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Local 439 Members Ratify New Contract, Secure First-Ever Pension at Republic Services in Stockton, Calif.


Residential Drivers in Stockton Ratify Excellent New Agreement

(STOCKTON, Calif.) – Teamsters in the private waste and recycling industry continue to win strong contracts. Last week, Local 439 members in Stockton, Calif., voted by an overwhelming 99 percent to ratify a new three-year agreement at Republic Services. The contract agreement was fully recommended by the bargaining committee and includes countless improvements. Most notably, the new agreement will cover the 35-worker unit of residential drivers under the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Plan.

The contract victory follows a hard-fought, months-long battle at the bargaining table. Now, the 35 residential drivers at Republic Services are covered under the Western Conference Teamsters Pension Fund—the first time since the opening of the Stockton waste yard more than 40 years ago.

“This was a team effort from Local 439. It all started with Sal Lomeli and Kenny Gonzalez, who put their heads together and got things started. Together, we stayed strong through 12 rounds of bargaining. We never wavered to get what we were trying to get,” said Sonny Alcala, a residential driver for Republic Services and shop steward at Local 439. “A big part of our success was bringing in Teamsters Waste Division Rep. Larry Daugherty. He was very influential. We also had the Bay Area guys behind us and, of course, there had been lots of pressure on the company from striking Teamsters at Republic in Orange County and San Diego.”

The victory in Stockton follows two high-profile strikes at Republic Services in Southern California, where Local 396 members in Orange County and Local 542 members in San Diego recently secured agreements with the company after standing strong on the picket line. Alcala noted that he and his co-workers were prepared to do the same and came close to striking themselves.

Alcala, who has worked 19 years at Republic Services in Stockton, said the pension means a lot to him and his co-workers. 

“It meant a lot to us, and we knew we couldn’t back down to get it. We also made sure to teach the younger guys the importance of having a pension, and what it would mean for them and their families down the line. Letting them know that winning a pension meant gaining real security,” Alacala said. 

“This was a long, tough fight. It took us 12 rounds of contentious negotiations, but we didn’t flinch. Republic was adamantly against giving these workers a pension, but we were determined to get an excellent agreement. We were ready to strike, and we got very close to going out on the picket line. In the end, the company saw our strength and determination, and knew we weren’t backing down. Everyone was united and, in the end, we won big. This is the first time Republic workers in Stockton will be covered under a Teamster pension,” said Sal Lomeli, principal officer at Local 439. “I want to congratulate our members in Stockton for never backing down to secure this excellent agreement. I also want to thank the bargaining committee for all their hard work.”

In addition to securing the Republic workers with their first-ever pension, Local 439 members also won wage increases and improvements to health care.

“I want to give a big congratulations to Republic workers in Stockton. With the help of local leaders and the Solid Waste and Recycling Division, these workers stood strong in negotiations and were laser-focused on their goals throughout the bargaining process. Securing a Teamster pension was important to this unit, and they never backed down. This agreement was made possible because of determination and unity,” said Chuck Stiles, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste and Recycling Division.

Republic Services is the second-largest trash collection, disposal and landfill corporation America, with facilities in over 40 states. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 7,000 Republic workers nationwide. Teamster members who work for Republic Services are currently in negotiations for new contracts with the company in six locations: San Francisco, San Jose and Richmond, Calif.; Seattle; Pittsburgh; and New Orleans.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.