Del Mar Foods Members kick off the first contract negotiation meeting with what’s expected to be a hard-fought battle for living wages in one of the most expensive counties in California.

On Saturday, March 25, led by Teamsters Local 853 President Steven Lua, Teamsters 853 kicked off a contract campaign for Del Mar Foods members who are ready to rise up and fight for the wages they deserve. Del Mar Foods is a food processing plant that packages frozen foods and employees 100 members year round and up to 300 members during the seasonal peak from April through October. Based in Watsonville Ca, these members work and live in one of the most expensive counties in California. The current wages are incredibly difficult to live off of and this movement to become a united force and demand a livable wage is the only way we can assure that the members will be heard during bargaining. When we negotiated our previous agreement during the pandemic, we received increases that had never been seen before. Although it seemed like a win at the time, rising costs have made those wage increases from the previous agreement feel like we are back at square one.

Our hope is that Del Mar Foods takes this campaign to heart and is willing to pay wages that will allow our members to live in the city they work in. We want Del Mar Foods to know that these members have the backing of the local and we are prepared to do everything possible to assure a living wage. Negotiations will commence in April and we will continue to meet regularly with our members to keep up the good fight as a strong and united force.

El sábado 25 de marzo, dirigido por el presidente de Teamsters Local 853, Steven Lua, iniciamos una campaña de contratos para los miembros de Del Mar Foods que están listos para levantarse y luchar por los salarios que se merecen. Del Mar Foods es una planta de procesamiento de frutas y vegetables que envasa alimentos congelados y cuenta con 100 miembros durante todo el año y hasta 300 miembros durante el pico estacional de abril a octubre. Con sede en Watsonville Ca, estos miembros trabajan y viven en uno de los condados más caros de California. Es increíblemente difícil vivir con los salarios actuales y este movimiento para convertirse en una fuerza unida y exigir un salario digno es la única forma en que podemos asegurar que los miembros serán escuchados durante la negociación. Cuando negociamos nuestro acuerdo anterior durante la pandemia, recibimos aumentos que nunca antes se habían visto. Aunque parecía una victoria en ese momento, el aumento de los costos ha hecho que esos aumentos salariales del acuerdo anterior se sientan como si estuviéramos de vuelta en el punto de partida.

Nuestra esperanza es que Del Mar Foods se tome en serio esta campaña y esté dispuesta a pagar salarios que permitan a nuestros miembros vivir en la ciudad en la que trabajan. Queremos que Del Mar Foods sepa que estos miembros tienen el respaldo del local y que nosotros estámos preparados para hacer todo lo posible para asegurar un salario digno. Las negociaciones comenzarán en abril y continuaremos reuniéndonos regularmente con nuestros miembros para continuar la buena batalla como una fuerza fuerte y unida.

UPS Negotiations Update – March 17th

Teamsters Local 853 Sisters and Brothers working for UPS,

The Northern California Teamsters Committee met the week of March 17, 2023, and concluded a weeklong bargaining session with UPS on the Nor Cal Sort and Supplemental Agreements. The Committee continued working on proposals and counterproposals, however, there have not been any new tentative agreements. Many of the problems our members face each day are problems that UPS created, and that UPS has failed thus far to adequately address in these negotiations. The Union Committee had face-to-face across-the-table bargaining each day; actual time has been minimal. Many of the problems UPS has failed to correct include but are not limited to Vacation accrual and selection process, payroll errors, Market Rate Adjustment, and Route Bidding. Grievance Procedure, Seniority Lists, and Approved Leave. While this committee is committed to improving our agreement, holding UPS accountable to resolve problems they’ve created is fundamental. UPS continues to put a monetary cost to all of the Union proposals as UPS continues to propose language that would affect holiday pay, delayed starts, and the work week. Tentative dates have been agreed to for the week of April 10th thru the 14th.

Performance Food Group in Gilroy – Congratulations – Let’s get it done and get to the finish line.

Performance Food Group in Gilroy,

On behalf of Teamsters Local 853, we want to congratulate you on taking the first step to better Wages, Benefits, and Protections at your workplace by voting to unionize.

Our entire local of 13,000 members have your back and will support you in getting to the next step of getting a great contract.

Trust us; we will get this done well for you. But the road is hard, and we must all be strong.

Thank you to our Sister Local members who work for Performance Food Group down in the City of Industry. They have your back too. Here are two messages from Teamsters Local 630 from those members who know.

Let’s get it done!!

Ray Torres, Vice-President, Teamsters Local Union 853

Argent Materials drivers organize and ratify first contract

The employees at Argent Materials in Oakland unanimously voted for union representation in November 2021 and in August 2022, their first contract was signed, sealed, and delivered.

These workers are dump truck drivers who pick up broken-up concrete and bring it to a recycling yard and they deliver construction aggregate products. “Their first-time agreement includes increases to wages, health and welfare through the Teamster Benefit Trust, and contributions into the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust Fund, and much, much more,” said Business Rep Stu Helfer.

“I’d like to give thanks to all of the members at Argent for their support during the negotiations – and their ability to stay out of trouble so that they got a great contract,” Helfer added.

Sharpening pencils brings up First Student drivers\’ wages

The contract for the 60 school bus drivers at First Student in San Jose had expired in August 2020, but because COVID was hot and heavy, the union decided to do an indefinite extension. “We had no idea what was going on in the world,” says Business Rep Tracy Kelley. “Schools shut down in March and never re-opened. Students were distance learning for more than a year, and there was no bus service at all. Would it ever re-start? At that point, we had no idea what the future held.” Kelley adds that this unit was already underpaid by the industry standard, and being unable to work just added insult to injury.

In October 2021, the drivers were back to work and it seemed like things were moving in a positive way, so Kelley opened up the contract for negotiations. “Our members turned down the company’s first offer because it was so sub-par,” Kelly explains, adding that he advised the company to try to get more money out of the school district. “We met with the company again and they sharpened their pencils and presented us a much better offer, proving significant increases from where they started.” Even though the union would like to see significant increases in the future, the members passed the contract unanimously in June.

Many thanks to Lupe Avalos and Lucy Seramento who did a great job representing their co-workers at the bargaining sessions.

Historic wage increases at Pak N Save

The 175 employees at these two stores ratified their new five-year contract in June and will collect historic wage increases, while the union succeeded in eliminating some steps in the wage progression.

“Our members do everything—from being head clerks to utility clerks to meat clerks—they were the ultimate essential workers,” says Business Rep Jonathan Pinney. “The industry offered $2/hour ‘hazard pay’ raises during the pandemic, but then withdrew those quickly, even as the pandemic lingered for another few years. At least now, they can begin to catch up to where they should be.”

Hertz – Oakland Airport – Big boost in hard-hit industry

If you rent a car from Hertz at the Oakland Airport, likely it will have been serviced by Teamster members. Thirty Local 853 members work as Vehicle Service Attendants who wash and detail returned rentals, and Tire and Lube Mechanics who change the cars’ oil and tires, and do basic maintenance.

These members and the whole airport car rental industry were hard hit during the height of the pandemic when airport travel dropped to almost zero. But as travel has gotten busy again, these workers needed a raise, and they definitely got one.

Business Rep Jonathan Pinney reports that the negotiations took nine long months. “The members will get a very substantial raise over the three-year contract duration, with a huge boost the first year. They also got large checks representing nine months of retro pay.” They’ll also see increases to their pension and vacation benefits while maintaining the current cost-sharing on the Teamsters health plan.

Student Transportation of America (STA) drivers to get more, faster

The 75 members at STA in San Jose ratified their new three-year contract in July. “In addition to getting substantial raises each year, they doubled their number of sick days, from the bare minimum of three up to six; and they squeezed what was a 10-year progression to achieve the top wage rate down to five, getting them to the top wage rate that much quicker,” says Business Rep Jerry Cordova.

Tech Bus Contract opened for 800 members

The master contract just opened for about 800 bus drivers who work at four companies (Hallcon, WeDriveYou, Compass, Mosaic) and shuttle employees to their offices in the Silicon Valley from across the Bay Area and the Valley. Their first meeting was in July, and many more are slated for September. The contract has been extended until the end of September. Watch this space for more news.

Experience brings results at Kellogg\’s

In 2021 and 2022, the workers at the Kellogg’s facilities in Nebraska, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Kansas had to go on strike for nearly three months to get a decent contract. When the contract at the Kellogg\’s Eggo Waffle facility in San Jose was due to expire in June, that recent history was all too real for the 150 Local 853 members and Business Rep Ray Torres.

“It took a lot of internal organizing and educating the membership for at least a year before the proposals even started,” said Chief Steward Eric Calderon. “We knew we had a long, hard fight ahead of us. But we also knew that the company was fearful of us taking the same position that the mid-west locals had.” Fortunately, with two strike authorizations in hand, no strike was necessary and, in May, the members ratified their best contract ever.

The four-year contract includes substantial annual wage increases, maintenance of benefits for the health and welfare for the life of the contract, and significant pension contribution increases. It also includes a slew of additional benefits, like company-supplied tools, additional sick days, a jury duty benefit, more sick leave, better bidding language, and more.

“We had a strong committee of five stewards with more than 120 years of service at the company,” Torres adds. “Not only are they experienced stewards, but they also know the ins and outs of this company. At our opening bargaining session, we learned that the management side had less than 10 years experience at the company, combined.”

Torres says that after the members rejected the company’s first offer, “we gave them one more chance to sweeten the deal with a two-hour zoom negotiating session. At the end of that session, we had a recommended offer.”