Teamster News

You can’t fight obesity by killing jobs – No Beverage Tax in Seattle

Rick HicksAn Op-ed by Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks

The tax on sugar-sweetened beverages proposed by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is a disaster in waiting for local workers, businesses and families. On its surface, the tax may sound like a good idea: fighting the obesity epidemic while funding education at the same time – who wouldn’t like that? But the reality is that it is working families who will end up shouldering the heavy burden of this proposed tax.

Similar taxes have already been implemented in other major cities in the United States, and the effects have been devastating to workers. Teamster families at Local 830 in Philadelphia have already begun to feel the negative impacts that this tax creates, as Philadelphia started collecting a 1.5 cents-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened and diet beverages on January 1, 2017.

Since then, Local 830’s Principal Officer Danny Grace reports that: Beverage companies as a whole have seen their sales decrease between 40%-54%; Pepsi Philadelphia has announced a first round of layoffs of between 80-100 employees, and Teamster commissioned salespersons for Pepsi have seen their weekly take home pay decrease between 50% to 70% due to lost sales in the market; Coca-Cola has initiated layoffs of approximately 30% of its work force in Philadelphia; Canada Dry/7-UP and Dr. Pepper has initiated layoffs of 35 Employees.

All of these job losses have come from a tax of 1.5 cents-per-ounce – but Seattle Mayor Murray has proposed a tax of 2 cents-per-ounce. That is 33.3% higher.

Since this tax would only apply within the city limits of Seattle, the results are easy to predict: consumers will take their business outside the city. Two cents may not sound like much, but to put it into perspective, this proposed tax would increase the average cost of a two-liter bottle of soda by 87%, a 12-pack of soda by 44%, and a 24-pack by 72%. To anyone shopping on a budget, price increases of this magnitude are worth shopping elsewhere to avoid. This means that grocery stores within the City of Seattle will also face falling revenues, costing jobs.

And what about Seattle’s growing restaurant industry? This tax would increase the cost of such beverages by an average of 25%. Most of Seattle’s restaurants are family-owned small businesses for whom this tax’s negative impacts cannot be ignored. At the very least, businesses will see decreasing restaurant revenue spent by customers. Or worse, customers will choose to eat outside the city altogether.

There is no denying that there is an obesity epidemic in this country. But the way to fight that isn’t by destroying good family-wage Union jobs while at the same time taking money out of the budgets of the poorest among us. Mayor Murray’s goal may be noble, but his approach is all wrong.

We at the Teamsters cannot and do not support a tax that will put hardworking members of our communities out of a job, no matter how well-intentioned the tax may be.

Rick Hicks is the Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 174 and the President of Teamsters Joint Council 28, which represents 55,000 workers across Washington, Alaska, and the Idaho Panhandle.

Click here to read about Seattle’s proposed beverage tax and how similar taxes have already affected Philadelphia.

Click here to read about Teamsters Local 174’s opposition to the proposed Beverage Tax and see photos from a press conference against the tax.

Click here to read Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa’s letter to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the Seattle City Council calling on them to find other ways of dealing with Seattle’s budget shortfalls rather than this tax.

Teamsters Local 25 Wins Arbitration Case Against UPS

April 19, 2017

Arbitrator Awards Back Pay for Injured Package Driver

On April 12, an arbitrator ruled in favor of Teamsters Local 25 in a case involving a UPS package driver who was injured and not permitted to work despite being released by his doctor. The arbitrator found UPS in violation of Article 20, Sections 2 and 3 of the National Master Agreement and awarded retroactive pay for John Perry, the driver involved in the case.

“This is a significant decision by the arbitrator because it addresses an issue that many of our locals have encountered when it comes to injured UPS members,” said Sean O’Brien, Director of the Teamsters Package Division and President of Local 25 in Boston. (more…)

Teamsters Local 745 Ratifies New Contract with First Student

April 19, 2017
Teamsters Local 745 celebrate their new contract

Agreement Ratified by 100 Percent of Participating Drivers, School Bus Monitors

(DALLAS, Texas) – Members of Teamsters Local 745 unanimously ratified a first contract with First Student Transportation in Lewisville, TX on March 31, 2017. Local 745 organized the 381 school bus monitors and drivers that service The Colony and Lewisville Independent School Districts (TX) in 2016.

The contract includes some significant improvements, including wage increases ranging from 17-19 percent over the course of four years, guaranteed pay for all time served, an increase in the eligibility for overtime, and coverage of the membership under Teamsters Local 745’s grievance procedure process. (more…)

Airgas Teamster Made Whole

April 18, 2017

New Jersey Tankhauler Gets Back Job, Back Pay

Local 701 in North Brunswick, N.J. recently won an important victory on behalf of an unfairly terminated Teamster.

Airgas employs Teamster members at their Lincoln Park, N.J. location, where workers fill cylinders and tanks with various gases, including liquid nitrogen, and deliver them locally.

On Sept. 21, Xavier Wilson, an Airgas Teamster, was unfairly fired for “most egregious” behavior. That behavior was briefly answering a call in stopped traffic while using a hands-free device. The case made it to the New Jersey State Board of Mediation and a hearing was held on January 26. (more…)

UPS Teamster Makes Heroic Rescue

April 14, 2017

Local 25 Member Saves Two People From Burning Home

Paul Pereira’s UPS shift took a lifesaving turn Monday evening when the Boston-area Teamsters Local 25 member rescued two people from a burning home.

With 12 stops left on his regular route, Pereira’s next stop was 18 Hamilton Ave. Two houses away, he saw a porch engulfed in flames. Pereira jumped out of his truck and immediately started banging on the door, screaming, “fire, fire, fire,” and helping a mother and her stepdaughter safely escape. Both had been upstairs and although they smelled smoke they thought it was coming from a nearby barbeque.

Once he knew everyone was out of the house, Pereira jumped back into action with a neighbor. They battled the blaze with a garden hose and were able to contain the fire in just minutes. “I hooked up the hose to the side of the house and I just started dousing the fire out,” said Pereira. (more…)

“Miracles Do Happen”: Local 177 Wins Back UPS Driver’s Job, Benefits

April 13, 2017

Michael Davis is a lawyer who fights for compensation for the injured, but he didn’t have much hope for one of his clients: Franklin Marusky, a UPS driver and member of Teamsters Local 177 in Hillside, N.J. Unable to call out of work due to severe injuries from an off-the-job accident, Marusky was terminated from UPS.

To make matters worse, the accident left Marusky a quadriplegic and suffering brain damage. While his family, including his three children, was distressed and Marusky remained in critical condition, they learned that his benefits were being discontinued. (more…)

UPS Freight Teamster Joins Elite Program to Promote Industry

April 12, 2017

Local 707 Member Charlton Paul Selected for ATA “America’s Road Team”

Charlton Paul has been driving with UPS Freight for 21 years. During that time, he’s maintained an accident-free driving record and has received accolades from the company for his safe driving. Earlier this year, the industry took notice of Paul’s clean record and professional driving skills, too.

“I was very excited when they told me that I was selected,” said Paul, who has joined the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) “America’s Road Team” program for 2017-2018 to help educate the public about the trucking industry. Paul is a trustee on the Teamsters Local 707 Executive Board in Hempstead, N.Y. and has been a shop steward for the past eight years. (more…)

Ft. Myer’s Southern Glazer’s Wine And Spirits Drivers Vote Teamsters

April 12, 2017

Beer and Liquor Drivers Join Local 79

Delivery drivers working for Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits in Ft. Myer, Florida, have voted to join Teamsters Local 79, Tampa. The majority of the 30-driver unit voted in favor of joining the union.

“Being a Teamster is going to make a big difference on the job for us at Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits,” said Enrique Vasquez, a driver. (more…)

A Legendary Life at UPS: 50-Year Driver Danny Kaminski

April 10, 2017

Teamsters Celebrate 50-Year UPS Driver with Local 177

UPS Teamsters who work with Danny Kaminski call him “the Legend.” It’s a nickname he humbly rejects. “I’m just a regular working guy,” says Danny, a UPS feeder driver and member of Teamsters Local 177 in Hillside, N.J. He recently celebrated 50 years at the company.

Working out of the Meadowlands hub in Secaucus, Danny has seen a lot over the course of a half century at Big Brown. He joined the Teamsters when Jimmy Hoffa Sr. was president of the union, and he vividly remembers walking the picket line during the 1997 strike. (more…)

Niagara Falls Coach Lines School Bus Monitors To Join Teamsters Local 264

April 10, 2017
Niagara Fall Coach Lines school bus monitors celebrating their win

Drivers Welcome Co-workers After Landslide Yes Vote by Newest Members

(NIAGARA FALLS, New York) – Fifty school bus monitors working for Niagara Falls Coach Lines have voted to join Teamsters Local 264. The final margin was 41-2 in favor of joining the union.

Wages were among the biggest concerns for the school bus monitors: the workers currently get minimum wage with no benefits, and after watching the drivers at their company get wage raises consistently under a Teamster contract, they decided to reach out to the local. (more…)

Teamsters Local 396 Successfully Secures Six Contracts in One Month

April 7, 2017
Teamsters Local 396 members celebrate after ratifying another solid waste contract

Agreements Negotiated and Ratified Raise Wages and Industry Standards for Orange County Sanitation Workers

Waste workers at Teamsters Local 396 in Southern California have overwhelmingly ratified six separate contracts—covering more than 1,100 members—that contain many improvements.

The contracts are for waste workers in Orange County working at five companies: Waste Management, Republic Services, CR&R Environmental Services, Buena Park Disposal and Ware Disposal. All the contracts were ratified by a margin of about 90 percent. (more…)

Teamsters Local 174’s Fight Against the Beverage Tax Continues

Our fight against the proposed Sugar Tax continued yesterday, as the Teamsters participated in a press conference to announce a coalition of small business, labor, and immigrant groups who all oppose this two-cent-per-ounce proposed tax on pre-sweetened beverages within the City of Seattle.

Teamsters Local 174 Business Agent Pete Lamb gave a speech highlighting the job-killing effects of this kind of tax, which have already been seen by Teamsters in Philadelphia.

View the Seattle Times article covering yesterday’s event below.

You can read more about Teamsters Local 174’s position on this issue by clicking here.

View our photos from yesterday’s event:(more…)

UPS Teamsters Focus On Contract Enforcement As Saturday Delivery Creates 6,000 New Jobs

April 5, 2017

Yesterday UPS officially announced its expanded drop-off schedule with Saturday deliveries, calling the change “one of the largest in the company’s 109-year history.” Weekend deliveries are expected to create 6,000 new UPS jobs by 2018, 4,000 of which will be created this year. Regional chairs and co-chairs of the Teamsters Package Division are working with locals to ensure that the National Master Agreement and all Supplements are being followed as new hiring takes place.

“The creation of 6,000 new jobs is certainly good news for UPS and good news for our members,” said Teamsters Package Division Director Sean O’Brien. “I have instructed representatives of our Division to coordinate with all of our locals to make sure that new hiring is being conducted in accordance with the Teamsters UPS contract. We will be working hard to ensure that these new jobs are adding to our UPS membership while also respecting the seniority rights of our current members at UPS.”

Click here to read more about the UPS’s Saturday delivery announcement.

Local 162 Wins Dispatching Grievance for UPS Teamsters

Local 174 President Ted Bunstine chaired the UPS Northwest Grievance Panel that issued this decision in favor of UPS drivers at our sister Local in Portland, Local 162.

April 5, 2017

On Christmas Eve in 2016, Local 162 members and UPS package car drivers working out of the Tualatin, Oregon facility were dispatched to work. But many showed up only to find that they were not needed.

At least 50 of the UPS drivers were sent home after commuting to the facility on a holiday they could have spent with their families. This was a violation of Article 1 of the Joint Council 37 Rider and Article 19 of the Western Region Supplement. Teamsters Local 162 filed a class action grievance.

“The union and the company had reached an agreement during our review of the peak season plans on how the work was to be dispatched at all of the UPS centers in our area on Christmas Eve,” said Local 162 President Mark Davison. “The company did not comply with our agreement at the Tualatin facility. UPS dispatched every driver to work even though they weren’t needed and many of the drivers who did work were grossly under dispatched. There were drivers dispatched with as few as 20 stops.” (more…)

Teamster Carhaul Members Ratify National Contract, Regional Agreement

March 30, 2017

Workers’ Top-Tier Benefits Are Protected Under Five-Year Contract

(WASHINGTON) – Teamster carhaul members ratified a new national auto transporters contract and a regional agreement today which will maintain and protect health, welfare and pension benefits through May of 2021 and provide annual wage increases. The national contract was ratified by a margin of over 86 percent, and the Central Southern supplement was also ratified by 84 percent. Voting took place over the past three weeks and ballots were counted today. (more…)

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