Costco Teamsters in California, East Region Ratify Contracts : Costco Teamsters covered by two separate contracts for California and the East region have voted to ratify the two agreements. The California agreement passed with 86 percent voting yes and the East region agreement passed with 94 percent voting yes.
Teamsters Union Provides Members Seeking Citizenship With Invaluable Assistance : Teamsters Local 630 has about 7,000 members. They’re warehouse workers, truckers, and food service employees. Nearly 80 percent of the union is Hispanic.
Teamsters Material Specialists Ratify Agreement at Southwest Airlines over 300 Members across the County Covered: With over 90 percent of the bargaining unit participating in the election, Teamsters material specialists voted overwhelmingly to ratify their tentative agreement with Southwest Airlines.
Teamster Locals 174 and 117 Members Prepare for Action at Veritiv Strike Looms as Teamster Members Prepare for Action as Early as April 17: After months of concessionary proposals and stonewalling on the part of the company, Teamsters Local 117 and Local 174 members working at Veritiv now stand on the brink of a strike. The workers, who warehouse and deliver paper, packaging and janitorial supplies throughout the Puget Sound area and beyond, voted unanimously to authorize a strike on December 8.
BLET and SMART TD Support Two-Person Rail Crew Legislation: Two large railroad unions in the United States have pledged their joint support for the Safe Freight Act legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska). The Safe Freight Act (H.R.1748) requires that two certified crew members operate freight trains on U.S. rails and has the backing of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division (SMART TD).
Judges Give Missouri Workers Two More Wins Vs. Radical Right Anti-Union Schemes: State judges in Missouri gave workers there two more wins against anti-union schemes propagated by the radical right, the state’s ruling Republicans and their corporate backers. St. Louis County Judge Joseph Walsh III halted one of the schemes: So-called “paycheck protection” legislation which forces workers, one by one, to decide yearly whether they want union dues automatically deducted from paychecks. Unions call such schemes “paycheck deception.”
Teamsters Win Fired Sysco Worker’s Job Back with Full Pay, Benefits: In another victory against Sysco’s vicious mistreatment of workers, Teamsters Local 528 in Atlanta has won a fired Sysco worker’s job back with full pay and benefits.
United Airlines Mechanic Becomes an Inventor after Losing His Sight: n March 2016, Jimmy’s entire life changed when an accident left him totally blind.
What’s interesting about Jimmy is that his is not just a story about a person overcoming incredible odds to get back on his feet and return to work, but also a story of an individual who took his new circumstance and turned it into something lifechanging for so many others.
Journey to Drive: New Apprenticeship Program Puts More Teamsters behind the Wheel: Anyone who works in trucking or follows the transportation sector knows there is one topic that has dominated the industry in recent years. That topic is the persistent shortage of drivers and how it has plagued carriers nationwide.
Costco Teamsters in California, East Region Ratify Contracts: (WASHINGTON) – Costco Teamsters covered by two separate contracts for California and the East region have voted to ratify the two agreements. The California agreement passed with 86 percent voting yes and the East region agreement passed with 94 percent voting yes.
The contracts include annual wage increases, annual pension contribution increases, improved scheduling and other improvements.
“These contracts will ensure that Costco Teamsters continue to be the highest paid workers in the retail industry, with top-notch benefits and the job security they deserve for themselves and for their families,” said Steve Vairma, Director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division.
The contract will run retroactively from February 1, 2019 through January 31, 2022. The East contract covers Costco workers in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia, while the West contract covers workers in California. Both agreements cover more than 17,000 workers. Voting took place over the past several weeks and votes were tallied today.
Teamsters Union Provides Members Seeking Citizenship With Invaluable Assistance: Teamsters Local 630 has about 7,000 members. They’re warehouse workers, truckers, and food service employees. Nearly 80 percent of the union is Hispanic.Guillermo Flores’ wife is in the union. For years he has lived, worked, and paid taxes in the United States, thanks to a permanent resident status. On Saturday, March 30 he took a major step toward U.S. citizenship because of Local 630. He submitted the N-400 Application for Naturalization. One of his motivations is political. As a permanent resident Flores isn’t allowed to vote. “The more people that could cast their votes and understand the laws or what’s going to go on in the future, I think it’s better for everybody,” said Flores. Flores’ parents brought him straight to California from Mexico. He has two sons and he works for Los Angeles County. He has built a life in America. There are many scams littering the path to American citizenship. The teamsters brought in professional immigration attorneys who check the paperwork. “With this, the teamsters really helping us out here, it’s a lot easier,” said Flores. It’s a lot of build up with an anticlimactic finish. At the end of the day Flores will mail off his papers, then he’ll wait to get an interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Teamsters Material Specialists Ratify Agreement at Southwest Airlines Over 300 Members Across the Country Covered: (WASHINGTON) – With over 90 percent of the bargaining unit participating in the election, Teamsters material specialists voted overwhelmingly to ratify their tentative agreement with Southwest Airlines.
The ratification vote marks the conclusion of negotiations that first began in September of 2013. The collective bargaining agreement covers more than 300 material specialists that deliver, store and stock aircraft parts and are members of Teamsters Locals 19, 104, 210, 455, 769, 781 and 986.
The five-year agreement includes three percent annual wage increases and top out rate of $35 per hour, the highest in the industry for material specialists. It also includes a guarantee that the company will hire more material specialists and a ratification bonus equivalent to 30 percent of each worker’s wages for last year.
“This was a long and tough negotiation, but the SWA Material Specialists Negotiating Committee stood strong to ensure that the members got what they needed in the agreement,” said Teamsters Airline Division International Representative and SWA Negotiating Committee Chairman Bob Fisher.
“I am very pleased that our membership decided to ratify a mutually satisfactory agreement that was reached by union negotiators and Southwest Airlines working cooperatively,” said Capt. David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division.
Teamster Locals 174 and 117 Members Prepare for Action at Veritiv Strike Looms as Teamster Members Prepare for Action as Early as April 17 : (TUKWILA, Wash.) –– After months of concessionary proposals and stonewalling on the part of the company, Teamsters Local 117 and Local 174 members working at Veritiv now stand on the brink of a strike. The workers, who warehouse and deliver paper, packaging and janitorial supplies throughout the Puget Sound area and beyond, voted unanimously to authorize a strike on December 8. The two work groups have been working without a contract since the end of September 2018, as their employer has continued to slow-walk negotiations with the Teamsters. Veritiv management set a negative tone to the negotiations before they even began, by insisting that the two local unions bargain separately rather than jointly for the first time in decades. Leadership of both local unions opted to remain in solidarity by attending all of each other’s negotiating sessions with Veritiv.
Now that both local unions have submitted their 10-day notice to terminate their contracts with Veritiv, economic action is likely as soon as April 17. A strike by Veritiv employees would have a deep impact on local businesses – especially Boeing and UPS, both of whom have large contracts with Veritiv to deliver their paper and packaging products.
“Veritiv management came to the negotiating table with a goal, which was to split us apart and then step on us separately. Today’s actions show they have not been successful at achieving that goal,” said Teamsters Joint Council 28 President Rick Hicks. “We are all standing together and telling Veritiv clearly: they need to bargain in good faith and get our members a fair contract, or we will take our fight to the street.”
BLET and SMART TD Support Two-Person Rail Crew Legislation: WASHINGTON, D.C., March 22, 2019 – Two large railroad unions in the United States have pledged their joint support for the Safe Freight Act legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska).The Safe Freight Act (H.R.1748) requires that two certified crew members operate freight trains on U.S. rails and has the backing of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division (SMART TD). “This is necessary safety legislation to protect railroad workers and the American public,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said. “While the railroad industry talks of one-person train crews and even autonomous trains, the 2013 tragedy of Lac-Megantic is justification enough that we need two sets of eyes and ears in the locomotive cab.” “SMART Transportation Division has been working tirelessly to promote safety in the railroad industry, and there is no doubt that the only safe rail operation is one that includes at a minimum a certified conductor and a certified locomotive engineer,” SMART TD President John Previsich said. “A clear message must be sent to our lawmakers and to the general public that multi-person crews are essential to ensuring the safest rail operations possible in their communities. I would like to thank Congressman Young for his leadership on this critical issue as we continue to improve safety on our nation’s railroads for both our members and for the general public.” To read the complete article, click here.
Judges Give Missouri Workers Two More Wins Vs. Radical Right Anti-Union Schemes: State judges in Missouri gave workers there two more wins against anti-union schemes propagated by the radical right, the state’s ruling Republicans and their corporate backers. St. Louis County Judge Joseph Walsh III halted one of the schemes: So-called “paycheck protection” legislation which forces workers, one by one, to decide yearly whether they want union dues automatically deducted from paychecks. Unions call such schemes “paycheck deception.”Missouri’s “paycheck deception” law, originally HB1413, also forces unions to stand for recertification by members, unit by unit, every three years, with an absolute majority of all workers required to vote “yes” to keep the union. And it bans the right to strike and the right to picket and says anyone doing so can immediately be fired. Taken together, that violates the Missouri Constitution’s right of free speech and its explicit provision, enacted in 1945, that says “employees shall have the right to organize and bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing,” Judge Walsh ruled.
In a footnote, Judge Walsh added the bans on strikes and picketing, and even on paying for “lost time” to handle grievances, all are “a blatant attempt to subject employees to the whims and caprices of management, individual supervisors and other designated representatives… free from the obligation to bargain in good faith.”
HB1413, he said, “does not even give an illusion of collective bargaining.” Meanwhile, Cole County Judge Jon Beetem stopped a state law, originally SB1007, making every state and local worker an “at will” employee, liable to immediate firing, even for no reason at all, union contract or no. The latter law also let bosses give out so-called “merit raises” to their favorites. Cole County includes the state capital of Jefferson City. Both halts are temporary, pending full judicial hearings on both laws. The GOP-dominated and heavily gerrymandered state legislature passed both measures almost precisely three years before the two judges halted them in early March 2019, according to the Teamsters, the Missouri Education Association and other sources. The two laws were scheduled to take effect last August, but the unions’ suits halted them, just as union-led petitions halted Missouri’s so-called right-to-work law, until Show Me State voters killed it that same month by a 2-to-1 ratio.
Both laws, plus right-to-work, are part of a nationwide package of union-busting measures, designed to strip workers of all rights. Not coincidentally, they’re all pushed in GOP-run states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a secretive corporate-funded cabal. ALEC is dedicated to establishing business hegemony, nationwide, state by state. Its key tactic: Destroy the opposition, especially unions.
The 32,500-member Missouri National Education Association led seven unions in suing last August to stop the paycheck deception law, HB1413. The other unions, combined, represent just over 1,000 state and local workers, most of them – 828 – as Service Employees Local 1 members among state corrections officers, Mental Health Department workers and Veterans Commission workers.
“This is another attempt by legislators backed by corporate interests to attack our right to speak up about the student needs, class-size, wages and benefits,” Lori Sammelmann, an instructional coach in the Ferguson-Florissant school district in the St. Louis suburbs, said in an NEA release after the suit was filed.
Her district’s NEA local was one of the other five unions which sued. Also joining in were the Hazelwood Association of Support Personnel, Laborers Local 42, which represents 20 Bel-Ridge police officers, Operating Engineers Local 148, and Teamsters Local 610, which represents 36 fire fighters in Afton and 21 police in Crestwood. “Paycheck deception would require public employees in unions to opt in each year for dues to be taken out of their paychecks,” the Teamsters said in reporting Walsh’s ruling. “It is meant as a means to reduce the size of unions and dilute their collective bargaining power.”
“Unions took similar issue with a law that stripped state workers of their civil service protections. Missouri’s government, in practice, took the law even further by refusing to honor collective bargaining agreements that covered thousands of state workers.” “Luckily, the court” – Judge Beetem – “found there is nothing about at-will employment that denies workers their right to collectively bargain under the state constitution. It said the state must be sincere in negotiating all terms and conditions of employment with their bargaining units.” Even though the right will appeal the rulings, “It is encouraging to see judges put limits on policies that hamper the ability of union members to join together,” the Teamsters concluded.
Teamsters Win Fired Sysco Worker’s Job Back with Full Pay, Benefits: In another victory against Sysco’s vicious mistreatment of workers, Teamsters Local 528 in Atlanta has won a fired Sysco worker’s job back with full pay and benefits. The worker, Kip Cortez, a forklift operator with 26 years at Sysco, was fired last October. However, an arbitrator ruled earlier this month that Sysco violated Cortez’s rights and wrongfully fired him.
Cortez, a Local 528 and chief union steward, was wrongfully fired after the company alleged he failed to follow directions. The company also alleged he failed to perform his job adequately. “…the Company lacked just cause to discharge [Cortez] for failure to follow instructions/job performance, and the discipline cannot be upheld due to a serious violation of industrial due process,” Arbitrator Kathryn Durham wrote.
The company failed to give Cortez a fair chance to explain his side of the story. “…[Cortez] was entitled to be confronted with the charges against him and given an opportunity to give his side of the story in the face of those charges. The fact that this did not happen is a serious breach of industrial due process rights which, by itself, warrants overturning the discipline,” the arbitrator wrote.
Local 528 argued that Sysco was unfairly targeting the worker because of his leadership as a chief union steward. The arbitrator agreed there was evidence of retaliation. Witnesses testified that managers said they planned “to get rid of” Cortez just weeks before the union began negotiations for its first successor agreement. Local 528’s first contract with Sysco expires March 31. “…there are serious undertones, if not outright proof, that Company officials had specifically mentioned wanting to get of the Grievant…,” the arbitrator wrote. “[I am] again uneasy with the heavy overtones of targeting and retaliation considering the less-than-explicit proof of a rule that the Grievant violated.”
Cortez said he appreciates Local 528’s efforts to win his job back.
“Local 528 didn’t blink an eye when it came to fighting for me,” Cortez said. “We had all the evidence and Sysco didn’t have any evidence. The company couldn’t even say for sure what they fired me for. They changed their story several times.”
“We’re pleased that the arbitrator ruled in our member’s favor and saw that the company was wrong,” Local 528 President Maurice Cobb said. “Justice is served, and we will continue to fight on behalf of all our members at Sysco who face mistreatment at the hands of Sysco.
United Airlines Mechanic Becomes an Inventor after Losing His Sight: In March 2016, Jimmy’s entire life changed when an accident left him totally blind. What’s interesting about Jimmy is that his is not just a story about a person overcoming incredible odds to get back on his feet and return to work, but also a story of an individual who took his new circumstance and turned it into something lifechanging for so many others.
“I had to be retaught everything,” said Jimmy. “There was a point when I wanted to give up, but I decided success was my only option, failure was not.”
Jimmy credits his family and friends for reminding him that he was still alive and he was still the same person he was before he lost his sight.
In September 2016, Jimmy went to the Vista Center — a nonprofit that among other things, teaches blind or visually impaired individuals orientation and mobility skills. Jimmy says staff at the Vista Center noticed how motivated he was to relearn and regain his independence and put him in contact with Project Invent at the Nueva School — a private school in San Mateo.
Part of the goal of Project Invent is to help high school students invent technologies to solve real-world problems. Students at the Nueva School wanted to develop a belt that would help prevent blind people from veering — an issue Jimmy understood very well.
“I used to walk to my local grocery store and barber shop, which were three blocks away from my house,” explained Jimmy. “I want to be independent, but as a blind person I can’t walk a straight line and doctors say veering can’t be fixed.”
Jimmy worked with the students at the Vista Center to create a prototype of the Stria Belt.
“There’s a zipper on the belt with motors on each side that vibrate,” Jimmy continued. “I switch the belt on and the two motors vibrate and set the straight pattern. The second I begin to veer, the belt vibrates on one side until I stop veering.”
After their success at the Nueva School, Jimmy worked with Project Invent founder, Connie Lu, at a camp for students at East Palo Alto Academy. Jimmy talked to the kids about the problems he had with his walking stick and they all got to work.
Together, they developed a prototype of a walking stick that uses flashing LED lights, tactile feedback, and shock absorbance to help users navigate safely and painlessly.
“I take everything as a blessing,” said Jimmy. “The Stria Belt won the top prize at South by Southwest’s Student Startup competition and Project Invent is now in eight states and over 16 countries.”
“Everything happened to me for a reason and I think that reason was Project Invent,” he continued.
On top of helping students develop award-winning technologies that will improve the lives of people with disabilities, Jimmy was also focused on getting back to work.
“There was a point in time when I was bedridden that I would wake up and rip everything off and say I needed to get to work,” he said.
The Teamsters Member Assistance Program (TMAP) offers United Airlines Teamsters with help when they need assistance with issues like getting back to work after an injury or illness.
“Our TMAP team communicated at different times with United to make sure the company was willing to go forward with getting Jimmy back to work,” said TMAP Coordinator Steve Loone. “We were there to be cheerleaders for Jimmy.”
The Teamsters contract with United Airlines provided Jimmy time to prove he could perform his work as a mechanic.
“I did the evaluation and even shocked myself,” said Jimmy who was able to return to work last June. “If you’d asked me a year and a half ago if I thought I’d be back at work, I would have said no.”
Before losing his sight, Jimmy worked on jet bridges, ground power, and locksmith work. “Now I do benchwork,” he explained. “I am brought electric motors, clutch brakes, and gearbox reducers for the back system to rebuild and overhaul.”
For Jimmy, transitioning to this new phase in his life has been about not allowing the smallest or the biggest things to bring him down. “I know this won’t be my hardest battle,” he said about being blind. “I also know I want to build something that will last forever. I think that’s why I’m here.”
Jimmy wanted to give a special thank you to the people who have helped him since he lost his sight: his parents, his brothers, and the surgeons to which he owes his life; Valerie Campos who trained him on using his walking stick; Cathy Abbott, Bill Quirke, Jeff Sanchez, Ed Tanaupol, Andrea Charles, and everyone in his department at United Airlines; and all of his friends and union family. Teamsters 856/986 shop stewards, Greg Sullivan and Steve Loone also advocated tirelessly on Jimmy’s behalf.
Journey to Drive: New Apprenticeship Program Puts More Teamsters behind the Wheel: Anyone who works in trucking or follows the transportation sector knows there is one topic that has dominated the industry in recent years. That topic is the persistent shortage of drivers and how it has plagued carriers nationwide.
According to the American Trucking Association, the Less Than Truckload (LTL) turnover rate jumped from 10 percent to 14 percent last year, hitting its highest point since 2013. The shortage is impacting commerce as some companies have reportedly been forced to turn away orders due to a lack of drivers.
While the effects of deregulation are largely to blame for the decline in drivers, as fewer workers are attracted to the harsh demands of the job, the shortage has led to all kinds of proposed solutions including the use of new technology to fill the gap in the labor supply.
But there is another remedy, and it draws from centuries-old practices in the skilled trades: the apprenticeship. Today, Teamsters are paving a new road for countless workers who want to build careers in the transportation industry.
Teamsters have developed a number of apprenticeship programs at locals and Joint Councils, especially in the construction industry, but the new Teamsters Apprenticeship Program is the first national effort by the union that is focused on the transportation industry.
“This program is designed to promote the craft and train people to build strong middle-class careers in the transportation industry,” said Lamont Byrd, Director of the Teamsters Safety and Health Department. “It’s also about getting more members, and young members in particular, to be more engaged in the union as they enter the workforce. The driver shortage is a real problem in the industry and we believe this program offers a unique solution.”
Since it was launched in 2015, more than 240 CDL-A apprentices have been trained in the program. The goal is to train more than a thousand dock worker/drivers in five years.
“This program is really what the Teamsters are all about: bringing workers into the middle class,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “We are fighting to keep the truck driving profession alive in this country and I commend our Safety and Health Department, local unions and other partners who are making this apprenticeship program a success.”
The Safety and Health Department worked closely with ABF as well as the Teamsters Freight Division to put together the curriculum of the apprenticeship program.
“Apprenticeships are important to skilled trades and that’s just as true in the freight industry,” said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Freight Division. “This training program is really a major step for our union, working together with employers to strengthen the industry and create great opportunities for workers in this field.”
DOL Certified: Like many freight companies, ABF has been hit by the driver shortage. So the company turned to the Teamsters for help in bringing new drivers on board.
Combining hands-on experience and classroom theory, the Teamster program was born out of this need for drivers and it is based on a concept that goes back to the Middle Ages. Indeed, the apprentice-journeyman system is not new, but what makes the Teamsters Apprenticeship Program different is that it focuses on two professions not normally associated with apprenticing: CDL drivers and dock workers. In fact, the program is the first in the U.S. that recognizes dock work as an “apprentice able” professional craft.
An apprentice is trained on the job and gets paid while they learn the profession. But a program built for CDL drivers and dockworkers required certification with the Department of Labor (DOL). In early 2018, the Teamsters Safety and Health Department achieved that certification for CDL drivers. This was followed by the most recent certification achieved by the Teamsters earlier this year, which recognized dock work as an “apprenticeable” craft.
The structure of the program is based on targeting three groups: transitioning military personnel, high school graduates and current dock workers. While servicemembers returning to the civilian workforce are placed on an accelerated track for CDL training, incumbent dock workers are placed on a track to upgrade to CDL. Meanwhile, high school graduates who are too young for their CDL licenses are trained to become dock workers until they are 21 and eligible for CDL training.
Each of these apprenticeship tracks leads to a year of on-the-job supervision following CDL training until the Teamster apprentices are considered full-fledged journey workers in the CDL driver profession.
“The high school graduate component is important,” Byrd explained. “Instead of losing a new generation of potential drivers who go to other jobs since they aren’t old enough for CDLs, the program is geared toward bringing these young folks into the industry at an earlier stage and putting them on a path to becoming drivers.”
In addition to ABF and DOL, Teamsters have partnered with community organizations focused on outreach to disadvantaged communities in order to recruit young workers into the apprenticeship program.
At 18 years old, an apprentice dock worker is registered with the DOL when they enter the program. Their progress is closely monitored by instructors who themselves are trained as part of the program. After 144 hours of dock operation training, they go through 2,690 hours of supervised work experience. Once they are of age, they begin training to upgrade to a CDL. This involves another 240 hours to train for their CDL-A licenses, followed by another 2,690 hours of work experience.
The apprentices are selected by the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, which oversees the program and is comprised of representatives from the union and the employer. The Teamsters secured federal grant funding to support the development of the apprenticeship program, which will be sustained by employer contributions. And the union is also looking to apply for state-level grants to further support the effort.
New Blood: A checklist…that’s how some current dock workers at ABF described the extent of their training before the Teamsters Apprenticeship Program was introduced. That checklist is now a 157-page manual, written by the Teamsters Safety and Health Department in consultation with the company.
The curriculum covers dock worker safety, forklift operations, load securement and hazmat training, among other areas. Once completed, the fully trained dock worker who is old enough may begin the CDL program, which includes vehicle inspection training, spatial awareness, hours of service regulations, hazmat transportation regulations, driver medical requirements and more.
The Teamsters’ DOL dock worker training manual is the first such handbook ever developed for the dock worker profession. But beyond the detailed curriculum, the program is unique in its methodology of addressing a persistent conundrum in the transportation sector.
“With the problem of an aging driver workforce, we are trying to capture the talent and skills of young workers and inject new blood into the transportation industry,” Byrd said.
“You have young people on the one hand who are trained to do the work and, on the other hand, you have companies that are struggling to find drivers. The apprenticeship program is building a bridge between the two,” added Chee Chang, a program manager with the Teamsters Safety and Health Department who manages the worker trainings and helped design the program.
Or course, it takes more than rigorous training materials to make the program effective. Just as important are the instructors, all of whom are rank-and-file members who are trained in the program to become high-quality trainers. Candidates for instructor training are identified by local unions and the company.
“It’s important to make a good connection with younger folks so they can carry on the work and keep this industry going,” said James Mullens, a 24-year ABF dock worker and member of Local 957 in Dayton, Ohio. Mullens joined more than a dozen other ABF dock workers at a training at Local 776 in Harrisburg, Pa. in March to sharpen his skills as instructor to new dock worker apprentices.
“I wish we had this program when I started 24 years ago because this is a really different approach and I think it will help bring more young people into this work,” Mullens said.
But it’s not just about the old teaching the young. Lindsay Mandelik, who has been working on the docks at ABF in Dayton for just five years, also attended the “Train the Trainer” event in Harrisburg.
“This program really got me thinking more about how we talk about the union with new hires and figure out better ways of teaching people who are just starting in the industry. And with the outreach at job fairs and high schools, I think it can help lead to a better recruitment system for dock workers and show that this is actually a good job with good benefits,” Mandelik said.
“These trainings definitely give me more confidence to create a lesson plan to teach the new guys what they need to know to build a future in the industry,” said Gregory Allen, a 26-year ABF dock worker who also took part in the Harrisburg training.
As they discussed load securement principles and participated in classroom exercises using props to visualize the proper loading in cargo, staff from the Safety and Health Department was on hand at the training to facilitate the learning process. A company representative from ABF also attended the event, along with Dr. Ricky Godbolt, the DOL Apprenticeship and Training Representative who worked with the union to secure certification of the program.
“This program is so much more in-depth than any training these guys have had,” said Dave Wolf, the Local 776 business agent who represents many of the members at the Harrisburg training. “I think it’s going to make a huge difference when they bring this information and this approach to training back to the jobsite to teach apprentices.”
By turning back to the practices of earlier generations, Teamsters may help turn back the trend of the driver shortage and jumpstart a new generation of union truck drivers.