilities workers and other skilled trades workers from UC Merced, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara and 22 campuses in the California State University system.
“Becoming part of the Teamsters was an easy decision,” said Sean Kerkoff, a plumber at UC Santa Barbara. “I am proud to be part of such a powerful organization with an unwavering commitment to its members.”
A group of 29 workers at Canteen Vending have voted to join Local 810 in Long Island City, N.Y. The new members work as vending drivers, vending helpers, pantry drivers, pantry helpers and warehouse helpers. The vote was 22–6 in favor of voting to join the union.
The workplace started out as Champion Vending but it was bought by Canteen Vending in August 2016. Local 810 already has a collective bargaining agreement with another Canteen Vending location, so when Champion was bought out, they saw an opportunity.
“Some of the main reasons the workers wanted to join was to attain better working conditions and benefits,” said Mike Smith, President of Local 810. “They know that most of the workers in this industry are union and are making more money.”
More than 90 percent of the workers signed authorization cards. On March 17, they walked into management’s office with a letter demanding union recognition. The company refused to recognize the union, but two weeks later, the successful election took place.
Delivery drivers working for Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits in Fort Myers, Fla., have voted to join Local 79, Tampa. The majority of the 30-driver unit voted in favor of joining the union.
“Being a Teamster is going to make a big difference on the job for us at Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits,” said Enrique Vasquez, a driver.
“We are working now to negotiate their first contract,” said John Sholtes, business agent at Local 79. “The priorities will be fair route assignments, fair pay and improved benefits.”
Fifty school bus monitors working for Niagara Falls Coach Lines voted to join Local 264. The final vote was 41-2 in favor of joining the union.
Leonard Averhart is a monitor that has been with company since October. After seeing the benefits other union drivers received, and hearing that over the years his co-workers had expressed interest in joining the union, he decided to get involved in the organizing drive.
“At first, we had a small committee, but we grew quickly,” Averhart said. “We kept having meetings, and as we got larger, I could see that we were getting more hopeful and excited, and we had more momentum. The struggle has made us stronger and it made us bond more as a group.”
“Many of these new members, they had to carpool, walk or take public transportation to get to the vote tally, but almost everyone found a way to personally come and find out the final result of the election,” said Darrin Ziemba, business agent and Recording Secretary for the local. “When we found out the result of the election, a lot of folks were so happy they were shedding tears of joy.”