Union Politics

Teamsters Local 853 and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Work with Washington Legislators to protect 500 Teamster 853 Members at Gillig Bus

Teamsters 853 members at Gillig bus manufacturing got a big boost from Local 853 and International Brotherhood of Teamsters general president Sean O’Brien last week. In 2020 legislation called the Transit Infrastructure Vehicle Security Funds Act was created. This bill was created and passed to prevent federal dollars from being allocated to foreign, state-supported, companies like Chinese bus manufacturing companies BYD and CRRC. However, there was a loophole in the legislation that allowed federal funds to still flow to these companies.

Teamster Local 853 leadership in conjunction with International Brotherhood of Teamsters general president Sean O’Brien have been working diligently to advocate for the over 500 Gillig jobs that are impacted by this loophole. Below is a letter to Congressional Representatives Eric Swalwell (D-CA), John Garamendi (D-CA), and Angie Craig (D-MN) in support of a bill these representatives penned called the Airport Infrastructure Vehicle Security Act.   This bill would further limit the federal purchase of vehicles manufactured by Chinese-owned or operated companies.

This legislative fight directly impacts 500 Teamster 853 members who work at Gillig, building American-made buses.

Teamsters Local 853 would like to thank General President Sean O’Brien, representatives U.S. Representatives Eric Swalwell (D-CA), John Garamendi (D-CA), and Angie Craig (D-MN) and the lobbyists who brought this matter to their attention, and for their continuing efforts to safeguard American security and union jobs. Please stay tuned as we keep you up to date on the results of these efforts and the passage of this legislation.

read the Letter below

Peter Ortiz, Domingo Candelas, Omar Torres

San Jose Members – These City Council Members Have your Back, Remember their Names During Election Time

We cannot do it alone. Cities and towns that support unions aren’t simply willed into being. Working and living in a city that supports unions is the result of vocal members of the community and body politic.

We, as Teamsters 853 members, have to be aware of the politics in our cities and towns and then actively vote for elected officials that support union workplaces.

In the case of San Jose, Teamsters Local 853 would like to acknowledge three city council members who have been recent standouts for supporting our members’ causes. They have worked to bring and maintain fair and equitable employment to the people who work and live in San Jose.

San Jose City Councilmember Peter Ortiz, who represents District 5

San Jose City Councilmember Omar Torres, who represents District 3

San Jose City Councilmember Domingo Candelas, who represents District 8

All three of these council members showed up at our Strike at Premier Recycle and also penned a letter to the owners of Premier Recycle expressing support for the workers there. Premier Recycle has benefited from many San Jose city contracts, so the influence on their business from these council members is considerable.

Thank you, Councilmembers Ortiz, Torres, and Candelas, for your support. You have our backs, and come election time; San Jose Teamsters will have yours!!

Below is the letter these council members wrote to the owners of Premier Recycle.

I’m just one member of Teamsters Local 853, What can I do?

Sisters and Brothers,

For the entire time you will be a Teamsters 853 member, you will hear from the leadership to get involved with your union. We throw out slogans like “We are stronger together”, and “Strength in numbers”.

But what does it really mean to get involved with the Teamsters 853 union? What can one member do to help. And how does that effort translate into helping our members or working women and men in general?

Three new members make a huge impact.

This is the story of Three Premier Recycler members in San Jose who stood up to testify to the San Jose City Council on wage theft. Their testimony contributed to convincing several council members to aggressively and publically stand up to Premier Recycle and advocate specifically for the workers and their contract.

Roughly a year ago, Premier Recycle workers in San Jose voted to unionize their workplace as Teamster 853 members. For the past year, Premier Recycle has employed standard union-busting tactics to stall a Union contract from moving forward. The longer they stall, the better it is for them.

So recently, Teamster 853 members Alex Obeso, Ramon Castillo, and Mike Flores from Premier Recycle, along with Business Agent Jesse Casqueiro and Vice President Ray Torres, took the opportunity to make statements to the San Jose City Council on wage theft in their industry.

Around the same time, a letter was written on behalf of three of the San Jose city council members to the company that owns Premier Recycle. This excerpt sums up the tone of the letter.

“We are well acquainted with the strategies you are all implementing to intimidate your workers from organizing and ensuring a quality workplace. We have heard concerns of safety & wage theft claims, falsification of votes, unwarranted surveillance and a general environment of hostility, division and divisiveness among other unfair labor practices.
Let it be known that we take jeopardizing the wellbeing of working families as a personal issue. The resilience and strength of San José is built upon the labor of the working-class. This is an understanding that many of our Council colleagues share. ”

San Jose Councilmember, Peter Ortiz

Read the whole letter from three San Jose council members to the owners of Premier Recycle.

This is the power of participation of just three members of Teamsters Local 853, who stepped up and decided to get involved. Their actions resulted in securing strong allies in government who will advocate for workers everywhere. 

So when you say, “I’m just one member of Teamsters Local 853, what can I do?” We say a lot!!! Now you know just one way members can change things for the better.

There are also simple ways to get involved in your union.

Teamsters are stronger together. Get involved in your Union, and make a difference!

Teamsters Local 853