Contract Talks

Landing contract with Nestles takes four years

After an almost four-year battle, in September, the 23 drivers and salespeople who work for Nestles in San Leandro and San Ramon finally ratified a new five-year contract. “The agreement includes improvements and guarantees for all of our members in terms of annual earnings, pension increases, and health and welfare increases,” reports Local 853 President Bob Strelo. “It also includes a legal settlement for enhanced severance, voluntary opt-out for employees who want to leave early and a significant sum of money.”

Photo of Fred Ramirez

“After trying to get the members to take some serious concessions, it’s clear that Nestles just wanted to bust the union,” Strelo says. “But the members all stayed and fought it out. We held them off from implementing their final contract until the court and legal action could come to a head.” The Local filed a series of legal charges charging that the employer had violated laws regarding lunch and rest breaks.

“In all the years that I’ve been doing this job, I’ve never seen a group hang so closely and so together. Historically, it’s hard to get members to stay strong during a prolonged fight like this. But this group was above and beyond,” Strelo says, and adds that Local 853 is the only organized group left within Nestles still holding a union contract.

Strelo wanted to be sure to recognize the combined efforts of the IBT Dairy Division, headed by Rome Aloise, Joint Council 7 and Costa Kerestenzis and Teague Paterson from the law firm of Beeson, Tayer and Bodine, who handled the court case.

Photo of Dave Glafke  Photo of Steve Muti  Photo of Barry Rosenburg

Work on first contracts progresses

Organizing and winning the union election is just the first step in a long, and all-too difficult process. Once the members have fought to win their election, and the NLRB has certified it, then, some say, the hardest work begins. That’s the nuts and bolts of being in a union, and getting a collective bargaining agreement, signed and sealed by the union and the employer and ratified by the members.

Currently, after successful union campaigns at the following companies, business agents are negotiating first contracts. Stu Helfer is in negotiations with RDS (Redwood Debris Box) in Burlingame.

Adolph Felix is heading up the talks with Eldon’s Five Star in San Francisco and San Rafael and First Student in Oakland. The First Student employees held their first proposal meeting in December.

Facebook is anxious to have the organizing drive behind them, so they are pushing for Loop Transportation to settle the first contract quickly. Secretary-Treasurer Rome Aloise is confident that the drivers will have a good contract by the end of 2014. 

Changing the face of high-tech

Photo of Jesse Jackson with Doug Bloch and Rodney Smith

On December 9, Teamsters joined with Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow PUSH organization at a meeting at Intel’s Santa Clara headquarters. Together, Teamsters and Rainbow PUSH are looking to change the face of the technology sector. The meeting pulled together representatives from Google, Intel, Pandora, and Cisco to discuss the delayed inclusion of minorities in the tech world. From left: Joint Council 7 Political Coordinator Doug Bloch; Jesse Jackson, and Local 853 Organizer Rodney Smith

Local 853 joins with fast food workers

Photo of fast food workers marching for a union

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