More than 200 ready-mix Teamsters from five companies and three union locals meet in San Leandro to vote their new contract.

93% of drivers vote to approve new ready mix contract

By TERRY POST Steward at Bode Gravel and Bargaining committee member

On June 14, 2008, several hundred Bay Area ready mix Teamsters assembled at the John Muir Jr. High School in San Leandro to hear the details of a tentative agreement between Locals 287, 315 & 853 and CEMEX, Hanson, Central, Bode and Sugar City. When the counting of the ballots was over, the approval rate was a dramatic 93 per cent.

$9.20 over five years

Members overwhelmingly approved the agreement after anxiously listening to stewards and union officials who reviewed the negotiating process and outlined the specifics of the contract.

I wasn't surprised that the approval rate was so high. After all, the contract calls for $9.20 over five years, which includes $1.00 per year in wages and the rest going towards benefits. Not too bad considering the current shape of the economy (escalating cost of fuel, chaotic housing market, nation-wide loss of jobs, rising cost of health care, increased tuition and rising food prices).

Aloise leads negotiating team

As in 2001, Local 853 Secretary- Treasurer Rome Aloise led a negotiating team consisting of business representatives from Locals 287, 315 and 853 along with shop stewards from every “barn” covered under the agreement. The team spent six days in negotiations, including one 13- hour day.

And, as in 2001, it was Aloise who presented and absorbed, argued and enticed, wrote and re-wrote until an agreement was reached. Rome's ability to shape a discussion, prove a point, apply facts to destroy myths, reach back into contract history and manage to keep just a couple of steps ahead of everybody else was uncanny.

But it wasn't all Rome. There was ample time and opportunity for each of the 16 stewards to have a say. The stewards provided information specific to their own barns. They commented on proposed contract language, challenged other stewards for divergent views and argued with union officials when workplace reality butted up against false assumptions, myths and theories.

It was a group effort, to be sure. It was a democratic process, for certain. Was it a success? The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

Employers stick together (for now)

Negotiating a contract that kept the employers together as a group was vitally important if we were to focus our attention on the upcoming battle with Graniterock. If we would have had to negotiate two, three or four separate contracts, our time, energy and resources would have been diverted from our ongoing “war” with Graniterock's CEO Bruce Woolpert.

Great agreement

This is a great agreement. We realized significant annual wage increases, continued benefit payments and a five-year contract. In return, the employers got a little more flexibility and some relief from the State of California's burdensome meal break laws. All in all, we are in pretty good shape for the next few years.


Ready Mix Contract Vote

Terry Post and the bargaining committee on stage as Aloise presents the proposed contract

More than 200 ready-mix Teamsters from five companies and three union locals meet in San Leandro to vote their new contract