Teamsters

North America's Strongest Union

Teamsters Weekly Update, Week Ending May 10, 2019

Hoffa: Job Training Bills Would Build Better Michigan: The Teamsters are long-time advocates of improved job-skills training. So it should come as no surprise that this union wholeheartedly endorses Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to provide debt-free tuition to both high school graduates as well as older adults interested in beefing up their abilities.

Teamster Leaders Gather for Unity Conference: With major challenges facing workers and the 2020 elections looming, the importance of mobilizing members is more critical than ever, Teamster leaders heard at the annual Unity Conference taking place this week.

Workers at YRC Freight, Holland, New Penn Approve National Master Contract: Teamster-represented workers at YRC Freight, Holland and New Penn have voted to approve the national master portion of the new YRCW National Master Freight Agreement that raises wages, restores a week of vacation and protects benefits.

Teamsters, Port Workers Applaud Port of L.A. Decision to Lease Former NFI/Cal Cartage Property to New Company: The Port of Los Angeles has announced that the Toll Group has been selected to negotiate with the port to lease the 85-acre port-adjacent site, which includes 600,000 square feet of warehouse space and prime open land for harbor trucking operations.

After Four Year Battle, West Coast Carhaulers Ratify First Contract with North American Auto Transport: A story that started more than four years ago has at long last reached a satisfying conclusion today, as carhaul drivers working for North American Auto Transport throughout the Western U.S. have successfully ratified their first-ever Teamster contract

Chattanooga Drivers and Monitors Ratify First Teamster Contract: Workers at Durham School Services in Chattanooga, Tenn. have voted unanimously to ratify their first contract with Teamsters Local 327.

Driver Helpers with Republic National Distributing Join Teamsters Local 299: Today, driver helpers with Republic National Distributing Company, a wholesale beverage distributor specializing in wine and spirits, voted unanimously to join Teamsters Local 299 in Detroit.

Port Trucking Drivers in California Join Teamsters Local 63: By a vote of 52-2, port trucking drivers at Seldat Distribution, Inc. in Southern California have voted to join Teamsters Local 63.

National Master UPS Agreement Contract Book Now Available: The full contract of the newly ratified National Master UPS Agreement is now available online. Click here to view.

Workers at Illinois Central in Kankakee Vote to Join Teamsters Local 179: Today, School bus drivers and monitors at Illinois Central in Kankakee, Ill. voted to join Teamsters Local 179. The 90 workers are part of a growing movement of drivers and monitors across the country who are organizing with the union because of the representation and benefits that come with a Teamster contract.

 

NEWS ARTICLES

Hoffa: Job Training Bills Would Build Better Michigan: The Teamsters are long-time advocates of improved job-skills training. So it should come as no surprise that this union wholeheartedly endorses Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to provide debt-free tuition to both high school graduates as well as older adults interested in beefing up their abilities.
Michigan lawmakers kick started the creation of such a plan with the introduction of two bills last month that would bolster the ability of hardworking Michiganians to land a job that would allow them to build a career and support a family in this state. It’s a policy other elected officials around the country would be wise to replicate if they truly wish to improve the lives of workers in their communities.
One bill, the MI Opportunity Scholarship, would guarantee universal access to community college for every student in Michigan and would reduce the cost of a four-year university for all low-income and middle-income high school graduates who earn at least a “B” average. A second, called the Michigan Reconnect Program, would provide free skills-training programs for adults at community colleges. Together, they would go a long way towards filling thousands of job openings in this state.
Not surprisingly, these measures are attracting bipartisan support, as well as the backing of the business community. Why? Because there is an understanding that a more qualified workforce not only benefits workers with higher wages, but companies as well who will have better-trained employees.
Michigan and the U.S. as a whole need a 21st century workforce to better compete in the global economy. The public and private sectors must do their part if they are to create more good-paying jobs for Americans. Teamsters have a history of helping members and their kids get the skills they need with scholarship funds like the James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship Fund that has awarded over $10 million for tuition to college and vocational schools since its establishment 20 years ago. Education is essential for preparing people for the working world.
And Gov. Whitmer understands that, given she is pushing to raise the number of working-age adults in Michigan with a postsecondary degree or certificate from 45 percent now to 60 percent by 2030. By year two of the programs, it is expected these job-training measures together would assist some 127,000 people.
Currently there is a skilled worker shortage. It should be the goal of lawmakers across the political spectrum to encourage youth not pursuing post-secondary academic studies to obtain training in a skill area that will provide them with the opportunity to earn a living wage and a career track that will ultimately give them a path to the middle class. These bills would accomplish that goal.
Better worker training means better services and safety for all Americans. Labor unions like the Teamsters make it happen every day with the training this union offers its members. But unions can’t do it alone. Government and corporations have a role to play. Michigan and the U.S. need to increase the amount of workers who are compensated for their skills and hard work with salaries and benefits that give them dignity and allow them to live a middle-class lifestyle.
Gov. Whitmer is doing her part to put current and future workers in a position to succeed in the workforce by giving them the skills they need. Now the Legislature in Lansing should complete the job by approving these bills. Doing so will help Michigan and its families.

Teamster Leaders Gather For Unity Conference: With major challenges facing workers and the 2020 elections looming, the importance of mobilizing members is more critical than ever, Teamster leaders heard at the annual Unity Conference taking place this week. (SEE MORE PHOTOS of Day 1 here and Day 2 here)
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said 2018 was critical because Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives, so-called right to work was repealed in Missouri and numerous anti-worker governors were unseated, including Scott Walker in Wisconsin.
Similar fights face the union and its 1.4 million members, which makes member mobilization and action so important.
“We’ve got to work hard to keep our momentum strong,” Hoffa told the 1,800 leaders at Unity.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, welcomed the leaders and congratulated the union for recent organizing victories at casinos and hotels along the Las Vegas Strip.
“I stand with organized labor because it’s the right thing to do…and because together we can build a better Nevada and a better country,” Sisolak said.
Jason Rabinowitz, Director of the Teamsters Public Services Division, said member involvement has been critical to fight the well-funded, sustained attacks against public employees and their unions. These attacks will continue, he said.
“This is an attack on all of labor,” he said. “Every worker must have the right of collective bargaining.”
Teamsters General-Secretary Ken Hall, who noted that the union’s finances are in excellent condition, said member involvement is critical in all issues, but will be particularly important as the union fights to solve the pension crisis.
“Nothing replaces boots on the ground and nothing replaces our members’ involvement,” Hall said.
Leaders have been attending important divisional meetings, where they are hearing about the latest issues facing workers and the union, and strategies for winning. The meetings continue today and Thursday, May 9.

Workers at YRC Freight, Holland, New Penn Approve National Master Contract: One of 27 Supplements Rejected, Agreement Not In Effect Until Approved: Teamster-represented workers at YRC Freight, Holland and New Penn have voted to approve the national master portion of the new YRCW National Master Freight Agreement that raises wages, restores a week of vacation and protects benefits.
The national master portion of the agreement, which covers about 25,000 workers, was ratified by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin. All but one of the 27 regional supplemental contracts (Joint Council 40) also passed. The national contract will not go into effect until the Joint Council 40 supplement is resolved. The parties currently have an extension agreement in effect. Employees should report to work as usual.
“Over the past decade our members have sacrificed so much to keep the YRCW companies operating, and this contract restores the week of vacation and provides $4 in wage increases, among other improvements,” said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division.
“This contract should improve the livelihoods of our YRCW Teamsters for the next five years,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “Freight is the backbone of our great union and this contract recognizes our members for their hard work.”
The improvements include:
$4.00 in wage increases over five years for the vast majority of workers (an 18% increase for most drivers and dockworkers) including a $1.00 wage increase retroactive to April 1, 2019 (a 4.5% increase for most drivers and dockworkers);
Significant increases for dock-only, clerical, maintenance employees, janitors and porters hired after February 2014 including a minimum of an immediate $1.00 wage increase retroactive to April 1, 2019;
Restoration of the week of vacation that was given up years ago, effective April 1, 2019;
Protection of health and welfare benefits with no employee premium co-pays. Up to $0.50 per hour increases each year for most funds. The company agreed to provide other funds with fixed guaranteed amounts to maintain benefits;
Improved language to curb excessive executive bonuses; and
Prohibitions against using driverless trucks.

Teamsters, Port Workers Applaud Port of L.A. Decision to Lease Former NFI/Cal Cartage Property to New Company: Toll Group Now in Position to Negotiate With Port to Operate on Prime Port Property: (PORT OF LOS ANGELES, Calif.) – The Port of Los Angeles has announced that the Toll Group has been selected to negotiate with the port to lease the 85-acre port-adjacent site, which includes 600,000 square feet of warehouse space and prime open land for harbor trucking operations.
For more than 50 years, the site has been occupied by the California Cartage group of companies and its successor, NFI Industries, which has been the subject of litigation, regulatory action, and labor unrest due to the company’s scheme of misclassifying its drivers as independent contractors, failure to pay the minimum wage and unsafe working conditions.
Click here for a history of recent and past legal and regulatory action at NFI/California Cartage.
“The Teamsters have been supporting NFI/California Cartage drivers and warehouse workers in their fight for justice for more than five years and we will continue to support their goal to become Teamsters,” said Fred Potter, Vice President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and Director, Teamsters Port Division. “Toll has been a responsible employer for the Teamsters at the Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach and in New Jersey and has a demonstrable track record of following the law and respecting employees’ right to bargain collectively for a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. If a majority of the workers choose to join the Teamsters Union, then we are ready to work with Toll to make this enormous investment in our nation’s supply chain a success for the company, the workers and the Los Angeles community.”
“NFI/California Cartage has a history of abusing and misclassifying its employees to increase profits and drive down prices for customers like Lowe’s, Best Buy, T.J. Maxx and Rio Tinto Mines. As the largest logistics company at the Ports of L.A./Long Beach, this has negatively impacted NFI’s law-abiding competitors, a key issue raised by L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer in his ongoing lawsuit against three NFI trucking companies for unfair business practices,” said Eric Tate, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 848, which represents more than 500 port truck drivers at the Ports of L.A./Long Beach. “As the winning bidder, Toll now has the opportunity to act as a responsible employer, raise standards for workers at the site, and lead the port trucking industry into a new era in which the misclassification of truck drivers as ‘independent contractors’ is a rare criminal issue rather than the dominant business model at America’s largest port complex.”
For the last 10 years, Jesus Maldonado has driven 300 miles a day hauling borax from the Rio Tinto mine in Boron, California, to the Port of Los Angeles for NFI/California Cartage Express’ customer Rio Tinto Mining.
“I went with the Teamsters to London last month to tell Rio Tinto’s Chairman that NFI is violating the company’s code of conduct and to urge them to do business with a company that respects its workers, and from what I’ve heard Toll is such a company," Maldonado said. "Working for NFI, I had no sick leave and went without pay when I needed urgent medical care. In fact, I owed money after taking time off to recover because I have to keep paying the company for the truck whether or not I work."
“For years, my co-workers and I have fought side by side to end the retaliation, intimidation and worker abuse going on in the NFI warehouse. The news that Toll will be taking over the Wilmington warehouse is good news. It shows that when workers speak up, change is possible and gives us hope that justice is on the horizon for us,” said Jeremy Hoke, a California Cartage warehouse worker.
Background
In January 2019, after three months of operating without a valid lease, NFI Industries (formerly the California Cartage group 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 L.A. 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.
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.
Social Media Links
For more information on the port truck drivers’ and port warehouse workers’ campaign, visit www.JusticeForPortDrivers.org
Like us at www.facebook.com/Justice4PortDrivers
Follow us on Twitter @PortDriverUnion

After Four Year Battle, West Coast Carhaulers Ratify First Contract With North American Auto Transport: Purchase of Sell and :Auto Transport by North American Auto Transport Averts Bankruptcy and Finally Leads to a Strong First Contract for West Coast Teamsters: TUKWILA, Wash., April 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A story that started more than four years ago has at long last reached a satisfying conclusion today, as carhaul drivers working for North American Auto Transport throughout the Western U.S. have successfully ratified their first-ever Teamster contract.
This contract will make the group of nearly 70 drivers and mechanics into full-fledged Teamsters – many for the first time in their careers—after a grueling battle of company ownership versus employees that nearly led to bankruptcy and dissolution of the company.
This story of worker triumph began with a successful organizing drive at carhaul company Selland Auto Transport nearly four years ago, when Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks received a lead for a potential organizing campaign from Local 174 Director of Organizing Meaza Ogbe and Recording Secretary/Senior Business Agent Carl Gasca. When Hicks realized that the opportunity at Selland spanned five different Teamster Joint Councils across the West, he reached out to IBT Carhaul Director Kevin Moore to suggest a Regional Agreement. Following that discussion, a plan was developed and eventually workers across California, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Montana all voted to join the Teamsters to improve their conditions on the job. Once that vote was certified, contract negotiations with Selland management began.
However, it quickly became apparent that Selland management was willing to do anything they could to impede the process of negotiating a fair contract with their employees. Management fought back against even the most basic and non-controversial tenets of a union contract; they paid steep fines for illegally retaliating against union supporters; they endured a one-day strike that halted their operations up and down the West Coast; they watched their most experienced workers leave the company to find better working conditions elsewhere; and they watched their business wither as they insisted on focusing all their time, energy and resources on waging war against their employees' rights to fair treatment on the job.
Eventually, as Selland teetered on the brink of bankruptcy, company ownership finally admitted defeat and sold the company's remaining operations to North American Auto Transport. Once the purchase was finalized, union-friendly North American leadership and the Teamsters were able to quickly work through the remaining issues and reach a contract proposal that was acceptable and fair to both sides.
Over the course of this past weekend, drivers in Seattle, Portland, San Bernardino and Martinez attended meetings in their respective cities to learn about and vote on the proposed contract. The votes were counted today, and the contract was ratified by a margin of over 91 percent.
The new contract makes dramatic improvements to just about every aspect of the job. Improved 'Hours of Service' rules will much more effectively protect drivers from unsafe excessive overtime; a robust grievance procedure will protect drivers from unjust discipline; bargaining unit work will be protected from widespread subcontracting; and crucially, owner-operators will finally receive access to life-changing benefits they never had before, including protection from layoff based on seniority, access to healthcare and access to retirement. Most importantly of all, workers will soon find that the favoritism that ran rampant at Selland Auto Transport will be a thing of the past under this new agreement.
On the economic side, the most substantial improvement of the contract is in health care, as workers will move from an expensive and inferior company plan into high-quality Teamster medical with significantly lower out-of-pocket cost. This means that for many workers, health care will improve dramatically while simultaneously putting an extra $500-$600 per month back in their pockets. In addition, all drivers will receive a wage increase, which for some drivers will be the first raise they've seen in more than nine years.
"There are a lot of people I wish could be here today," said longtime Selland-turned-North American employee Tim Charles, a Teamsters Local 174 member who served on the rank-and-file bargaining committee and attended all negotiating sessions through the endless four-year slog. "So many people left the company as this process dragged on, and I don't blame them. I just wish they could be here to celebrate this with us. This contract is going to change everything, and I'm so glad we finally made it to the finish line."
"It's a new day at this company and a new day for these hardworking Teamster drivers and mechanics," said Roy Gross, Assistant Director of the IBT Carhaul Division and lead negotiator of this contract. "Everyone involved can now move forward and focus on doing what we do best: our members will focus on transporting vehicles safely and efficiently, and company management will focus on growing and earning back the business that Selland management lost."
"This contract is the best possible outcome to a grueling and pointless battle," said IBT Carhaul Division Director Kevin Moore. "The former Selland management learned an important lesson here: going to war against the people who make your money for you never pays off. We are thankful that North American Auto Transport was able to negotiate fairly and reach a good contract, and most of all, we are all thankful the fight is over now and these workers can move on to a brighter future under a strong Teamster contract."
"This contract will be the template to restore the once mighty but currently nonexistent carhaul industry in the West under the leadership and guidance of Brother Moore. Drivers in this specialized field will finally realize the value they provide to these companies," Hicks said.

Chattanooga Drivers and Monitors Ratify First Teamster Contract: Contract is Ratified Unanimously by Participating Workers:
(CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.) – Workers at Durham School Services in Chattanooga, Tenn. have voted unanimously to ratify their first contract with Teamsters Local 327.
“The workers at Durham in Chattanooga demonstrated tremendous courage throughout this process,” said Joe Bennett, President of Teamsters Local 327. “From the organizing campaign to ratification, this process took over two years, but they stood united. I couldn’t be prouder of the amazing things that these men and women have done.”
The new collective bargaining agreement is good for three years, and it covers over 250 drivers and monitors who provide student transportation services for Hamilton County Schools. It includes significant wage increases, more paid holidays, guaranteed safety standards, and a number of other benefits.
Katie Williams is a driver at the Chattanooga yard, where she works alongside her sister Kayla and her mother Lisa. She served on both the organizing and negotiating committees.
“We fought so hard for this and went through so much to get this agreement, and it just feels amazing now that all of our hard work has paid off,” Williams said. “It’s incredible, the things that you can accomplish when you refuse to give up.”
Teamsters Local 327 represents workers in a variety of industries throughout Tennessee.

Driver Helpers With Republic National Distributing Join Teamsters Local 299: Driver Helpers Join Drivers as Teamsters at Wholesale Beverage Distributor: (DETROIT) – Today, driver helpers with Republic National Distributing Company, a wholesale beverage distributor specializing in wine and spirits, voted unanimously to join Teamsters Local 299 in Detroit.
The 19 driver helpers work out of Republic National’s Brownstown, Mich., location. They join 98 drivers at the facility who were already Teamster members.
“These workers stuck together. They were determined to unite as Teamsters, and we are honored to welcome them as members of Local 299,” said Kevin Moore, President of Local 299.
“Before the driver helpers even joined the union, we fought all the way at a hearing in front of the Labor Board to ensure that they would be included with the existing bargaining unit, and the Board agreed,” said Greg Nowak, President of Teamsters Joint Council 43 and Director of the Teamsters Brewery and Soft Drink Conference. “The driver helpers and drivers work hard together as a team, and now have the strength of unity.”
The driver helpers are seeking to improve wages and gain affordable health care and fair treatment on the job.
Teamsters Joint Council 43 represents 65,000 hardworking men and women in the private and public sector across Michigan.

Port Trucking Drivers in California Join Teamsters Local 63: By a vote of 52-2, port trucking drivers at Seldat Distribution, Inc. in Southern California have voted to join Teamsters Local 63.
The drivers work at two port yards in Compton and Fontana. There are about 80 drivers in the bargaining unit. Voting took place in mid-April and votes were counted on April 30.
"The drivers want fair pay after the company changed their pay system," said Randy Cammack, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 63 in Rialto. "They also want affordable, quality health insurance. I want to thank Local 63 Business Agent Rick Allison and Organizer Robert Amaya, who were instrumental in this victory."
Unlike most port drivers who are misclassified as independent contractors, Seldat drivers are employees. However, the recent changes to their pay system have resulted in major cuts to their wages.
The company also waged a vicious anti-union campaign. Local 63 is filing numerous unfair labor practice charges for the company's union-busting tactics that took place during the campaign.
"It feels great to be a Teamster again," said Jesus Valdez, a driver who had been a member of Local 63 in a previous job. "It feels great to fight for what's right for the drivers--for fairness."

National Master UPS Agreement Contract Book Now Available: The full contract of the newly ratified National Master UPS Agreement is now available online. Click here to view.

Workers at Illinois Central in Kankakee Vote to Join Teamsters Local 179: Kankakee Location Becomes Third Illinois Central School Bus Yard to Join Local 179: (KANKAKEE, Ill.) – Today, School bus drivers and monitors at Illinois Central in Kankakee, Ill. voted to join Teamsters Local 179. The 90 workers are part of a growing movement of drivers and monitors across the country who are organizing with the union because of the representation and benefits that come with a Teamster contract.
“At Local 179 we represent more than 1,000 bus drivers including drivers at the Wilmington and Coal City Illinois Central locations,” said Tony Seminary, Local 179 Organizer and Business Agent. “We are excited to have another Illinois Central yard on board with us and look forward to securing them a strong first contract.”
Driver Llora Kranich and her fellow workers at the Kankakee yard wanted to secure a strong union to represent their interests and help the address on-the-job issues like wages, favoritism and job security.
"We worked hard to bring this victory home and I’m so thrilled that now we’ll have a chance to negotiate our first contract,” said Kranich. “Thousands of school bus drivers throughout Illinois are better off because of their Teamsters membership, and soon we will be too.”
Teamsters Local 179 represents workers in a wide variety of industries throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. For more information, go to http://www.teamsters179.com
 

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