I had the pleasure of attending the 29th International Convention the last week of July as an Alternate Delegate for 174. 1600 Delegates and Alternates from around the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, along with around 3000 guests, were in attendance. The Convention not only nominates candidates for the upcoming election of International Union Officers (be sure to vote when you get your ballot in the mail!), it also makes changes to the Constitution and passes resolutions. Joining together with over 5,000 Teamsters and guests was a truly amazing experience.
One of the notable changes to the constitution is strike benefits. The minimum weekly benefit has been changed from $100 to $150, the maximum amount has been increased from 4 times hour dues rate to five times your dues rate, and the benefits kick in after the 8th day on strike instead of after the end of the 2nd week. These changes increase our strength at the bargaining table and our ability to weather a strike. When combined with the Local strike fund, we have the power to strike when we need to and 174 is never afraid of a fight!
There were two very moving moments. The first one involves some heroes from the sanitation industry. Martin Luther King, Jr., was killed in Memphis. He was there to support the fight for recognition and for a contract for a group of sanitation workers who worked for the city. Two of the leaders of that fight, Alvin Turner and Baxter Leach, continue to be involved in union issues, and are frequent participants in political activity and rallies on behalf of Teamsters today. They both spoke with very moving recollections of both their historic fight and how they continue to fight today. You can watch the video on the IBT website at https://teamster.org/videos/2016/06/ron-herrera-speaks-29th-international-convention.
The second involved the impact of the national opiate addiction on one teamster family and what they are doing about it. Travis Bornstein, President of Teamsters Local 24 and his family had to endure the death of their son Tyler due to an overdose. Tyler had a sports-related injury and became addicted to the pain medication. That addiction led him to heroin and to his death when he was abandoned in a vacant lot while he was overdosing. The Bornstein’s have started a charity called Breaking Barriers – Hope Is Alive. They hope to buy the vacant lot where their son died and build a treatment facility. The story itself was moving. Almost everyone has been impacted by the national epidemic in one way or another. But what was amazing was to see Teamster Locals and Joint Councils, Clubs and individuals, line up at the mike for over an hour and make donations. During that time more than $1.4 million dollars was pledged, including $5,000 donated by Local l74. I have never been so proud to be a Teamster. You can find out more about the charity at http://nowwefightforyou.com.
My bargaining schedule has been slow so far this summer. I continue to meet with Metropolitan Market along with Organizer Meaza Ogbe, who has been assigned as the Business Agent for this group. We organized the catering department delivery drivers and once we get a contract, it will be the only place where you can order food that will be prepared by union members (UFCW) and delivered by union members (Teamsters). The issue standing in the way of a contract right now remains pension. The UFCW pension plan is in the red zone with a huge unfunded liability for the Employer. Secretary Treasurer Rick Hicks spoke with the CEO on Monday, and the CEO has agreed to meet with representatives of the Teamsters pension plan. We hope they can convince him that with such a small group (right now 7 drivers) his unfunded liability will be nonexistent.
We have also started negotiations for the First Student bus drivers. There are many challenges negotiating for school bus drivers. The industry is built around part-time employment, with the low wages and lack of benefits that come with part-time work. Not only are there huge economic challenges, our members are up in arms due treatment issues and to changes in the pay system that have resulted in less overtime pay. We have filed a grievance and an unfair labor practice charge on the pay issue. I am negotiating that contract with the able assistance of Business Agent Abe Taylor. That contract expires at the end of this month, and the mechanics contract expires at the end of August.
My schedule is starting to heat up with the addition of Food Services of America negotiations this week. We have a compressed schedule, with the demands meeting last Sunday, the committee meeting to put the proposal together Monday and the first meeting with the Company on Wednesday. Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks, Business Agent Carl Gasca and I are on the bargaining team, with the occasional assistant of Business Agent Larry Boyd, who worked for FSA for many years and has also been their Business Agent in the past. The FSA contract expires at the end of August.
Since 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.
The Teamster Action Truck has been out of action for quite a while. Last year, the trailer was damaged by another truck using our parking lot to make a U-Turn. The paint was faded and peeling off the cab. It also needed a new generator and had a variety of aging truck aches and pains. Last fall, the Executive Board authorized the money to do repairs.
The trailer has been repaired, and the tractor and trailer painted. The tractor has been repaired and a new generator is on the way. The truck will be wrapped with the Teamster logo and a great new design. When it is done it will be beautiful and will be back in action as a mobile phone bank and, if necessary, for a mobile strike headquarters. We will post pictures of the final product.
Dave Jacobsen, Senior Business Agent, Kevin Dahl, Executive Board Trustee and Boeing Shop Steward, and Boeing Shop Steward Shawn O’Leary are cleaning and polishing the chrome so the truck will look its best. It’s obviously a dirty job. Thanks to the three of them, especially Kevin and Shaun for volunteering their time. I’m not sure they would have volunteered if they knew what they were getting into.
NEW AGREEMENT REACHED WITH ALLIED/REPUBLIC SERVICES
We returned to the bargaining table with Allied and faced a big challenge. We had language in the expiring contract which rolled unused maintenance of benefits (MOB) money forward into the successor agreement. The problem was we had a fundamental disagreement over how the money was calculated. We used a straight dollar formula, calculating the unused MOB money per month for each year of the expiring contract and coming up with a dollars and cents per hour figure available per member. The Company calculated what they had actually saved each year and put that money in a pot. The two different methods put us somewhere between 1 and 2 million dollars apart.
We met for half a day on the 24th, and again on the day the contract expired. We started that morning at 8 a.m. and reached a tentative agreement somewhere between 2 and 2:30 a.m. the following day. It was a long and tense day, and there were times when each side was ready to walk away from the table. With the assistance of a federal mediator, who kept us talking instead of walking, we were able to reach an agreement. It was ratified overwhelmingly on Saturday, April 12.
We welcomed Local 38 to the bargaining table this year, represented by Secretary-Treasurer Steve Chandler and Business Agent Daryn Wilbur. Their last contract was negotiated with the assistance of Collective-Bargaining and Organizing DirectorMichael Beranbaum from the Joint Council and Local 174 Vice President and Business Agent Ken Marshall. By the time it expired, that contract matched our economics (but not language) and required joint bargaining. We were successful in gaining contract language almost identical to ours, as well as continuing the match in economics. Ken assisted in their ratification vote, which took place the same day, and was a unanimous yes vote.
SOUTHERN WINE & SPIRITS
Up next in the beer, wine & liquor world is SWS. Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks, Business Agent Michael Gonzales, Collective-Bargaining and Organizing DirectorMichael Beranbaum from the Joint Council and I are negotiating our second agreement with a new player in the liquor industry in the State of Washington. Southern came to Washington after the liquor industry was deregulated, gave us state-wide voluntary recognition, and bargained the first contract. As with most first contracts, we did not get them completely up to industry standards. They knew coming out of the last negotiation it would be our expectation that they would step up in their second contract. Now that Columbia is done, we will turn our attention to Southern. We have several meetings set with them over the next couple of weeks.
Our second largest contract is up this summer. First Student employs more than 400 school bus drivers who transport school children for the Seattle School District as well as a number of private schools in the area. They, too, are coming up on their second contract, which expires at the end of July. Unlike Southern, First Student fought the Union and it took a years-long organizing campaign and two elections (after the first was overturned by the NLRB) to win the right to represent the group. There is a National Agreement with First Student, but all of the economics and the day-to-day rules of operation, including how seniority is used, are bargained locally. Business Agent Abe Taylor and I kick off negotiations with the demands meeting set for Saturday, May 7 and 9 a.m. We also represent the mechanics under a separate contract, which expires a month after the drivers.
2016 Columbia Distributing
[img src=http://teamsters174.net/wp-content/flagallery/2016-columbia-distributing/thumbs/thumbs_mark-ortiz_bj-hallagin_zack-trainer_rick-hicks_patty-warren_adam-murphy_chris-martin_aipopo_michael-gonzales.jpg]2110Mark Ortiz, BJ Hallagin, Zack Trainer, Rick Hicks, Patty Warren, Adam Murphy, Chris Martin, Aipopo Vaifale, Michael Gonzales
[img src=http://teamsters174.net/wp-content/flagallery/2016-columbia-distributing/thumbs/thumbs_michael-gonzales.jpg]1780Michael Gonzales
[img src=http://teamsters174.net/wp-content/flagallery/2016-columbia-distributing/thumbs/thumbs_patty-warren_cordel-voegele.jpg]1570Patty Warren, Cordel Voegele
[img src=http://teamsters174.net/wp-content/flagallery/2016-columbia-distributing/thumbs/thumbs_raashad-colar_jesse-george.jpg]1400Raashad Colar, Jesse George
[img src=http://teamsters174.net/wp-content/flagallery/2016-columbia-distributing/thumbs/thumbs_taurean-newson_ryan-bolton_shaun-lee_abe-taylor.jpg]1350Taurean Newson, Ryan Bolton, Shaun Lee, Abe Taylor
[img src=http://teamsters174.net/wp-content/flagallery/2016-columbia-distributing/thumbs/thumbs_zack-trainer_rick-hicks_chris-martin.jpg]1300Zack Trainer, Rick Hicks, Chris Martin
April 5, 2016
When I left off the Columbia story, we had received a last best and final offer, the fences had been put up and the porta potties delivered.
During the following three weeks, the parties were at a tense standstill. We began a pressure campaign against Columbia, including a threat of a flyer at Trader Joe’s and discussions with customers and suppliers. We also contacted Meritage, the hedge fund that owns Columbia. Our members were on standby, and we asked them to continue working until they heard differently from Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks.
Columbia responded by doing what we asked them not to do—they publicized the economics of their last, best and final. For some reason, they thought they would get a favorable reaction and the members would put pressure on the leadership to vote the offer. That move backfired and instead enraged the employees even more. When that didn’t work, Columbia mailed the offer to their houses, including a link where they could review the entire document online or download it for even more reading pleasure.
Apparently our pressure campaign worked better than theirs. With some prodding from the Federal Mediator, Columbia through an email said they were willing to return to the bargaining table to see if we could reach an agreement (while reserving their right to return to their LBF).
When we got back to the table, we were able to come up with a significantly improved package. Columbia withdrew the takeaways, and with the addition of two more years onto the previous three-year offer resulting in a five-year deal, added significantly more money as well.
On April 2, at another well-attended meeting, the Columbia membership ratified the contract with a 93% yes vote.
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.
I hope the relaunch of our website is a success and you will once again start visiting to hear what’s going on in my corner. I’m not going to try to catch you up on what has transpired since the site went down, but will instead jump to current events.
I’m sure you noticed the press release about Columbia. Here is the full story.
Columbia’s first contract with Local 174 was effective in 2002, negotiated after a narrow union victory in an NLRB-conducted election. That contract was not particularly strong, no surprise when an election is won with a bare majority.
The second contract was a year old when Rick Hicks assumed office in 2007. We got our shot at negotiating an agreement in 2009. Our relationship with the original Columbia management team was cordial, and we had tough but productive negotiations. There were numerous improvements in contract language (most notably the members gained just cause discipline rights for the first time) and in economics.
After that contract was secured, Columbia brought in a new, anti-union management team. Our relationship took a decided turn for the worst. Not only did they begin to fire many people unjustly, they decided to reinterpret the language in the discipline section so that they could combine three unrelated matters in a 12-month period to justify a termination, reinventing the meaning of “same or similar” that exists in most of our contracts.
Heading into the 2012 negotiations, the Company hired a new attorney. Todd Lyons had recently jumped the fence, moving from a union (and one-time 174) attorney to the management ranks. He took his move seriously, shaving his head and growing a goatee to adopt a satanic look appropriate to his new role! Lyin’ Lyons was hired by the law firm which represented Columbia from the beginning, one with which we had developed a good working relationship. He left that law firm and took Columbia with him, promising Columbia he would beat 174 at the bargaining table, stripping away all the gains we had made in the 2009 negotiations and more. He was decidedly unsuccessful, and after taking us to the brink of a strike, we succeeded in negotiating a new agreement without giving up anything and making decent gains in language and economics.
The new management team did not give up, and when the 2009 negotiations were unsuccessful, they hired the union-busting attorney with the worst reputation in Seattle. We knew at that point we were heading for a strike when the contract expired in 2015.
After a series of costly arbitrations over terminations, all won by the Union with the members gaining reinstatement rights and most of the time full backpay, the arbitration on the reinvented discipline language took place. The Union also won that arbitration. Shortly after that victory, the anti-union management team was shown to the door, and more labor-friendly people were hired into all of the top management positions – manager of the facility, head of human resources, and labor relations.
The new management team asked us for a one-year extension. They wanted to show that they would treat the employees differently and to get a chance to change the way the company was being operated. With some significant economic incentive, the members agreed, and ratified a one-year extension.
That bring us to today. We were a little concerned heading into bargaining. The new labor friendly company still retained the anti-union attorney, but insisted he was not in charge. They only confirmed three dates before the expiration of the agreement. While it was not entirely unexpected, we were very disappointed when they opened bargaining with a big pile of takeaways, everything from expanded management rights to rolling back the clock on discipline in language, and many cuts directly affecting our members’ pocketbooks.
After some tough negotiating sessions (including a couple of days added at the end of the week before contract expiration), we were far from an agreement. Most glaring is the minuscule amount of money on the table to pay for anticipated increases in medical costs. If the medical plan continues to rise at the average level we have seen over the past 10 years, our members will be close to $400 a month out of pocket at the end of three years.
On the Saturday before a Monday contract expiration, we held a meeting with the members. The meeting was very well attended. It was the kind of meeting I hope all of you have the chance to attend at least once during your life as a member. Everyone who was in that room knows now what being a 174 member is all about. We do not take it, we bring it! A raucous group gave the bargaining committee a 100% authorization vote.
The Company refused to meet on Monday, the day the contract expired. We convened the next day at 1 p.m. After a mere 3-1/2 hours of negotiations, when we were miles away from impasse in the Union’s view and had plenty of room to move, the Company abruptly and prematurely presented us with a last best and final. We had been prepared for an all-nighter to get it done, but they left the building before the close of normal business.
The usual exchange of fences and porta-potties has occurred. While we still hope to get a settlement, we are prepared to strike when the time is right. Stay tuned for more news!
By: Patty Warren, Senior Business Agent
The last quarter of 2014 was a busy and productive one for 174. I will start with our organizing victories.
HUGE VICTORY IN CARHAUL
Selland Auto Transport drivers and shop employees across the West voted to join the Teamsters in December. This multi-state election is a historic first in the West, and the first victory for the Teamsters in carhaul in over 30 years. The bargaining unit stretches from the Mexican border to the Canadian border and covers all eleven western states. It includes terminals in Seattle, Renton, Kent, Spokane, Portland, Laurel Montana, Salt Lake City Utah, and San Bernardino and Richmond California. After backing off on an initial agreement for a card check recognition process, the Company took us to a hearing, seeking to exclude owner operators from the bargaining unit. They lost that battle, with the NLRB including the owner operators. A mail ballot election took place and the ballots were counted on December 16. No objections were filed and we were certified a week later.
With a new group, the first thing up is establishing a relationship with the Employer. Since the election and under the leadership of Michael Beranbaum (Joint Council 28 Collective Bargaining & Organizing Director), the Company has been cooperative on working through problems with us and we hope this is the beginning of a long and constructive relationship
The campaign was initiated by Local 174 organizer Abe Taylor, with the assistance of IBT organizer Meaza Ogbe. It soon mushroomed into a huge multi-state operation. Scott Abrahamson, a Selland driver, was brought on to be the primary contact with the employees. He spent countless hours on the phone and on the road, chasing down Selland drivers in every state. Carl Gasca, Local 174 Business Agent and previous car haul driver, along with Michael Beranbaum, assisted both locally and in visits to California. Michael also helped coordinate activities with the other locals. I handled the unfair labor practice charges, which resulted in the issuance of a complaint by the NLRB. The charges were recently settled with the posting of Notices at eleven locations.
Working in cooperation with the International Union’s Carhaul Division and staff from various IBT departments, Organizers from various locals and Joint Councils, under the direction of their respective Secretary-Treasurers, all did their part in helping to pull off this amazing victory. Thanks go to the Secretary-Treasurers and other Teamster officials across four states (Randy Cammack, IBT Vice President, JC 42 President and Secretary-Treasurer Local 63, Covina California; Steve Vairma, IBT Vice President, JC 3 President and Secretary Treasurer local 455, Denver Colorado; Rick Hicks, JC 28 President and Secretary-Treasurer Local 174, Seattle, Washington; Tony Andrews, JC 37 President, and Secretary-Treasurer Local 305, Portland, Oregon; Val Holstrom, Local 690 Secretary-Treasurer, Spokane Washington; Jaime Vasquez, Secretary-Treasurer Local 542, San Diego, California; Don Garcia, Secretary Treasurer Local 315 Martinez, California; Clayton Banry Secretary-Treasurer Local 223, Portland, Oregon; Jim Larson, Secretary-Treasurer, Local 190, Billings, Montana; and Spencer Hogue, Secretary-Treasurer Local 222, Salt Lake City Utah.
Thanks go to those who provided hands-on help in the organizing campaign (Jim Larson, Alvin Mitchell, Carlos Borba, Greg Baxter, Mark Brandt, Spencer Hogue, Matthew Fazakas and Mark Macpherson).
This was definitely a team effort. Congratulations to everyone involved.
Abe Taylor, our very successful organizer, has been promoted to Business Agent. He has been replaced as Organizer by Meaza Ogbe. Meaza has worked as an Organizer with the IBT for a number of years. Seattle is her home base, and we have asked for her help on a number of campaigns. We are lucky to have her and I am sure all of you will welcome her to the 174 Staff. Congratulations to Abe and Meaza. That change will take effect January 19.
Thanks to the efforts of Abe, two other bargaining units were certified, Gresham Trucking in September and NCM (ReNu) in November. We are just beginning negotiations with both groups. We have had demands meeting with both groups, have begun negotiations with Gresham and are gearing up for RenNu.
We also finalized a first contract covering the Quality Control Lab Technicians at Cadman. We received voluntary recognition for the two full-time and one part-time employee and sat down with Cadman to get them covered by a contract. Their contract is very similar to the one covering the truck drivers, and was ratified with a 100% yes vote.
And last in the new bargaining unit news, but certainly not least, a first contract for Hertz was ratified by 100% in November. Our new members at Hertz were very happy to receive an increase retroactive back to April 23. We held a very unusual day after Thanksgiving vote so there would be no delay in their future wage increases and in the hope they would receive that retro check just in time for Christmas!
Welcome to Local 174 to all of the above!
On December 20, Columbia members ratified a one-year extension to their contract. It was due to expire on February 29, 2015, and we believed we were heading to a strike. Our relationship with Columbia had continued to deteriorate and we had several signs that management was planning on trying to take away all the gains we have made at Columbia over two contracts, including attempting to eliminate just cause. Business Agent Michael Gonzales and I have been discussing strike contingency planning for at least six months. Stewards and activists had already been engaged. Michael and I had circled the property, looking for where we would have to put pickets. (We already knew where to put the porta potties, we were that close to a strike in 2012).
Columbia had lost four arbitrations in a row. That contract has loser pays language in the arbitration section, and between the cost of four arbitrators and the backpay for a number of employees, Columbia had a significant economic hit. Within a couple of months, the HR Director and Labor Relations Director were fired. Their replacements were more labor friendly, and the tone immediately changed. While we were hopeful, we continued to prepare for a strike.
Then the Plant Manager was let go. While they were searching for a replacement, we were approached about a one-year extension. The new team said they wanted an opportunity to work with the employees and try to establish a new relationship with their employees. We sat down and negotiated a rich one-year economic package and it was passed overwhelmingly. We are hopeful that this is the beginning of a much improved relationship.
On a sadder note, the final quarter also brought us the death of friend and co-worker, Business Agent Brian Davis. Brian passed unexpectedly, a great shock to all who knew him. And all who knew him know he was a great guy, a loving mate and father, a dedicated Agent, and a true trade unionist. We miss you, Brother Davis.
By: Patty Warren, Senior Business Agent
It’s been a while since I updated you on what’s going on in my corner. You have read about the ratification of the First Student contract. That was a long battle and we are all relieved it’s over. While that one is done, our battle with Corliss continues. Here is an update on Corliss and information on what else I’m working on now.
Unfair Labor Practice Charges. In March, the Judge’s decision finally issued. We had seven days of hearings at an unfair labor practice trial last August and it obviously took the Judge a long time to wade through all that information. The government shutdown didn’t help any. The decision found Corliss guilty of numerous violations of Federal labor law. Among other things, Corliss violated employee rights by:
- Unlawful termination of Don Sturdivan in retaliation for union activities
- Removing Jeff Cope from his truck in retaliation for union activities
- Threatening to never agree to a contract with the Union
- Threatening to retaliate against pro-union drivers
- Threatening to fire union supporters
- Interrogating employees about their support for the Union
We weren’t happy with some aspects of the decision, so we filed an appeal and are waiting for a ruling from the NLRB.Click HERE to read the decision
Sound Transit PLA grievances. When Corliss was awarded a piece of the Sound Transit job last fall, they had to sign an Agreement to abide by the PLA contract between Sound Transit and 174. They refused to sign the necessary documents to make the Pension and Medical payments and they refused to use 174’s hiring hall, both required by the contract. We filed grievances and those grievances were set for arbitration the morning of May 16. In a “Courthouse steps” settlement, Corliss agreed to sign the subscriptions agreements to enable the benefit payments, agreed to have their drivers working on the Sound Transit job register at the Hiring Hall and pay the necessary fees, and they agreed to make back payments to the hiring hall to July of 2013 and to the Pension and Medical Trusts to August 2013. In return, the Local agreed to a one-job contract covering the PLA work and agreed to allow Corliss to use its own drivers on that job.
We continue to represent the dump truck drivers and are working toward a first contract. Our recent victories have certainly shown Corliss Local 174 is up for a fight!
HERTZ EQUIPMENT RENTAL
We began bargaining a first contract for the Hertz drivers. They deliver primarily heavy equipment to construction-related companies and are a great fit for the Local. Hertz recently announced a spinoff of the HERC division into a separate company. That should happen early next year. Stay tuned for more news on that front.
SAND & GRAVEL
Negotiations have begun for new agreements in Sand & Gravel. Our last contract had a third-year opener for wages and benefits and we added on a fourth year at that time, so this is the first full negotiation for this group since 2010. Things are in the early stages but, as always, expectations are high. Those contracts expire at the end of July. We just got Cadman to voluntarily recognize the Local for representation of the Quality Control employees and they are going to join us at the bargaining table. Welcome to the Local Cadman QC!
Safeway negotiations begin next week. We will be doing joint bargaining on common issues with several other Teamster sister locals, including on economics, as well as bargaining separately on 174 issues. That contract expires mid July.
WASHINGTON STATE PATROL
We are involved in State Coalition bargaining with a number of other Unions for a contract covering our four new members working at the State Patrol. The CVEO 4’s supervise all the CDL programs in the state, including the school bus safety program. State bargaining is always slow and tedious, but we have to have an agreement ratified by October 1st in order to get the contracts in front of the State Legislature next year to approve the funding. The Washington State Patrol has started their relationship with us by attempting to take away wages and benefits these employees have enjoyed for years. We expect to take that fight to the Governor’s office soon.
By: Patty Warren, Senior Business Agent
VICTORY AT FIRST STUDENT
After more than seven years of organizing, the Seattle School bus drivers working for First Student voted to go Union in June.
The IBT had been working the campaign up until two years ago. At that point, the Local took over the group. Working with the organizing committee made the difference. This was a member-driven campaign, with the committee making the decisions on how to go about getting the cards necessary to file for an election.
We went to an election last September but narrowly lost. We filed Objections to the Election and an Unfair Labor Practice Charge. A combined Objections and ULP hearing was held in January. The Judge ruled in our favor, and the Employer appealed to the Board. The Board upheld the Judge’s decision. At that Point, First decided not to take the case into the Court system and we agreed to another election in early June, right before the end of the school year.
Thanks to the hard work put in by Abe Taylor, who is now on staff full time as our Organizer, we turned that loss into a win. Thanks also to the organizing committee, who over a long and at times vicious seven-year battle, never gave up their fight for recognition.
We had a well-attended demands meeting, elected a six-person bargaining committee (there are four different locations, two of them with over 100 drivers) and have set our first bargaining dates. The negotiations will be a challenge. We want to bargain over the summer with the hopes of getting a contract before the start of the school year in September. Unfortunately, the Employer’s negotiator is saying she is booked up with only a few available dates. It’s unfortunate, because we want to minimize the possibility of any labor dispute which could interfere with our children’s ability to get to school. Maybe we can yet turn the light bulb on over First Student’s head and they will find a way to free up some more dates.
WASTE MANAGEMENT 4-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION
Last year, we agreed to extend our Allied contract by two years. It was due to expire in 2014. We agreed to extend that contract to line up with CleanScapes, which was already set to expire in 2016. A lot of municipality contracts will be up for bid over that couple of year period, and Allied was interested in labor peace. We wanted to make sure they met the CleanScapes economics and we achieved that goal.
Waste Management then contacted us about an extension. They were due to expire in 2015. We offered them a one-year extension, also on the condition they match the CleanScapes money. They were not interested in a one year extension, they came in and proposed a four year deal. Secretary-Treasuer and Joint Council 28 President Rick Hicks told them they would not only have to meet the CleanScapes economics, which was an increase in wages alone of over $1 an hour, but they had to convince us that we should let them lead the way.
I believe he mentioned something about an armored truck full of money (I had just asked for a wheelbarrow). We were able to reach an agreement, which was overwhelmingly ratified by our Waste Management membership. In addition to getting a great deal for the drivers, we were able to leverage a resolution on the economics for the dispatchers and clean up a couple of outstanding disputes with Waste about retention bonuses and severance pay (the data dispatching duties are being relocated to Portland along with half the jobs). It was the epitome of a win-win deal.
Waste has new management in our area. Dean Kattler was replaced by Jason Rose. Jason is a hands-on guy, and immediately set out to improve the relationship with the Union. Our first meeting was a love-fest. He said all the right things, he engaged the stewards in some productive discussions, and he promised a new day. Tim Crosby was not even there. We were told he is “exploring new business opportunities” for the Company in Spokane. We wish Tim all the luck in that arena.
Ken Marshall talked about the enormous pile of grievances he has had with Waste over the years and Jason promised that would change. We walked away hopeful, but talk is cheap. Since then it has proven not to be cheap talk. Jason has continued to be proactive in his relationship with us and the disciplinary actions and grievances have gone way down. Ken has worked our end to make sure we have open communication and productive discussions with Jason. So far, we are pleased with our improved relationship
CORLISS UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES
We were certified to represent the truck drivers (not the redi-mix) in December of 2012, after an initial election, a loss, objections to an election, a second election, and, thanks to Abe Taylor and Michael Gonzales, along with an outstanding organizing committee, a victory at the second election. Sound familiar?
Corliss chose not to contest the second election, and we were certified as the representative in late December. We have been bargaining since January and getting nowhere at the table. The entire time, the Company has been engaging in unfair labor practices. They have threatened and retaliated against union supporters, have made numerous illegal statements about the consequences of going union, given preference in assignments to employees who are known anti-union advocates, and otherwise violated the law.
The NLRB issued a complaint against Corliss with over 20 individual illegal statements along with other violations of the law. We had a hearing set for July 16, but through legal maneuvers, the Company has managed to get a delay. Our supporters there have stood strong against a deluge of abuse, and will see that pay off. A victory with the ULP will include positive economic outcome for the union supporters. Hang in there, guys!