Local 853 members watch A's battle Giants

Teamsters Enjoy Battle of the Bay

On an overcast Memorial Day afternoon, more than 1,700 Teamsters and family members enjoyed a great tailgate barbecue (left) and exhibition game (top) of the Oakland As vs. the SF Giants. (The A’s took it 4-1!)


Photo of Local 853 trustee Ray Torres kicking the “corporate gravy train”

Unions band together to fight Enterprise Zones and “Corporate Gravy Train”

Local 853 trustee Ray Torres (above) kicks the “corporate gravy train” down the Capitol steps. This action took place at a labor rally in Sacramento on March 19 supporting Sen. Jerry Hill’s bill to dismantle California’s Enterprise Zone system. In the last several months, long-time Local 853 employers VWR and BlueLinx have used the EZ system to close union facilities and re-open with state subsidies in other parts of the state.

Photo of Kamala Harris and Rome Aloise

Teamsters Unity Conference

Local 853 Secretary-Treasurer Rome Aloise with Attorney General Kamala Harris at the Teamsters Unity Conference held in Las Vegas in May, 2013.





Pepsi Election Victory

On May 22, the salesmen at Pepsi Sunnyvale voted 10-3 to be represented by Teamsters Local 853.

The Local already represents the drivers and merchandisers at that facility. Several of the sales group had previously served in those capacities and missed having union representation. “The company would unilaterally change their pay, applied discipline inconsistently, and wouldn’t respond to issues that the salespeople raised,” says IBT International Rep Dennis Hart when explaining what made the group want to join the union.

Hart adds that the company, which has a history of fomenting decert elections and fighting organizing drives in surrounding areas, ran a typical anti-union campaign, “but Organizer Rodney Smith and Business Rep Jesse Casqueiro did a good job of letting our members know what to expect during a union drive.”

The Labor Board has certified the election. Hart plans to bring the sales group together for a proposal meeting in early June, and expects to start bargaining soon after.

“This is a small but symbolic victory,” adds Casqueiro. “It’s the first campaign at a Northern California Pepsi facility that the Teamsters have won in many years.” The organizing team hopes that this win bodes well for gaining ground in other Pepsi facilities, as well as with Coke salesmen.

Graniterock Update

Fueled by a wealthy CEO who had money to burn in his effort to dump the union, Teamster Locals 287, 853, 912, and 890 and Graniterock had been on a collision course. Starting with a bitter strike in 2004, there were continuous lawsuits, strikes, NLRB charges, and decertification efforts that only ended when that CEO died in a boating accident in 2012.

Later that year, Local 853 Secretary-Treasurer Rome Aloise met with Graniterock’s new CEO, Tom Squeri, to find new and less combative ways to move forward. After long negotiations with the four locals and numerous attorneys, both sides agreed to put the past behind and move forward to build a decent working relationship.

“The lawsuit and continual distraction of the dispute took away from what we needed to be doing—organizing the non-union ready mix companies that threaten our members’ wages and benefits,” said Aloise. “It was time to settle the disputes and move on."

In February, 2013, after being out of the union, the ready mix drivers from Redwood City and San Jose contacted Locals 853 and 287 and wanted to come back. In March, by an overwhelming margin, they voted to have Teamster representation again. Welcome back!