Union Politics

Teamsters Win Battle in the Robotaxi War

Sisters and Brothers,

Over the past weeks and months, the Teamsters in the Bay Area have been focusing on the growing danger that the Robotaxi and autonomous driving vehicles technology poses to Teamsters’ jobs and public safety.

We had the big rally in Sacramento to bring attention to AB316 legislation to Governor Newsom’s attention, and most recently, the rally at the SF Cruise Headquarters to draw public attention to the threat of this unvetted technology being pushed by corporate greed.

And although we don’t win every battle, as evidenced by Governor Newsom’s veto of AB316, it’s the constant pressure and willingness to keep fighting that keeps big tech power in check and under the scrutiny of the public eye.

And, it’s this effort that allows us to claim victory in a battle in this war. Last week, the California DMV, which has oversight over autonomous vehicle development, suspended all RoboTaxi permits in San Francisco, where they were being allowed to be tested. Stopping the entire program, with immediate effect.

It’s a lesson that we continually learn: if you, as a Teamster, come out and support our causes along with Teamster 853 staff, we slow or stop the momentum that corporate greed creates. So, we want to publically acknowledge all the sisters and brothers who made the effort to come out to a rally, support the preparation, or spread the word to keep awareness of our causes in the public eye. You make this victory possible, and without your help and participation, we cannot succeed.

“Something that some of our newer members may be just learning is that when it comes to political action, our union is not always about what our staff can do for our members, but it is what our members do for each other.” Said Steve Beck, Teamster 853 Secretary-Treasurer, “I’ve said it many times: ITS YOUR UNION, and participation at this level is a way to take ownership of your Union and help each other out.”

Stay tuned to this space as we continue to stay active in the interest of our Teamster members.

In Union,

Steve Beck, Steven Lua, and the entire Teamster Staff

Teamsters Local 853 Staff and Executives Attend Labor Day Breakfast with Rob Bonta, The Attorney General of California

Teamsters Local 853 continued its tradition of strengthening their business relationships with top California government officials. This Labor Day, the California Attorney General, Rob Bonta spoke to Teamsters in the Bay Area at the annual Labor Day breakfast in San Francisco.

California is arguably the most Pro-Union state in the Country, and we got here by electing officials who share our values to prop up the middle class with good-paying Union Jobs. So it is important to foster relationships with key State officials to help press our agenda for Unions and workers everywhere in California.

Continuing the Legacy of Those Who Came Before Us.

853 Sisters and Brothers,

Labor Day holds immense significance for Teamster members as it commemorates our union’s hard-fought victories and enduring Solidarity. This day honors the dedication of those who rallied for workers’ rights, leading to better wages, improved working conditions, and the establishment of unions. It reminds us of the power of collective action and the ongoing struggle for fair treatment in our workplaces.

Union members celebrate Labor Day not only as a moment to rest but also as a testament to their ongoing commitment to preserving and advancing workers’ rights across various industries, embodying the essence of unity and progress.

👉 It is crucial as Teamster Members to understand that our good jobs came from the struggle of so many before us. And that without regular participation in this process, our good jobs will suffer under the pressure of corporate greed and exploitation.

👉 When you celebrate your day off for Labor Day this coming Monday, please consider our past and what you might do to further our cause that so many before us started.

In Solidarity,

Steve Beck, Steven Lua, and the entire Teamster 853 Staff

Rally for Good Jobs and Safe Streets – Can you attend?

Sisters and Brothers,

It’s no secret that the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence is reshaping entire industries. This is triggering unprecedented changes in how we live and work and threatens the livelihoods of millions of working people nationwide.
Teamster drivers are at the forefront of this fight as autonomous vehicles are rolled out across the state.
Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) on public roads with little regulation and without a human operator are fatal threats to Californians’ lives and livelihoods.
Join Teamsters and California Labor as we caravan across the state to our Capitol in Sacramento to call on Gov. Newsom to sign AB 316 to protect good union jobs and keep our streets safe.


Sacramento Capital
Sutter Health Park 
400 Ballpark Dr 
W. Sacramento, CA 95691 

Tuesday, Sept. 19 @10am 


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