Teamsters

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Teamsters Weekly Updates, Ending December 14, 2018

Verizon on Notice: Workers, Community Leaders Nationwide Alert Customers to Abuse of Workers Who Package and Ship Phones
Teamsters
XPO Logistics workers and allied organizations nationwide sent a powerful message to Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg and Board of Directors on Thursday, re-engaging them with a second letter and alerting customers at Verizon stores to mistreatment in the company’s supply chain.

Horticulture and Floral Workers on Las Vegas Strip Join Teamsters Local 986
Teamsters
By a more than 5-1 margin, horticulture and floral workers at the Wynn and Encore casino hotels on the Las Vegas Strip voted Wednesday, December 12 to join Teamsters Local 986.

Teamsters Win Overnight Strike at Private Carter to Protect Pension
Teamsters
Teamsters Local 813 members went on strike Sunday night to protect their pension at a New York City private carter. The strike ended when the company, M&M Sanitation, backed off a plan that would allow the company to leave the union pension fund.

Teamsters Discuss 2018 Successes, 2019 Priorities at National Passenger Transportation Organizing Meeting in Chicago
Teamsters
Teamsters from all over the country recently gathered in Chicago at a national bus organizing meeting hosted by the IBT Passenger Transportation Division. Local union officers, members, business agents and union organizers discussed the steps the division has taken in 2018 to increase Teamster power in the industry. They also strategized on how to build upon that power as they look to 2019 and beyond.

Red Cross Workers in Baltimore Vote to Join Teamsters Local 570: Mobile blood collections staff at the American Red Cross in Baltimore voted 37-0 today to become members of Teamsters Local 570.

Durham School Bus Monitors and Drivers Ratify Contract With Teamsters Local 610: Drivers and monitors at Durham School Services in Wright City, Mo. have voted 32-3 to ratify their first contract as members of Teamsters Local 610.

Episode 173: Speaking Up at XPO: Listen to the latest episode of the Teamster Nation Podcast and learn how the Teamsters are working with XPO workers in Southern California and Memphis to empower them so they can tell their stories about a company that misclassifies drivers and puts its warehouse workers at risk. Plus, remembering union-backing and award-winning Hawaiian slack-key guitarist Cyril Pahinui.

Pipeline Construction Jobs Beginning In December: There are pipeline construction jobs in five states starting in December.  These are well-paid work opportunities. Use the map on the Teamsters National Pipeline website to locate the details on the jobs in Illinois, Minnesota, West Virginia, California and Michigan: http://teamsterspipeline.com/views/lmct_find-work.cfm

Teamsters: XPO Must Change Culture to Address Worker Mistreatment: Today, the Teamsters Union called on XPO Logistics, Inc. CEO Bradley Jacobs to formally acknowledge his company’s failure to address ongoing issues at its Memphis, Tenn. distribution center that include pregnancy discrimination, worker intimidation, and harassment.

Teamsters at Mt. View Cemetery Unanimously Ratify New Three-Year Contract: Cemetery and funeral work is not for the faint of heart. It takes someone with incredible compassion and the ability to routinely perform end-of-life rituals that most of us would prefer not to think about. Teamsters who work at Mt. View Cemetery in Lakewood provide comfort to families at the most vulnerable point in their lives. They preside over cremations, embalm and prepare the deceased for viewing, and ready the gravesite for burial.
 

NEWS ARTICLES

Verizon on Notice: Workers, Community Leaders Nationwide Alert Customers to Abuse of Workers Who Package and Ship Phones  Women’s and civil rights groups send second letter, demand Verizon keep promises to investigate: (Nationwide) – XPO Logistics workers and allied organizations nationwide sent a powerful message to Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg and Board of Directors on Thursday, re-engaging them with a second letter and alerting customers at Verizon stores to mistreatment in the company’s supply chain. In an escalation following months of worker complaints, legal filings and an explosive New York Times exposé, XPO workers and community members greeted Verizon customers at over a dozen stores across the country on Thursday with information and next steps. The actions alerted Verizon customers nationwide to egregious abuse of workers at the company’s Memphis, Tenn. distribution center, and invited them to tell Verizon “we want fair supply chains now.”
The coordinated nationwide actions engaged Verizon customers at stores in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Houston, Memphis, TN as well as in Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Connecticut, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.
“My coworkers and I were sexually harassed all the time with nowhere to turn,” said Lakeisha Nelson, a worker at the Verizon-contracted XPO warehouse in Memphis. “Our warehouse is an essential part of Verizon’s business, and it is high time that the company’s leadership helps us end supervisor sexual harassment and misconduct at XPO once and for all.”
The actions corresponded with a follow-up letter from women’s and civil rights organizations to Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg and Board of Directors, calling for an update on the promised investigation into sexual harassment allegations, and a meeting between them and the company to discuss its next steps, especially given new reports of pregnancy discrimination.
The letter, signed by the Tennessee NAACP, NAACP Memphis Branch, National Women’s Law Center, A Better Balance, Sister Reach and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, reads in part:
These reports... and the numerous allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation that were brought to Verizon’s attention in May, paint a disturbing picture of how workers are treated in its supply chain. These allegations run contrary to the company’s Supplier Code of Conduct that upholds “ethical conduct in the workplace, safe working conditions,” and “the treatment of workers with respect and dignity”.
"It shouldn't have taken months of advocacy and public pressure to get XPO to change its pregnancy accommodation policy. While we are heartened by this change, the proof will be in the implementation and we will be monitoring it," said Dina Bakst, Co-President and Co-Founder of A Better Balance.  "Verizon must act to ensure that the new policy is followed and stop the horrifying abuse of female warehouse workers in its supply chain. As we advocate for stronger federal laws in this area, such as the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, companies like Verizon and XPO have a responsibility to lead by improving conditions immediately.“
"We are in solidarity with XPO workers struggling to improve conditions in their workplace,” said Emily Martin, Vice President for Education & Workplace Justice at the National Women's Law Center. “No one should have to choose between a paycheck and a healthy pregnancy, or bear the risk of being sexually harassed at work. Congress must pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, and companies like XPO and Verizon should not only conduct an investigation,  but immediately fulfill their urgent responsibility to address and prevent harassment and discrimination in their workforces and in their supply chains."
"Far too often, Black women experience sexual and reproductive oppression, are exploited and forced to work under unsafe and unethical conditions,” said Cherisse Scott, CEO and Founder, SisterReach. “Verizon must show its commitment to protecting the Black female workers in its supply chain, and that means meeting with the trusted advocates that workers at XPO Logistics have chosen, and hearing their concerns.”
“Currently, putting our families first comes at too high a cost in the U.S. No pregnant person should have to choose between keeping their job or risk losing their baby. Yet many working people are in that impossible position,” said Annie Sartor, PL+US' Advocacy Director. “While large companies provide protections from pregnancy discrimination along side benefits including paid family leave for their employees, those who deliver goods for these companies are often left out. That's why we're calling on companies who rely on XPO for business, like Verizon, to be accountable for the conditions of their full workforce."
“Verizon can and should be a leader on fair worker treatment and gender equity, but we are troubled by the company’s silence on next steps to address the abuse of women in its XPO warehouse,” said Dennis Trainor, Vice President of Communications Workers of America District 1. “Forty thousand Verizon Wireless workers and CWA members know that when workers come together and stand strong, we win. We recognize brave XPO workers speaking up with the same spirit and stand with them in their fight to banish sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination and intimidation at their work.”
“The Teamsters are proud to stand with XPO workers and allied organizations against inhumane, abusive workplace conditions in the warehouses,” said James P. Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. “No worker should face harassment and discrimination. We’re demanding Verizon update stakeholders and show workers the respect they are owed by taking real action to solve abuse in its facilities.”
XPO Logistics is a $12 billion company that packages and distributes products for major retailers including Verizon. The spotlight on Verizon’s role addressing worker abuse comes as a front-page New York Times exposéabout harrowing tales of miscarriages in the facility have prompted outrage from elected leaders. On November 20, 2018, nine senators, led by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), sent a letter to XPO expressing outrage over the rampant pregnancy discrimination within their supply-chain. Ninety-seven members of Congress, led by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Rep Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) also sent aletter calling for a House Committee on Education and Workforce investigation and hearing.
In early May, leading groups in the women’s and civil rights movements delivered a letter calling on Verizon CEO Lowell C. McAdam and Board to meet with them and discuss next steps to end harassment and misconduct in Verizon-contracted warehouses. After receiving the group’s letter, Verizon stated that it would investigate the complaints. Verizon has not updated the public on its investigation since then, or met with key stakeholders.

Horticulture and Floral Workers on Las Vegas Strip Join Teamsters Local 986: By a more than 5-1 margin, horticulture and floral workers at the Wynn and Encore casino hotels on the Las Vegas Strip voted Wednesday, December 12 to join Teamsters Local 986.
The vote was 62-12. There are 82 workers in the bargaining unit. They join about 3,000 other casino workers who have already formed their union as members of Local 986.
"This is another great victory for the Las Vegas casino workers who are looking for fair wages, solid benefits and a voice at work," said Chris Griswold, Local 986 Secretary-Treasurer. "These workers make the Wynn and Encore properties look beautiful inside and out and they deserve a secure future for the hard work they do every day."
"I voted for Teamster representation to be treated with dignity and respect," employee Wally Ochiata said.
"I want job security and a voice at work and I know that I can with these as a Teamster," employee Fernando Frias said.
On Friday, December 15, 107 valets, booth cashiers and traffic attendants at Wynn and Encore will vote in their Teamster election.

Teamsters Win Overnight Strike at Private Carter to Protect Pension: Teamsters Local 813 members went on strike Sunday night to protect their pension at a New York City private carter. The strike ended when the company, M&M Sanitation, backed off a plan that would allow the company to leave the union pension fund.
“After you spend 25 years at this company, after you endure back injuries and herniated discs, you have a right to expect a decent retirement,” said Bonacio Crespi, a sanitation worker and shop steward at M&M Sanitation. “Without a pension, we lose our retirement. We went on strike to protect ourselves, our families, and the next generation.”
All of the company’s 15 Teamsters employees, who drive and load garbage trucks that collect commercial trash across the five boroughs, joined in the strike that lasted into Monday morning. The union estimates that 2,000 New York City commercial businesses were impacted by the strike.
The carter is based in Newark, NJ, but serves the New York City market. Workers at a smaller company affiliated with M&M, Chelsea Sanitation, were also part of the strike.
“We are not going to stand by while private carters undermine the living standards of the working men and women who keep this city clean,” said Sean Campbell, President of Teamsters Local 813. “We are fighting back, in the streets and at City Hall, to make this a middle-class job again.”
The strike comes as the Department of Sanitation moves forward with a much-awaited overhaul of the private sanitation industry. The city’s commercial waste zone policy will establish a competitive bidding process to assign carters to sections of the city, and hold them to high labor, environmental, and service standards.
“We are working with our allies in the Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition to ensure the strongest possible commercial waste zone policy passes the City Council,” said Campbell.
Last month, the Teamsters achieved another win in their campaign to improve the lives of New York’s commercial sanitation workers. Sanitation Salvage, a major hauler targeted by the Teamsters after the coverup of a young immigrant worker’s death at the company last year, went out of business in November. Teamsters Local 813 secured agreements from unionized carters to hire the former Sanitation Salvage workers.

Teamsters Discuss 2018 Successes, 2019 Priorities at National Passenger Transportation Organizing Meeting in Chicago: Teamsters from all over the country recently gathered in Chicago at a national bus organizing meeting hosted by the IBT Passenger Transportation Division. Local union officers, members,  business agents and union organizers discussed the steps the division has taken in 2018 to increase Teamster power in the industry. They also strategized on how to build upon that power as they look to 2019 and beyond.
Joint Council 25 President Terry Hancock opened the meeting, welcoming the attendees to the Chicago-area.  Hancock proudly noted that nearly 15 percent of the union’s bus membership is represented by Teamster Locals in Joint Council 25.
General President James P. Hoffa addressed the meeting, congratulating the attendees on the work that had been done to bring tens of thousands of workers from the private school bus industry into the union.
“When we first started organizing in this industry, nobody thought we could have the incredible level of success that we’ve had,” Hoffa said. “It’s been a tremendous effort, but it wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen overnight.”
Mr. Hoffa went on to congratulate Passenger Transportation Division Director and International Vice President Rick Middleton on the success his team had in 2018. The division recently secured a master agreement with North American Central School Bus and finally brought National Express/Durham School Services to the table to negotiate an agreement that put an end to the company’s anti-union tactics during organizing campaigns.
Some of the topics discussed in the meeting included current membership trends, organizing opportunities and positive developments in the relationships that the Teamsters have with the largest employers in the industry.
Teamsters Local 777 President Jim Glimco and Local 777 Shop Steward Mildred Cross addressed the group about the positive impact of school bus organizing on their lives and livelihoods.
Glimco directly credited successful bus organizing campaigns with strengthening his local.
“When we started organizing over 11 years ago our local had 1600 members,” Glimco said. “Now we have almost 4,000. For organizing, now is the time to do it, and at my local, it has made a big difference.”
Cross spoke about what being a Teamster has meant to her personally.  Teamster bus organizing has led to industry leading contracts that have significantly increased wages and improved working conditions.
“People are afraid of change, but our job is to tell people that your job is better when you get the union,” Cross said. “We get civility, respect and dignity. We want everyone to know that as union members, we pay taxes, we work hard to support our families and we deserve all of the benefits we are given.”

Red Cross Workers in Baltimore Vote to Join Teamsters Local 570 Blood Collections Workers Seek Affordable Health Insurance, Fair Pay: (BALTIMORE) – Mobile blood collections staff at the American Red Cross in Baltimore voted 37-0 today to become members of Teamsters Local 570.
The group of 46 workers is seeking affordable health insurance and they want their concerns about cross-training to be addressed. The workers also want to get paid for the time spent driving to and from collection sites.
“We look forward to addressing all the workers’ concerns when we sit down to negotiate a first contract with Red Cross,” said Sean Cedenio, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 570 in Baltimore. “These workers play an important role in keeping our community healthy, and they deserve to be treated fairly and with respect.”
"I'm looking forward to what the future has to bring now that I am a Teamster,” said Raeisha Clay, a collections specialist and 10-year Red Cross employee. “We need a contract that puts our rights and protections in writing. This will give us peace of mind and stability.”

Durham School Bus Monitors and Drivers Ratify Contract With Teamsters Local 610 New Collective Bargaining Agreement Contains Significant Improvements for Workers: (WRIGHT CITY, Mo.) – Drivers and monitors at Durham School Services in Wright City, Mo. have voted 32-3 to ratify their first contract as members of Teamsters Local 610.
“Congratulations to all of the drivers and monitors who worked hard to get themselves a fantastic inaugural collective bargaining agreement,” said Michael Lieser, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 610. “They stuck together and it paid off big time.”
The new collective bargaining agreement comes on the heels of a union election where the workers voted overwhelmingly to join the Teamsters. The new agreement includes a number of significant improvements – a 15 percent wage increase over the next three years, additional paid holidays, increases in daily guarantees and even vouchers provided by the company for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. The workers also got a seniority system for assigning routes, a minimum ten hour guarantee each calendar day for overnight trips (along with a food per diem), paid time for medical exams required by the company, and a number of other benefits.
Barbara Schaffrin has been a Durham driver for nine years, and her coworker Bethany Crawford has been with Durham for three years. Both served on the negotiating committee.
“The biggest things we did to succeed were listening to one another and sticking together,” Crawford said. “I’m excited that we have a solid foundation to go off of. Not only do we have written guarantees for all sorts of things from the company, we have the security of knowing that we’re not going it alone. Someone is here for us.”
Schaffrin was elated about the success of the ratification.
“We knew that we would get what we wanted if we were united,” Schaffrin said. “I’d encourage Durham workers everywhere to get involved, because you can get a lot more than what you’re getting right now if you sign up with the Teamsters and stay together. Get yourself a contract.”
The workers in Wright City joins more than 6,500 workers that are already represented by the Teamsters at Durham School Services and their parent company, National Express. Teamsters Passenger Transportation Director Rick Middleton congratulated the group on their achievement.
“Their bravery and solidarity at the negotiating table is a great example of what can be done by school bus workers throughout North America.” Middleton said. “We are committed to raising wages and standards in the school bus industry, and we know from experience that student transportation is at its best when workers’ voices are heard.”

Episode 173: Speaking Up at XPO: EPISODE NOTES – Listen to the latest episode of the Teamster Nation Podcast and learn how the Teamsters are working with XPO workers in Southern California and Memphis to empower them so they can tell their stories about a company that misclassifies drivers and puts its warehouse workers at risk. Plus, remembering union-backing and award-winning Hawaiian slack-key guitarist Cyril Pahinui.
SHOW NOTES – Featuring interviews with Teamster organizer Ricardo Hidalgo; XPO driver Juan Islas; XPO driver Omar Alvarez; XPO driver Guillermo Rivera; former XPO Memphis worker Tasha Murrell; and Sunshine McBride, deputy director of the Teamsters’ Political & Legislative Department

Pipeline Construction Jobs Beginning In December: There are pipeline construction jobs in five states starting in December.  These are well-paid work opportunities. Use the map on the Teamsters National Pipeline website to locate the details on the jobs in Illinois, Minnesota, West Virginia, California and Michigan: http://teamsterspipeline.com/views/lmct_find-work.cfm

Teamsters at Mt. View Cemetery Unanimously Ratify New Three Year Contract: Cemetery and funeral work is not for the faint of heart. It takes someone with incredible compassion and the ability to routinely perform end-of-life rituals that most of us would prefer not to think about.
Teamsters who work at Mt. View Cemetery in Lakewood provide comfort to families at the most vulnerable point in their lives. They preside over cremations, embalm and prepare the deceased for viewing, and ready the gravesite for burial.
Christine Walker, a Teamster of three years, operates the cremation furnace at Mt. View. The most wrenching part of her job, she says, is when families request to witness the cremation of their loved ones. “Being here with the family is always hardest, especially when there are children involved.”
The work has immeasurable value and requires considerable training and skill, yet their employer has been slow to recognize its significance.
For nearly a year, Local 117 members at Mt. View fought for fair pay, affordable health care, and protections that are standard in other union agreements. Just last week the group of funeral directors and cemetery workers had something to celebrate: The unanimous ratification of their new contracts.
Through the long contract fight, members showed fortitude and determination. They voted to authorize a strike in October and struck down a substandard contract offer during mediation. Both votes were unanimous.
“The unity the group showed was key,” said Local 117 Vice President and lead negotiator Marcus Williams. “It provided our negotiations team with real leverage at the bargaining table.”
Eventually, NorthStar, the massive funeral services conglomerate that owns Mt. View, got the message. Members won higher wage increases than they’d seen in years and fought back takeaways to their health care coverage. They also achieved full retro pay to the contract expiration date, something they had not accomplished in the past.
“Our members at Mt. View comfort families during a time of incredible stress and uncertainty,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. “This contract goes a step further toward recognizing the invaluable services they provide our community.”

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