Teamsters

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Teamsters Weekly Update, Week Ending February 15, 2019

Drivers at Sysco Near Miami Vote to Join Teamsters Local 769: Drivers at Sysco South Florida near Miami have voted to join Teamsters Local 769, the second organizing victory in less than three weeks at Sysco and the latest example of workers standing together nationwide at the company to demand fair treatment.

XPO Logistics Will Close Warehouse Where Some Pregnant Workers Miscarried: XPO Logistics will close a Memphis warehouse where employees had complained about widespread discrimination and a number of pregnant workers had miscarriages.

Teamsters JC 16 Statement on Amazon Cancelling HQ2 Plans: George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16, had the following statement on Amazon's announcement that it is pulling out of plans to build its second headquarters in Long Island City, NY:

Veterans to Be Honored In Tucson By Local 104: Teamsters Local 104 is teaming up with iPods for Wounded Veterans to honor military veterans in Tucson, Arizona.  The event will take place on Saturday, March 2 at the Southern Arizona Health Care Systems office in Tucson.

YRC Negotiations Continue on National Items: The Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC) met this week with YRC Freight, New Penn, and Holland to continue negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement to succeed the agreement set to expire on March 31.

Teamsters at Nelson Trucking Unanimously Authorize Strike Action: Despite snowy roads and an early Sunday morning time slot, an overwhelming majority of the 33 truck drivers and dispatchers at Nelson Trucking came to the Local 174 union hall last weekend and voted unanimously in favor of authorizing a strike. The drivers, who haul heavy equipment and oversize specialty loads, used the unanimous vote to voice their displeasure with management’s attempts to gut the seniority and other provisions in their Teamster contract.

NFI/Cal Cartage Workers Call on Customers to Work with New Tenant at the Port: In January, after three months of operating without a valid lease, NFI Industries (formerly the California Cartage family of companies), the largest trucking and warehousing company serving America’s leading port complex, announced its intention to vacate prime property owned by the Port of Los Angeles.

Teamsters Applaud Introduction of Legislation to Protect Transit Workers: The Teamsters Union support bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D, CA), U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and U.S. Rep. John Katko (R, NY) that would authorize funding for programs to establish training and technology improvements to help mitigate assaults against transit workers.

Teamsters Stand With Immigrants; because Immigrant Rights are Worker Rights!: This week, immigrant workers from multiple Unions from across the U.S. traveled to our Nation’s Capital in Washington D.C. to participate in a Day of Action organized by Working Families United. Among the participants was our Local 396 Brother Jorge Mancia who traveled from Westminster California to Washington D.C. to fight for the rights of his fellow sanitation workers, many of whom are immigrants from across Central America, particularly, El Salvador and Guatemala.

 

NEWS ARTICLES

Drivers at Sysco Near Miami Vote to Join Teamsters Local 769 Workers Want Respect, Fair Pay, Affordable Health Care: (MIAMI) – Drivers at Sysco South Florida near Miami have voted to join Teamsters Local 769, the second organizing victory in less than three weeks at Sysco and the latest example of workers standing together nationwide at the company to demand fair treatment.
The vote count was 100-25 in favor of joining the union and there are 132 drivers in the bargaining unit. Sysco South Florida workers chose Teamster representation because they want a fair, transparent pay system and a legally-binding contract that protects their wages, working conditions and seniority. 
“The company needs to stop messing with our pay, they have been cutting our pay left and right,” said Robert Anz, a driver and nine-year employee. “Joining the Teamsters feels great—we’re moving in the right direction to make the changes we need.”
“This victory continues the strong worker organizing momentum at Sysco in South Florida,” said Josh Zivalich, President of Local 769 in Miami. “Sysco workers are tired of the way Sysco is mistreating them and they are demanding change now.”
Steve Vairma, International Vice President and Warehouse Division Director, said Sysco workers across the country are standing together to fight for change. In late January, 116 Sygma Sysco workers in the Detroit area voted to become Teamsters.
“Rather than valuing its hardworking employees who make this company successful, Sysco continues to disrespect it employees, flagrantly violate the law when they seek union representation, and still demand that they work harder and faster,” Vairma said. “Like more than 1,000 workers across the country in recent months, Sysco South Florida workers are saying ‘enough is enough’ and standing together to take action.”

XPO Logistics Will Close Warehouse Where Some Pregnant Workers Miscarried: XPO Logistics will close a Memphis warehouse where employees had complained about widespread discrimination and a number of pregnant workers had miscarriages.
The company said it would close the site because Verizon, whose cellphones and other products XPO ships from the warehouse, had decided to stop using the facility. The moves followed a New York Times report into working conditions there.
More than 400 XPO employees will lose their jobs. “Our presence in the Memphis community remains strong, and we have new jobs available for the majority of these employees in our 11 other local facilities,” Lissa Perlman, an XPO spokeswoman, said in a statement on Thursday.
Rich Young, a Verizon spokesman, said the company would continue to work with XPO at other sites. “We’re constantly evaluating the needs of our business and make adjustments accordingly,” he said. “There is nothing unique about this transition.”
The Teamsters union, which has been trying to organize workers at the warehouse, said the closing was retaliation against employees who publicized incidents of sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination. The group’s organizing efforts there have been underway since 2017, when a worker collapsed and died of cardiac arrest on the warehouse floor.
In October, The Times reported that six women had miscarriages after lifting heavy boxes at the warehouse and being denied breaks from physically intense work. Some of the episodes occurred while the warehouse was operated by another company, New Breed Logistics, which XPO bought in 2014.
Workers at the site lift boxes weighing up to 45 pounds. The facility does not have air-conditioning, and indoor temperatures in the summer can rise past 100 degrees.
“They are just cutting and running and closing the place instead of addressing the problem of pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment,” Jim Hoffa, the Teamsters president, said in an interview. Mr. Hoffa said the Teamsters were considering filing a formal complaint about the warehouse’s closing with the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that handles labor disputes.
Lakeisha Nelson, an employee at the XPO facility, has been vocal about conditions there. “The warehouse is closing because management chose to run this place like it’s their personal plantation, rather than running it like it’s a company,” she said Thursday.
After The Times published its article, nine senators wrote to XPO and Verizon demanding that the companies address the allegations. Two weeks later, nearly 100 members of the House called for an investigation by its Committee on Education and the Workforce into working conditions at the facility.
In a statement on Thursday, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut and one of the senators who organized the letter to the companies, said the move “reeks of retaliation.”
Federal law prohibits employers from firing workers or closing a facility to punish employees for organizing a union or for collectively complaining about workplace conditions.
XPO said previously that it had asked an independent law firm to look into the pregnancy accommodation issues, and it announced new policies for accommodating pregnant workers in addition to more generous parental leave.
In a letter sent to employees on Wednesday, XPO told workers that their “employment will terminate during a two-week period commencing on April 15, 2019.”
XPO and Verizon said their decisions were unrelated to the Times article or efforts to organize workers.

Teamsters JC 16 Statement on Amazon Cancelling HQ2 Plans: (NEW YORK) –– George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16, had the following statement on Amazon's announcement that it is pulling out of plans to build its second headquarters in Long Island City, NY:
"New Yorkers made it clear that Amazon wasn't welcome in our city if it would not respect our workers and our communities. Apparently, the company decided that was too much to ask. We are committed to fighting for the rights of workers throughout the Amazon supply chain and supporting their demand for a voice on the job."

Veterans To Be Honored In Tucson By Local 104: Teamsters Local 104 is teaming up with iPods for Wounded Veterans to honor military veterans in Tucson, Arizona.  The event will take place on Saturday, March 2 at the Southern Arizona Health Care Systems office in Tucson.
Volunteers will distribute headphones, airbuds, Mp3 players and more to veterans and their families. Members of Local 104 will be on-hand to assist with the program in support of the military. For more information, click here.
iPods for Wounded Veterans was founded by United States Military Veterans in 2011. When Paul Cardello and John Parker learned that wounded veterans recovering in military hospitals wanted one thing to make their days brighter — music — they immediately began putting together a collection of iPods.  Today, the all-volunteer organization assists veterans at military hospitals nationwide.

YRC Negotiations Continue on National Items Some Supplements Commence Bargaining: The Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC) met this week with YRC Freight, New Penn, and Holland to continue negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement to succeed the agreement set to expire on March 31.
The last traditional collective bargaining agreement applicable to these companies is the 2008-13 National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA). That agreement was modified and extended through various restructuring MOUs and agreements. The parties are returning to the traditional structural format as the 2008-13 NMFA.
After this week, the parties will have resolved most of the non-economic provisions in Articles 1-39. The parties also began discussing supplemental agreements for some regions of the country. Subcommittees were also established to focus on various issues related to the shortage of CDL drivers, purchased transportation, how to grow full-time jobs, job security for the bargaining unit and the unique nature of operations at Holland.
“We are now exchanging proposals that address some of the core operational practices in the modern LTL environment,” Teamsters National Freight Division Director Ernie Soehl said. “The issues are getting clarified and we had productive dialogue with the company.
“But what also became clear is that a lot of very complex and difficult work lies ahead as we attempt to craft a comprehensive Master Freight Agreement,” Soehl said. “Ultimately, the resolution of many of these issues is intertwined with the satisfactory conclusion of economic discussions and we simply are not there yet.”
TNFINC remains hopeful and is 100% committed to addressing the members’ concerns and obtaining the best possible result in these negotiations. Click here to read the original update.

Teamsters at Nelson Trucking Unanimously Authorize Strike Action Specialized Heavy Haul Teamsters Push Back Against Management Assault on Seniority Provisions: (TUKWILA, Wash.)—Despite snowy roads and an early Sunday morning time slot, an overwhelming majority of the 33 truck drivers and dispatchers at Nelson Trucking came to the Local 174 union hall last weekend and voted unanimously in favor of authorizing a strike. The drivers, who haul heavy equipment and oversize specialty loads, used the unanimous vote to voice their displeasure with management’s attempts to gut the seniority and other provisions in their Teamster contract.
The major sticking point in these negotiations is management’s attempts to insert new language into the contract that would change the process of selecting which drivers work on jobs. The proposed new language is so open to interpretation that it would leave management free to pick and choose drivers based solely on favoritism.
“They have proposals on the table that will allow them to work anyone they want at any time, and completely undermine seniority,” Local 174 Director of Negotiations Patty Warren told the assembled group at the meeting. “This is some of the worst language I’ve ever seen in my decades of negotiating contracts, and they are completely serious about it.”
The drivers have become familiar with management’s favoritism on the job ever since a new management team took over. Drivers say the new management team has been problematic from the beginning, pitting employee groups against each other and attempting to undermine group solidarity.
“These management proposals contain nothing but takeaways, including a bold assault on the seniority provisions that form the cornerstone of any union contract. We won’t stand for it, and neither will our members, which they clearly demonstrated with their unanimous strike authorization vote,” said Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks. “We expect Nelson management to come back to the bargaining table with more realistic proposals, or they are going to see some real pushback from their employees. Our members bring an incredible amount of skill to this trade, which their employer does not seem to value at all. Despite management’s efforts to divide them, the workers are united.”
Nelson Trucking Teamsters mainly deliver heavy construction equipment to construction sites, and have extremely specialized skills when it comes to operating heavy flatbed trucks, tying down equipment and oversize loads, and navigating massive vehicles along city streets. Nelson Trucking and its Teamster work force famously assisted in the removal of a derailed Amtrak train from the travel lanes of I-5 last winter.

NFI/Cal Cartage Workers Call on Customers to Work with New Tenant at the Port: PORT OF LOS ANGELES, Calif.) – In January, after three months of operating without a valid lease, NFI Industries (formerly the California Cartage family of companies), the largest trucking and warehousing company serving America’s leading port complex, announced its intention to vacate prime property owned by the Port of Los Angeles. This decision came three months after the LA City Council unanimously revoked NFI’s lease in the wake of the seventh strike by warehouse workers and port truck drivers at the site. On Mon., Feb. 11, 2019, the Port of Los Angeles issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new tenant for this critical site, which is strategically located in the Port’s “heavy weight corridor” and offers preferential tax treatment due to its historic designation as a “Foreign Trade Zone.”  (Click here for a summary of regulatory action and litigation at NFI/California Cartage.)
The following is a statement from NFI port truck drivers and warehouse workers employed at the site:
“Our employer, NFI/Cal Cartage, has chosen to abandon its operations in Wilmington, its workers and the community. For years we’ve spoken up about unsafe equipment, racial discrimination, retaliation and intimidation at NFI/Cal Cartage. Instead of cleaning up its act, the company is leaving the Port. We’re looking forward to a new company being selected to operate on this property, one that will abide by the law and treat us with dignity and respect,” said Jeremy Hoke, a NFI/California Cartage warehouse worker.
“My coworkers and I work hard and depend on our jobs. We move merchandise off of shipping containers and through warehouses before it ends up in stores. This is back breaking work and we do it to support our families and to contribute to our community. At the hands of NFI, we’ve faced widespread wage theft and ongoing abuses that have fallen deaf on NFI/Cal Cartage’s ears. Now we have the opportunity to work for a good employer. We transport goods for NFI/Cal Cartage customers like TJ Maxx, Lowe’s, Puma, Rio Tinto, and more. We want to keep working on this property and for these customers, but we need a new company to be chosen that is going to respect us,” said Gustavo Villa, a port truck driver with NFI/California Cartage Express (CCX).
With the dedicated support from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, community, and faith allies, we are fighting to change the logistics industry so we can win justice for ourselves and our families. We haul and handle our country’s imports and exports for retail companies, for manufacturers, and for the U.S. Military. We are proud to be professional truck drivers and proud of the service we provide. Without us, America would stop.

Teamsters Applaud Introduction of Legislation to Protect Transit Workers The Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act Would Authorize Funding for Safety Improvements, Technology and Training to Mitigate Assault Risks: (WASHINGTON) – The Teamsters Union support bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D, CA), U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and U.S. Rep. John Katko (R, NY) that would authorize funding for programs to establish training and technology improvements to help mitigate assaults against transit workers.
The Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act (H.R. 1139/S. 436) would establish a timeline of two years for transit agencies to develop bus and rail risk reduction programs in coordination with transit workers and labor organizations. The legislation would also create funding for implementation of the programs over a five-year period.
“The Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act represents a critical step toward ensuring workers in this industry are afforded the best on-the-job protection and training available,” said Rick Middleton, Director of the Teamsters Passenger Transportation Division. “The Teamsters Union supports this legislation and thanks Rep. Napolitano, Sen. Van Hollen and Rep. Katko for taking on this important issue.”
The Teamsters Union represents more than 56,000 transit workers in the public and private sectors.
“All transit workers deserve a safe workplace,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “Whether they drive a bus or work on the rails, these men and women should have the training and technology to help prevent any harm from assault on the job. We fully support this legislation.”

Teamsters Stand With Immigrants; Because Immigrant Rights are Worker Rights!: This week, immigrant workers from multiple Unions from across the U.S. traveled to our Nation’s Capital in Washington D.C. to participate in a Day of Action organized by Working Families United. Among the participants was our Local 396 Brother Jorge Mancia who traveled from Westminster California to Washington D.C. to fight for the rights of his fellow sanitation workers, many of whom are immigrants from across Central America, particularly, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Working Families United is a coalition of Labor Unions, including the Teamsters, which was organized to advocate for the rights of immigrant workers who are a vital part of the American Labor Movement and contribute greatly to the growth of our Nation’s economy.
Many of these brave men and women came to this Country with only the clothes on their backs often fleeing for their lives from their countries of origin seeking a better opportunity for themselves and their families. Instead of treating these men and women with the dignity and respect that they deserve, the current administration is attacking their ability to reside in the U.S. by threating to gut programs like Temporary Protective Status (TPS) and refusing to enact humane comprehensive immigration reform. Make no mistake about it, this is not just an attack on immigrants, it is an attack on all working people in the U.S.
By pushing thousands of people into the shadows, the government is also making it harder for immigrants to stand up for their rights and organize a Union to have a voice on the job and in their communities. The same politicians that support the end of TPS also support a broad agenda that hurts working families including passing right to work laws, opposing minimum wage increases, and fighting against expanding protections for workers.
In order to fight back against this hateful agenda, Teamsters across the country must stand united shoulder to shoulder with our immigrant brothers and sisters as they face challenging times. We must continue mobilizing in our workplaces to ensure that our voices are not silenced by employers who threaten to use ICE as a way to discourage Union organizing. We must push on our elected leaders in Congress to take action and demand that they create a permanent solution that provides a pathway to citizenship for all immigrants. This will not only strengthen our communities, but it will also strengthen our labor movement that should be inclusive of all people regardless of their background. When working people unite, there is nothing that can stop us.
Teamsters Local 396 represents UPS and Sanitation workers in Southern California. The Local Union also serves Members in other miscellaneous industries such as logistics, recycling and feed delivery services.

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