Organizing for the future...

More Shuttle Bus Drivers Come On Board

The 15 drivers who work for We Drive U and shuttle workers to Salesforce in San Francisco and San Mateo succeeded in getting card-check recognition for the union in November. Negotiations for a first contract are just getting under way. “We have good momentum going forward,” says Business Agent Stacy Alvelais, “and we’re hopeful to have a contract very soon.”

Organizers Rodney Smith and Tracy Kelley are talking with the drivers at several other shuttle companies, and are hopeful to be able to report many more organizing victories in the near future. “As always, our goal is to drive up standards and organize the industry,” says Smith.

Workers at Golden State Lumber Want Union Representation

Photo of Stu Helfer and Golden State Lumber workers

By a three-to-one margin, employees at Golden State Lumber in Newark, voted to be represented by Local 853 back in August.

The 26-person unit which includes drivers, load builders, yard men, saw operators, forklift operators, lumber handlers, lumber shippers and receivers chose Local 853 despite the meetings held by management that tried to convince them otherwise.

After working at Golden State for a year and getting injured twice, Francisco Estrada said he supported the union to get something better for himself and his family. “Also, I wanted protection from the boss’ bad attitude.”

Golden State Lumber operates both union and non-union facilities in Northern California. “The company did not charge any less for their products in an unrepresented yard, but put the additional profits in its pocket, rather than compensating those doing the work,” explains Organizer Rodney Smith. “The employees in Newark have been doing the same work as those in the unionized yards. They deserve the same compensation.”

“I’m glad we voted for Local 853 and look forward to a better future as Teamsters,” said Nick Guinea, a driver who comes from a union family and is credited with initiating the organizing drive.

According to Business Agent Stu Helfer, negotiations for a first contract are underway, but going slowly. “At some point, we may need to take some action to push things along.”

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