Unanimous Contract

Locals 79 and 947 recently ratified a three-year statewide contract for drivers at Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits in Fort Myers and Jacksonville, Fla.

Less than a year after organizing, the contract was ratified on January 27, 2018, proving that having good relationships with other local unions and employers plays a fundamental role in the negotiating process.

“This is a great example of using our relationships with other local unions and employers to get a great first contract!” said John Sholtes, Trustee and Business Agent for Local 79 in Tampa, Fla. “These members followed our lead with adhering to the Teamsters organizing model, and it paid off in the end. They won seniority rights and other protection language, along with a great pension plan too!”

The members from both locations voted unanimously (25-0 in Jacksonville and 21-0 in Fort Myers) for the three-year contract that consists of higher wages, better pensions and health care, an increase in benefits and job security through seniority, among other benefits.

“We were having pay and favoritism issues and we wanted to be union, and a couple of different unions approached us,” said Joe Lawson, a driver at Southern Glazer in Jacksonville. “After talking to Donny (Connell, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 947), we knew the way to go was with the Teamsters. And they made the negotiation process so simple and smooth for us. It was a great experience.”

Throughout the entire process, the Teamster locals engaged the members on Facebook, by text and emails to keep them informed on the progress of the negotiations and any important news.

“It was a tough battle but being able to negotiate and secure a three-year contract that guarantees the workers health care, retirement, pay raises, new pensions and job security, was worth the fight,” Connell said.

“This is a great victory to show unity, a great victory for Teamsters in a right-to-work state and a great victory for Teamsters everywhere,” said Russell Payne, President of Local 947. “The teamwork from this joint campaign inspired me.”