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Teamsters Local 350 Proclamation Day
During the afternoon of October 26, 2021, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors officially declared it Teamsters Local 350 Day. Labor leaders, elected officials and members gathered in front of the Joint Council 7 truck with San Francisco City Hall as the backdrop to commemorate the 85th anniversary of Teamsters Local 350 and to honor the dedicated members with a city proclamation.
Secretary-Treasurer John Bouchard kicked off the Proclamation Day Event by addressing those members in attendance.
“The City is honoring Local 350 today, but what that really means is we’re honoring you – you guys are Local 350, you make this Local what it is!” Bouchard said.
On October 8, 1936, the Sanitary Truck Drivers & Helpers Teamsters Local 350 was officially chartered in San Francisco to represent those members in the refuse industry, which later evolved into the Solid Waste & Recycling Industry. Throughout the decades, with the leadership of Bob Morales and the backing of the Local 350 membership, the jurisdiction of the local union grew from San Francisco County to include San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Benito Counties, making it one of the most prominent waste locals in the country. Local 350 also expanded its representation by organizing clerical units, material handlers, mechanics, equipment operators and any other classification in a collections company.
“This proclamation is a celebration of our 85th anniversary and a testament to the importance of the services provided by Local 350 members for the past eighty-five years. More importantly, it is a celebration of our members; it highlights all the hard work they do and have done, and their contribution to the communities they work in,” Bouchard said.
The event’s program included President of the Board of Supervisors Shamann Walton, Supervisor Aaron Peskin, Supervisor Myrna Melgar, and author of the proclamation, Supervisor Ahsha Safai.
“The Teamsters at Local 350 – essential workers – continued to work during this pandemic, even when folks were working from home, even when some folks did not come in, you took care of our city, and you made sure we had the services that were not disrupted. I want to say that I’m excited to be here, to make sure that we present to you this proclamation as a city, so you understand how much respect, love, and care we have for you and the work that you do…We have your back and we will continue to fight with you…you are celebrated,” Supervisor Shamann Walton said.
Brother Bouchard briefly touched on the current climate and aftermath of the Recology scandal that has impacted the Local 350 members:
“This day of recognition for our members helps change the narrative in San Francisco. It shines a positive light on our members working for Recology, who have been unfairly associated with the corruption scandal in San Francisco. Local 350 members have had no connection to that scandal other than working for one of the involved companies. The reality is that our members have nothing to do with that. In fact, the truth is quite the opposite; Local 350 members are Essential Workers who have worked diligently throughout the entire pandemic, continuing the collection and processing of garbage and recycling without skipping a beat. These essential workers deserve to be respected, acknowledged and appreciated!”
Supervisor Aaron Peskin, a critic of the Recology scandal but an ally to the workers, raised loud cheers and applause from the crowd during his speech:
“You all were essential before you were Super Essential! I just want to say a couple words about Recology…there is some really good light at the end of that tunnel. I hope that when we are done with the reforms – not only will you be honored, but you will be honored with positions on the Board of Directors!”
Author of the proclamation Supervisor Safai also addressed the crowd, showing support for Local 350 members:
“The Board of Supervisors, have your back. You guys get up every day, don’t ask for accolades, don’t ask for applause – you clean the trash, you keep the city clean, and you do it with dignity and all you want is respect. I can tell you that this San Francisco Board of Supervisors respects you one-hundred percent.”