Teamsters

North America's Strongest Union

Organizing Success in Harrisburg

Local 776’s String of Wins Pays off for Members

Mark Cicak started his Teamster career at UPS in 2008. After becoming a Teamster leader in his bargaining unit, Local 776 hired him as a member organizer helping to bring a union to Sysco workers.

“Six months after that, they asked me to be a full-time organizer,” he said. That was in January 2016. “I saw the ins and outs of organizing and I enjoyed it. Plus, the political landscape in the last two years has shown we need someone to fight on all fronts, including increasing union density. As Teamsters, we have strength in numbers, not just with employers but in the statehouse.”

Since coming on as the local’s organizer, Local 776 has seen great success in organizing. The local has recently welcomed new Teamsters at Durham and Krapf bus companies, the Newville police force, West York Borough highway workers, the entire public works department of West Manchester Township and drivers for Ryder, a metal distributor. More than 200 new Teamsters have been welcomed into Local 776 in the last year.

When Dennis Emenheiser started working for the West Manchester Township about five years ago, he noticed things that were different than his previous union employer. There were so many acts of disrespect from management that he knew something had to be done. That’s when he reached out to Local 776 in Harrisburg, Pa.

Emenheiser said seeking out the Teamsters was more about respect than money or benefits.

“The way things are nowadays, everybody gets pushed around. We’ve got a great group of hardworking guys, but we just weren’t getting respect,” Emenheiser said. “Since joining the Teamsters, there’s not conflict like there was before.”

In an odd twist of fate, Emenheiser’s dad was a Teamster whose business agent was Cicak’s father.

“It has felt like there is a bond with the Teamsters. They do whatever they can for us and it has been great,” Emenheiser said.

‘Looking for Protection’

Wyatt Wagner, a patrol officer with the Newville Borough Police Department, said he and his co-workers joined Local 776 because they needed protection from the city council, which was making unfair, unilateral changes to benefits for the officers.

“They were changing a lot of stuff, like health care, which they changed two or three times a year,” he said. “They also started taking substantial amounts of pay from officers. We decided we needed some protection so we sought out a union.”

The city council punished Wagner for his union activism by firing him, but the union and the community rallied to his cause. After filing grievances, Wagner had his job back in 10 days.

“I’m happy with the union, and so are my co-workers,” Wagner said. “We were looking for protection and were afforded that by the Teamsters Union.