Bill Ames Retires

Photo of Bill Ames with Trustees Scott Gonsalves and Joel Bellison

Bill Ames has been a loyal Local 853 member working at Gillig for more than 41 years. His career there started in July, 1977 and he retired in January.

The company hosted a retirement luncheon to celebrate his long career at the company and Local 853 Trustees Scott Gonsalves and Joel Bellison were on hand to present him with a Teamster jacket.

Congratulations Bill—the Local wishes you a long and happy retirement.

Members at Compass Transportation have a new contract

On March 23, the 240 members at Compass Transportation ratified a new four-year agreement. “While this was not a part of the master agreement and had to be negotiated separately, it was ultimately as good, if not better than the master,” says Stacy Murphy, who led the negotiating team.

“The members had voted down the company’s first offer and ratified it the second time around only after the company increased the ‘park out pay’,” she says. “These were tough negotiations that took almost six months, but the members stood strong. In the end, they got all the great benefits that the members at Loop and WeDriveU fought so hard for.”

Murphy wanted to thank the negotiating team of Marco, Nickia, Jose, Katrena and Ronnie, along with 853 staffers Tracy Kelley and Mike Henneberry.

Back pay won for wrongful termination

When San Leandro-based Athens Bakery learned that a model employee who had worked hard for them for more than a year had not fully-disclosed everything about himself on his job application the previous year, they fired him.

“We didn’t think that was fair, so we grieved the case,” says Business Rep and Local 853 President Lou Valletta. “Then the case went up to arbitration.”

Ultimately, the member won full back pay and was reinstated to his old job. However, because he didn’t want to go back to that company, the company settled by paying him $35,000.

“This was a great employee who proved his value to the company every day,” adds Valetta. “It was worth the fight to make him whole. That’s what unions do.”

Good contract in a budding industry

The 18 drivers and warehouse workers at RVR Distributing (Continuum), which is the largest distributor of cannabis in North America, unanimously ratified a new three-year contract in April.

According to Business Rep Steve Beck, “the contract includes excellent wages and benefits.” These include substantial wage increases every year along with pension increases every year of the contract. The agreement also includes a ratification bonus and improvements in holidays, sick leave and vacation.

This is a growing industry,” Beck adds. “In the last two years, this company grew from six members to 18 and another six are in their probationery period.”

“As Local 853 has always done, with this contract,” he says, “we’re setting the standard for the industry and other states are looking at what we’ve accomplished.”

No News is Good News!

By Terry Post

In 2015, Local 853 Business Representative Stu Helfer came up with a “crazy” idea—to pass a state law that provides prevailing wages for all ready mix drivers delivering to publicly-funded construction sites. The idea of the legislation was to level the playing field by forcing non-union contractors to bid jobs at the same wage rate as union contractors.

To the astonishment of just about everyone, the bill, AB219, passed the legislature and was signed by Governor Brown.

While the victory was important, the battle wasn’t over. After several lower court appeals by ready mix employers, AB219 survived an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The only course of action remaining for the employers was to take their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The last day the employers could file their appeal to the nation’s highest court was April 22, 2019. It was a great relief when our lawyers informed us that there were no reports of an appeal having been filed.

The lack of an appeal to the Supreme Court means that no further appeals are available for the employers, establishing AB219 as law in California.

So, yes, when it comes to ready mix drivers, no news is good news.



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