In an important victory, a unit of 60 Home Depot drivers recently joined the Local 287 in San Diego. They are the first Home Depot employees to join the union. These drivers have faced an uphill battle the last several years while the company they worked for changed hands several times before ultimately being bought by Home Depot more than a year ago.
“We were bopped around by different companies with low pay and nobody wanted to help,” said Eddie Salazar, a Home Depot delivery driver and new Local 287 member. “When Home Depot bought us, we thought things were going to change but they stayed the same. We’ve heard it all already and we needed to keep pushing.”
Some of the issues that pushed these drivers to organize was a lack of order regarding seniority, vacation, designated routes and extra work.
Home Depot was attempting to change the way drivers could schedule vacation days and attempting to remove two holidays from drivers during the busy holiday season.
“They keep telling us that we’re the face of the company, that we’re a vital part and forward-facing part of the business, but this company never wanted to do anything to help us out,” Salazar said.
Richard Sanchez, a transportation driver at Home Depot, was a former UPS driver and Local 287 member. His experiences there were instrumental in getting the organizing campaign going and making it a success.
“I was a part-timer at UPS for seven years. I was familiar with the Teamsters and Local 287 and knew how it worked. We needed to get them in here because with the union you’re protected,” Sanchez said.
“We started organizing before Home Depot bought us, we kept those efforts going and Home Depot tried to union bust us,” Salazar said.
Despite Home Depot’s efforts to discourage their organizing efforts, drivers were persistent in their mission.
“The union explained to us what the company was going to do and say and then it happened exactly as they said it would. We laughed when it happened and that’s what made us push even more,” Salazar said.
“They brought in union busters. They rode in our trucks and did ride-alongs trying to convince us we didn’t need the Teamsters, but we outsmarted them,” Sanchez said.
The persistence of these drivers paid off with an election victory, becoming members of Local 287 and overwhelmingly ratifying their first contract.
“Home Depot did everything they could to drag out these negotiations,” said Jerry Sweeney, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 287. “I’m proud of these guys and their tenacity and determination to move forward and not allow the company to walk all over them. They’re a wonderful addition to the Local 287 family.”