While a potential strike tends to suck up most of the air in the room, there are other things going on around the Local. In addition to the Columbia contract, I’m negotiating two other contracts with Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks.
Our Southern Wine & Spirits contract expired at the same time as Columbia. It has been difficult to set dates given all the players at the table and bargaining has just begun. The polar opposite of Columbia, SWS started negotiations by telling us they had no intention of taking away anything already gained by the members. We have several additional dates scheduled and look forward to amicable and productive negotiations.
Our Allied Waste/Rabanco contract expires at the end of this month. At our last session, we presented the Company with our opening economic proposal first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, we did not get a counter from the Company. The landscape is already well known. Our Waste Management contract expires in 2019 and the Recology/Cleanscapes agreement in 2021 so we were a little mystified as to why they did not have a proposal ready for us. To be fair, the day was complicated by a power outage in the area. We were initially told the power would be back on at 1:00 but it was closer to 2:30. Even after the power came on, the internet connection was out and they needed to connect with their database to crunch numbers. We were prepared to bargain all night Friday and on Saturday if necessary, but they decided to leave. Given where we were in negotiations, we decided it was time to take a strike vote. On Saturday March 19, at a well-attended meeting, the members voted unanimously to authorize a strike. While we are prepared for the worst-case scenario, we return to the table this week, with additional dates set at the end of the month, and we anticipate an agreement will be reached.
I am also in negotiations with Metropolitan Market, the grocery store chain. Meaza Ogbe, the Organizer for the Local, is assisting and will be the Business Agent for the group. They have a catering department, and the drivers who deliver the food recently voted to join the Teamsters. If you need catered food, for a meeting or a party, check out their website. They deliver for free, and your food will be delivered by a 174 member!
While we were gone . . .
We were successful in negotiating a first contract with a new group at Swissport Fueling. The group runs the fuel farm at the airport, maintaining the tanks that hold all of the fuel that goes into all of the airplanes going out of Sea-Tac. It was the fastest first contract I have done. They agreed to 80% of the language right away, and we were able to secure all of the bells and whistles in the initial agreement, including union security, dues checkoff, seniority rights, picket line rights, just cause discipline and binding arbitration. We achieved an excellent economic settlement, including Teamster pension. Thanks to Dave Jacobsen, who will be the Business Agent for the group, for his help at the table.
We also successfully negotiated a new contract at Cleanscapes (Recology). We combined all of our members under one contract, folding the StreetScapes group in and adding a newly organized group working at the Recycle Center. That group was brought in to the local through voluntary recognition. Both StreetScapes and the Recycle Center were the beneficiaries of the language that was years in the making and already enjoyed by our drivers. Significant improvements in economics and language were achieved for all.