(SAN JOSE, Calif.) – Members of Teamsters Local 350 recently voted, nearly unanimously, in favor a new contract at California Waste Solutions (CWS). The agreement contains countless improvements and covers 72 drivers and mechanics who provide residential curbside recycling services throughout San Jose, Calif.
“I would first like to thank the members at CWS for being patient through this entire process. They trusted their local union to make sure we got the best deal possible with language improvements and an economic package that bridges the gap between neighboring counties,” said Sergio Arranaga, Teamsters Local 350 President. “A special thanks to Brother Larry Daugherty of the Solid Waste and Recycling Division for his institutional knowledge and being a historian of this industry in the South Bay.”
The negotiating committee included four rank-and-file members, George Salamida, Moon Schwenke, Ricardo Sanchez and Mike Albert. These members collectively have more than 100 years of experience in the industry.
“The company dragged out negotiations for a long time and sent in people who couldn’t make decisions,” said Salamida, a 41-year veteran in the waste and recycling industry. “But our committee did a great job of not allowing any takeaways while still getting money into our pensions and a good raise.”
The last time CWS workers in San Jose were at the negotiating table was in 2014, when they ratified a seven-year deal that had set the standard at the time.
“A lot has happened in this industry since 2014, and we have an obligation to protect our members. There wouldn’t have been a deal without getting the language and application of practices in writing—in addition to the economic package and full maintenance of benefits,” said Larry Daugherty, Local 350 Vice President and Teamsters Solid Waste and Recycling Division Representative.
Daugherty, who led negotiations, also expressed the importance of codifying worker protection language and practices for the CWS unit to prevent future attacks on workers from corporate executives, noting that CWS terminated their negotiator mid-negotiations and hired a new human resources consultant who attempted to change the intent of the language to which they had already agreed.
Moon Schwenke, a 27-year member of Local 350, said that he went into the long-awaited negotiations with a clear mindset – pushing for what’s best for the unit.
“This is my fourth time in negotiations, and it’s always tough! I am very proud of the deal we were able to negotiate. We didn’t give anything up, and we were able to negotiate substantial wage and pension increases,” Schwenke said. “We will be towards the top here in the South Bay with the increases in wages and pension. We made progress in every important aspect of this contract. We were able to get more protection for our unit, better disability protection, increases in the boot allowance, increases in the tool allowance for our mechanics, and crucial language that helps protect our fellow brothers on the job. These are just a few reasons why it was almost unanimous!”
Local 350 was chartered on October 8, 1936, representing members in solid waste and recycling, bakery, laundry and public services.