Patty’s Corner — June 7, 2016

Patty WarrenSince my last article, we successfully negotiated and ratified a great contract at Southern Wine & Spirits. The SWS contract is a state-wide agreement, and although the vast majority of the employees are 174 members, there are also members from Local 690, 58 and 839 covered by the cba. The members on the committee were, Joel Bentz, Lucas Bentz, David Boger, Jason Godwin, Lavon Green, Michael Johnston, Marc Shaw, and Carson Stepper. The negotiations were led by Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks. Also at the table were Local 690 Secretary-Treasurer Val Holstrom, Local 174 Senior Business Agent Michael Gonzales, Local 58 Business Agent Mike Workman, Local 839 Business Agent Austin DePaolo and Joint Council 28 Collective Bargaining and Organizing Director Michael Beranbaum.

This is the second contract for SWS. The first one was good, but there was still a big gap between them and Columbia. We had patterned our first contract after the Columbia agreement, and SWS knew going into this one that our goal was to get them up to the Columbia numbers. We waited until after the Columbia agreement was done so all parties, including the Company, would know how high the bar was set.

While we did not get the members 100% there, we got them most of the way. It was a phenomenal contact, the best second agreement I have had the pleasure of voting over my many years of doing this work. The vote took place in all of the locals on May 21, and after the final total, it was ratified by an overwhelming 94%.

In the face of massive concessions and a plant closure, Teamster Local 355 and 570 are on an unfair labor practice strike against US Foods. Teamsters across the country are walking out in support of their brothers and sisters across the country as picket lines get extended. That extension hit close to home last month. Local 117 represents drivers at a US Foods facility in Fife. Their contract prohibits members from honoring a picket line for 72 hours. Honoring a picket line also means they cannot take part in picketing, which is a strike activity. In order to avoid any conflict, 174 Business Agents and members manned (and womanned) the picket line. Thanks to the 174 members who stood that line and the 174 members who honored it.

Metropolitan Market negotiations are continuing in an effort to reach a first agreement for the catering department delivery drivers. The Company is taking a hard stand on pension, refusing to consider putting any money into the Teamsters pension. They are also refusing to agree to picket line rights. Those two issues and a few other economic disputes have led to a 100% strike authorization vote. We return to the bargaining table next week in an effort to reach an agreement. If not, you may see action in front of a store near you.

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