The Value of Voting

If you’re wondering why it’s important for Teamsters to get involved in politics, here are two reasons.

  1. Because of the Biden administration, the pension plan for about 1,000 of our members in the printing industry (formerly of GCC Local 583) has been saved and will not go insolvent as of next month. That’s because the Biden administration inserted the “Butch Lewis Act” into the American Rescue Plan. This Teamster-backed bill provides foundational support for troubled multi-employer union pension plans.
  2. City Councils across the Bay Area—from San Francisco to Hayward to Gilroy to Fremont and more—have turned down Amazon’s requests to open mega-warehouses offering little more than sweatshop jobs. Elected officials have stood up to America’s largest single employer saying, “We won’t accept crappy jobs. We want good jobs for our communities!”

Be sure to vote in the June primary, and again in the November general election. Your vote matters! Before you vote, check out the Teamster endorsements here.

Fighting for UPS Part-Timers

In January, some UPS part-timers got a rude awakening in their paychecks. Instead of the $21.50/hour they had grown used to, their wages were reduced to $17.50 or so. This is because the company had raised the wages for the part-timers in many of its metro-area facilities using what was called a “Market Rate Adjustment,” and since that adjustment wasn’t in the contract, they could withdraw it as easily as they gave it.

The Teamsters said, “Not so fast,” and organized monthly rallies, first at the impacted facilities, then in San Francisco, and finally in Sacramento.  Half of the San Francisco County Supervisors came out to support the workers, as did dozens of Sacramento legislators—joined by more than 500 Teamsters at each location.

The Nor Cal Committee is working with the Joint Council and the IBT to figure out our next steps. Make no mistake, this issue will be raised loud and clear when the Teamsters go into contract negotiations with UPS later this year.

Lingering Covid

I think we all wish we could say that COVID is over and behind us, but that’s just not the case. In the last few weeks, at least four members of our staff have gotten it—and all had already been vaccinated and boosted. Fortunately, they’ve all had mild to moderate cases.

I urge you all to stay as safe as possible. If you haven’t gotten boosted yet, don’t wait. Just do it. And keep your masks on when working or shopping indoors.

Also, be sure to test often. Unlike voting, you don’t want to test too early. The federal government is again offering two boxes (each with two tests) to every address. Go here to get your free tests.


To end on a positive note, more people than ever are interested in joining unions. This is especially true of young people. Every day, you can read about another Starbucks shop that’s voted for union representation, and the first Amazon warehouse in the U.S. (in Staten Island, NY) voted Union, Yes!

Here at Local 853, our organizing staff is working hard to follow up on leads. Although we still fight constant uphill battles against employers who’d rather pay millions to union-busters than honor the wishes of their employees to join a union, we are not backing down. It’s more important than ever to unionize the competition of our union employers in specific industries. If you have friends or neighbors who might be interested in getting Teamster representation, have them contact our lead organizer Pablo Barrera at 408-642-9448.

Listening to the Boss

I’ll leave you with some words from the magnificent Bruce Springsteen:

“Every time you vote, you decide the future of this country. The more we vote, the more we are represented. Your participation matters in all elections, from the president, to state governments and city councils. Whatever issues you care about, make sure your vote is counted. Voting is how you make what matters to you, matter to them.