To stay strong, we need to bring in new members

Secretary-Treasurer's Report - Labor Day 2014

It has been a busy summer for all of us at Local 853. It used to seem like the summer months would be quieter than the rest of year. After all, many of our members would be on vacation with their families, and perhaps more importantly, management would be gone on vacation and the problems would slow down for a couple of months. But, that isn’t the case any longer. We are busy here with contracts, grievances, organizing and special projects all year-round, every day and month.

On the organizing front, our organizer Rodney Smith has been very busy this year. We have won a number of elections, and also have been able to get recognition from a number of companies.

Our business agents have joined in to assist as they know the importance of bringing new members into Local 853.

Organizing is a difficult but very vital job in our Local. Many of you came into the Teamsters Union and benefited by being a represented worker. You know how hard it is to even vote for the union, given the employer’s constant barrage of antiunion propaganda and illegal tactics. When you think of what it takes to get a union in your workplace, it is absolutely amazing that we can bring the advantages to workers at all.

The cards are stacked against workers. Plain and simple, the methods given to workers to seek representation are outdated, weighted towards the employer, and in many cases, totally unworkable. However, it doesn’t change the fact that for our Local to continue to be strong and viable and to be able to represent you the best way we can, we need to bring new members into our Local. This helps the new workers, and makes our local bigger and stronger.

Many of our members have volunteered to assist in organizing new members. This is a large help to getting the job done. Our members, who in the same type of jobs as those we are trying to organize, can lend credibility to our cause when they take the time to tell non-union workers directly that they do the same job, but make better wages, have better benefits, and most importantly, have a say about what happens to them on the job! Often, our members are also protecting their own jobs by getting the competition organized and bringing their wages and benefits up to our contracts. This is important for job security.

If you are interested in being involved in building your union, and protecting your job, give Rodney a call.

This subject matter also necessitates that I bring up the fact that many of our members have little appreciation of what the Union and their fellow members do for them. Local 853 is a very diverse union and we represent workers in many industries, who do many different jobs. Without exception, our contracts are some of the finest in the nation. Our construction contracts, including ready-mix, are without question, the best in the country. Gillig Corporation, the last bus builder left in the nation that builds the entire bus from the bottom up, is the highest paid and benefited manufacturing company in California. Our dairy and liquor contracts are second to none, and I could go on and on about the superior contracts in our Local.

Why are our contracts better? Because we have strong members who value their union and understand that unity produces strength. Our members take care of each other. In short, we have each other’s backs! This newsletter is going out just as Labor Day approaches. You’ll probably see the media focus on how labor unions are shrinking. Rest assured that your local union, Local 853, is growing and getting stronger every day. Happy Labor Day! Support it proudly.