(VISALIA, Calif.) – On Thursday, February 14, 68 employees of VWR in Visalia voted affirmatively to join Teamsters Local 948 in an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board. The election punctuates a very high profile and controversial move by the company from the Bay Area to Visalia and continues the Teamsters’ struggle with the company.
VWR, which was founded as a local California company, has grown into a global corporation, reporting more than $4.1 billion in sales for 2011. The Teamsters have represented VWR employees at their distribution center in Brisbane for over 50 years. For most of that time, labor-management relations were good. But when Madison Dearborn, a Chicago-based private equity firm, bought the company in 2007 things quickly changed.
In the midst of contract negotiations in 2010, VWR announced plans to close its Brisbane distribution center and move its operations 220 miles south to a new 500,000-square-foot facility in Visalia. The company did not offer their employees the right to transfer.
VWR benefited from federal, state and local subsidies to open its distribution center. The City of Visalia agreed to pay VWR the $1.3 million it needed for road and sewer improvements for the facility and granted VWR a delay in paying more than $500,000 in local impact fees until April 2016.
VWR’s move was highlighted in state hearings examining the Enterprise Zone program, which enables the company to secure up to $3 million in “job creation” tax credits from the State. Under the program, the company is not eligible for credits if they allowed their Brisbane employees to transfer.
“The State of California and the City of Visalia have invested millions in VWR to help the company build their new distribution center, but they didn’t want to invest it back in their employees,” said Rome Aloise, President of Teamsters Joint Council 7.
Despite VWR’s long history of providing California workers good wages, pensions and health care, VWR offered starting wages in Visalia of $10/hour – an average $12/hour less than what Bay Area employees earned for doing the same work. With that in mind, Visalia employees contacted the Teamsters and voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Union.
“Visalia VWR employees are telling the company they want equal pay for equal work,” said Adam Ochoa, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 948 in Visalia. “We hope that VWR will sit down with us and negotiate a fair contract.”
VWR and the City of Visalia still face ongoing environmental litigation in state and federal court, having lost in the 5th District Court of Appeals last year and more recently when the California Supreme Court denied their motion to appeal. Attorney General Kamala Harris filed an amicus brief in support of the environmental, community, and Labor plaintiffs in the case.
Teamsters Joint Council 7 represents 120,000 working men and women in Northern California, the Central Valley, and Northern Nevada. We are the largest union in the Central Valley, with 40,000 members between Bakersfield and Sacramento.
Our members work in trucking, warehousing/distribution, freight, food processing, dairies, solid waste/recycling, public services, beverages, and more.
On January 29, 2013, by a 15-7 vote, workers at the Avis Budget Group chose to join Local 385 in Orlando, Florida.
There are 27 workers in the bargaining unit, located at Orlando International Airport. The workers are “keyloaders,” the people responsible for making sure vehicles being rented have full tanks of gas, are clean and otherwise ready for customers.
The victory was the workers’ third attempt at forming their union.
“The third time’s a charm,” said Roger Allain, a Business Agent and Organizer with Local 385. “During the previous two campaigns, the company made promises in its attempt to get workers to vote no. The workers are tired of those empty, false promises and they voted to form a union this time so that they will have a strong voice on the job once and for all.”
The workers are seeking fair pay, a workplace where rules don’t constantly change, communication from management and dignity and respect on the job.
Regarding pay, for example, one worker has been on the job for 22 years and earns just $12 an hour, Allain said.
“We will now work hard to negotiate a strong first contract for the workers that will address their many concerns,” said Mike Stapleton, Local 385 President.
Local 385 already represents the service agents at Avis and the rental agents at Budget.
Workers with United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) in Baltimore have voted unanimously, 29-0, to be represented by Teamsters Local 570, also in Baltimore.
The aides decided to join the Teamsters after UCP bus drivers voted 17-1 in favor of joining Local 570 in August. The aides work with adults with cerebral palsy, a group of chronic conditions affecting body movement and muscle coordination.
Jacqueline Lewis was one of the workers who voted in favor of Teamster representation. Lewis, a personal development assistant, helps care for and assists in transporting clients with cerebral palsy, many of whom use wheelchairs.
“I joined the union for equal opportunity, fairness and better conditions for all of us,” Lewis said. “It’s time for a union. It’s time all jobs have unions because we all need a voice.”
“The unanimous vote sends a clear, strong signal from the employees that they really want the union to work on their behalf. They believe they have not been treated with dignity and respect in many areas, and have confidence that Local 570 can best represent them,” said Sean Cedenio, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 570.
Truck drivers who work for Sherwood Food Distributors’ Buffalo, N.Y. location have voted to join Teamsters Local 264 today. The vote was supervised by officials from the National Labor Relations Board. The eight drivers run a shuttle operation from Cleveland, Ohio, that distributes food products throughout the area, traveling as far to the east as Syracuse, N.Y.
Sherwood Foods is one of the nation’s largest independent distributors in the meat and food industry. With more than 5,000 customers and a fleet of 250 trucks, Sherwood delivers more than 16 million pounds of product each week. Like their union counterparts at other Sherwood Food locations across the country, this new group of Teamsters is seeking fair pay, affordable benefits, improved safety and job security in the workplace.
“This new group of workers is comprised of dedicated professionals who are seeking the dignity, justice, and respect that a Teamsters negotiated contract will bring,” said M. Scott Chismar, Teamsters Local 264 Director of Organizing. “We are looking forward to sitting down with the company to negotiate a labor contract within the next few weeks.”
Teamsters Local 264 represents nearly 5,000 members throughout Western New York in both the public and private sectors.
Yes, we did it! A majority of AA mechanics and related at Tulsa and Alliance Fort Worth have already signed their Teamster cards. And our brothers and sisters at other stations are rapidly signing up to support strong representation with the Teamsters.
Check out these photos of Tulsa and AFW mechanics who celebrated after reaching majority!
If you haven’t signed a card yet, click here to contact a Teamster organizer in your area and join the movement for change at AA. Share this with your coworkers so they can sign their cards, too!
We’re well on our way to making a change toward powerful Teamster representation. During these tough times for AA mechanics and related, it’s more important than ever that we have the support of a strong airline union with an unbeatable track record when it comes to representing mechanics and related in our industry. The Teamsters are the only union that can fight for us and WIN!
If you have not signed a Teamster card, we urge you to do so as soon as possible! Soon we will have a majority of cards system-wide and we’ll petition the National Mediation Board to schedule our election.
Talk to an organizer, sign your card and get involved in our exciting campaign today!
With the Teamsters We Can Win
For more information, visit www.teamster.org/aamx or call the AA Mechanics for Teamsters campaign hotline at 877-589-4951.
(WASHINGTON) – School bus drivers and monitors at Illinois Central School Bus in Aurora and Montgomery, Ill., have voted by an overwhelming 4 to 1 margin to join Teamsters Local 777 in Lyons, Ill. The 92 workers joined together seeking improved safety and working conditions at the nation’s fifth-largest provider of school bus transportation.
“It’s great that we won our union and I’m looking forward to a better life for all of us. We need fair pay, sick time and safety issues to be resolved,” said Belarmino Sagols, a driver.
This is the seventh Illinois Central location to join the Teamsters in recent months. Since April, 673 workers at seven Illinois Central school bus yards have become Teamsters.
Teamster school bus drivers and monitors recently ratified a master agreement with Illinois Central that improves working conditions and secures job and school bus safety protections. The agreement was ratified by an overwhelming 3 to 1 margin.
Economic terms and additional workplace improvements will be negotiated in a supplemental agreement at the Aurora and Montgomery locations.
“We welcome these hardworking drivers and monitors to the Teamsters and look forward to negotiating a strong contract that honors their service,” said Jim Glimco, President of Local 777.
The victory is the latest in an effort to organize private school bus and transit workers across the country. Drive Up Standards is a national campaign to improve safety, service and work standards in the private school bus and transit industry. Since the campaign began in 2006, more than 35,000 drivers, monitors, aides, attendants and mechanics have become Teamsters.
For more information on the Drive Up Standards campaign, go to www.driveupstandards.org.
Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.
(Washington, D.C.) – Flight dispatchers at Allegiant Air have voted to join Teamsters Local 986, the Teamsters Airline Division announced today. There are 21 dispatchers in the bargaining unit and the vote was 15 to 5.
The flight dispatchers at Allegiant, subsidiary of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Company, are joining approximately 350 Allegiant pilots who voted to join the Teamsters in August 2012. Dispatchers want fair treatment, a strong voice on the job, and the security of a Teamster contract.
“This vote for the Teamsters is another great victory for employees at Allegiant Air,” said Capt. David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division. “We are thrilled that flight dispatchers have elected to stand together along with the pilots and we look forward to helping them build a better future at Allegiant.”
“We are excited to have the Teamsters with us to negotiate a strong, fair contract and to make Allegiant more of a career airline for dispatchers,” said Brian Moyer, an Allegiant dispatcher who was active in the organizing effort. “This has been a year-long effort, but we saw what the pilots did and it motivated us to make the final push to become Teamsters.”
“The Airline Division and Teamsters Local 986 welcome our new brothers and sisters to the Teamster family,” said Clacy Griswold, Airline Division Coordinator of Local 986 and International Representative of the Airline Division. “We’re proud of the dedication and solidarity of the Allegiant flight dispatchers and we look forward to providing them with first class representation. I also want to thank Organizer Ron Seamans, Jr. and the Organizing Committee for doing such excellent work in a short period of time.”
Teamsters Local 986 represents airline workers employed by Air Canada, Allegiant Air, Aloha Air Cargo, Continental Airlines, Continental Micronesia, Horizon Airways, Trans Air, United Airlines, US Airways, and World Airways.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.