Local 853 works hard for members on many fronts

Secretary-Treasurer's Report - Spring/Summer 2013

Our Executive Board and staff have been working on numerous contracts and projects, making for a busy winter and spring at Local 853. Here are a few of the highlights.

Fight with VWR continues

One of our biggest battles recently has been with VWR. After more than 50 years as a Teamster employer in Brisbane, they closed down and reopened non-union in Visalia. We fought them here until the day they closed and then moved the fight to Visalia, where we assisted Local 948 in organizing the workers who took our members’ jobs for more than $14 less per hour.

VWR is the poster child for the fight against the way that Enterprise Zones—a state-funded employer subsidy— has been abused. The company refused to let our members move with them and then got paid by the government for “creating” jobs in Visalia. It is outrageous, and we intend to keep the pressure on VWR and the investment bankers that now own the company.

Back at Graniterock

On a good note, after years of battling with Graniterock in the streets and in the court room, we have settled our disputes with this company. In fact, we have recently started negotiations for the re-organized ready mix drivers in Redwood City and San Jose.

The change at Graniterock is a tremendous testament to our Local’s reputation for never walking away from a fight—even one that lasts for eight years. At this point, we’re bringing Graniterock employees back into our Local and, in turn, strengthening our hold in the ready mix industry.

New cement contracts

By a 97% margin, the drivers at Cemex and Central Concrete ratified a new three-year extension in April. The agreement provides for increased wages, higher pension and health and welfare contributions, and strengthened contract language.

Vice President Bo Morgan worked hard to make sure that the extension provided what our members needed going forward. This new contract continues to ensure that our members working in the ready mix industry are the highest-compensated workers in the country.

DBI deal

When DBI refused to move on language crucial to protecting our members rights and economic interests, we were forced to call a strike at the end of April. Of course, our DBI members were out there in strength. They were joined by Teamsters from other companies, along with our entire staff and representatives from nearby Locals. After just a few hours, the company called to meet, and it didn’t take long for them to withdraw their egregious proposals. Our members returned to work the following morning. Shortly thereafter, they voted, by a large margin, for a new five-year agreement that maintained their health and welfare coverage and gave them wage increases in each year.

I could go on and on about the various issues that our staff work on daily—from promoting important legislation to vigilant contract negotiations to educating our shop stewards to be as effective as possible. The Officers and Officials of Local 853 are working for you on many different levels, and we never forget that the members come first.