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Connections 2004: Contract Update - Settled with Solidarity


Graniterock strike ends

Local 853 members working for Graniterock/Pavex, respected the picket lines of Teamsters Local 287, the Machinists, Operating Engineers, and Laborers for 10 weeks. The union members had gone on strike to oppose Graniterock’s insistence on breaking the union members’ right to respect future picket lines.

The battle started in June, when Local 287 went on strike over their San Jose ready mix agreement, and escalated in July when workers at the Wilson Quarry in Watsonville struck over their agreement. At its height, more than 500 union members were out of work due to the strike.

The importance of these strikes was not lost on the members of Local 853. They recognized that the owner was attempting to take away their right to respect picket lines, and the right of other union members to respect Teamster picket lines.

The strike finally ended when the Operating Engineers gave in to the demand to ignore future picket lines. The Teamsters, however, maintained their right to continue to honor the lines of all unions in the event of any future strikes.

Local 853 members respecting the picket lines at the two Graniterock plants


Morton Salt settles

In a unanimous strike vote, Local 853’s members at Morton Salt gave their solid support to Recording Secretary and Business Agent Antonio Christian, enabling him to bring about a successful settlement on a new contract.

In virtually every contract negotiation that Local 853 takes on these days, health care is a major issue. This one was no exception. The ratified contract contained language improvements, additional money to cover health care costs, and wage increases every year.

Dreyer’s finally done, Challenge Dairy also settles

Business Agent Bob Strelo worked on the Dreyer’s Ice Cream contract for almost seven months before a successful settlement was reached. After the closure of the manufacturing plant a few years ago, the company took a much more aggressive approach to these negotiations.

After the members turned down three different offers from the company, a long and tense situation developed. With the assistance of Secretary-Treasurer Rome Aloise, the union and Dreyer’s were able to come to agreement. The new contract calls for significant pay increases, language improvements, and moving to a new company health plan.

Bob Strelo also settled the Challenge Dairy contract. This successful negotiation brought the Local 853 members working for Challenge to parity with those working at other companies in the local, such as Berkeley Farms and Foster Farms. The members were successful in obtaining increases in Health and Welfare money and gaining the Teamsters Benefit Trust Retirement Security Plan.

More contracts settled

Business Agents Pete Easton and Dan Harrington have been busy in negotiations also. Pete settled Caterpillar warehouse and Impact Distribution recently. Dan has negotiated successful settlements at the City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco Gravel and JS Guerin Company, and Christy Vault.

President John Becker has recently settled contracts with Clear Channel and Spicer Paper, while chairing the Statewide Costco grievance committee.Vice President Phil Tarantino has been working with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to make certain that the San Francisco Chronicle is named the official newspaper of San Francisco for advertising purposes. Local 853 is working to ensure that nonunion papers like the Examiner and San Francisco Independent aren’t rewarded with the city’s ad dollars.