Joint Council 7 continues to make the news under President Rome Aloise’s leadership. In 2016 alone, Joint Council 7 has been featured in more than 50 newspaper articles, radio, and television stories.
Why are we making headlines? We are at the forefront in organizing new workers, defending our jobs, and passing legislation that lifts up workers everywhere. Here are a few places you may have seen us in the news:
The campaign to organize high tech shuttle bus drivers in Silicon Valley is still making waves throughout the country. It started in 2015, when hundreds of drivers with Loop and Compass Transportation joined Local 853, negotiating strong contracts that deliver living wages and good benefits. They drive for Facebook, Apple, eBay, and more. In March, 110 drivers at WeDriveU who drive for Google also joined Local 853.
In San Francisco and Santa Clara, Local 665 continues to fight for Bauer’s IT drivers. Last year, under pressure from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the company disbanded a sham union they hastily organized to keep us out. A new election was scheduled, but Bauer’s allegedly threatened workers with their jobs if they voted in the union and fired someone a week before the election, leading Teamsters to once again take to the streets. Now, the NLRB is looking at Bauer’s and the election may be overturned.
Meantime, Teamsters turned up the heat in San Francisco, where Bauer’s was poised to get a lucrative contract for Super Bowl 50. But the tide turned when Locals 350, 856, and 2785 notified San Francisco that Teamster picket lines could interfere with garbage service, hotel service, and Super Bowl activities at the Convention Center. Teamsters celebrated when Bauer’s lost the contract. The San Francisco Chronicle reported, “S.F. bus firm sidelined after threat of Super Bowl picketing.” Remember that the next time your employer wants to take away strike language in bargaining!
We are not done with Bauer’s. Last year, we ran a successful campaign to get the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to adopt a “labor harmony” requirement for shuttle buses using their bus stops. Nobody wants to see Teamster pickets interfering with regular bus service in San Francisco. One week before Bauer’s was set to get a new permit, 100 Teamsters blocked Bauer’s buses and tied up the morning commute. The Board of Supervisors introduced a unanimous resolution calling on the SFMTA to deny Bauer’s a new permit to operate, and one week later, that permit was denied. The headline in Mother Jones magazine read, “Tech- Shuttle Giant Given the Boot in San Francisco.” Bauer’s is appealing the decision and now our attention is focused on encouraging their clients, including Cisco and Zynga, to use a responsible company.
Over in Tracy, the campaign at Taylor Farms continues. Last year, the NLRB issued a bargaining order against Taylor Farms based on the assertion that a majority of the workers demonstrated their support for the union prior to the election, but the company’s antiunion activities made a fair election impossible. In fact, the NLRB cited Taylor Farms for more than 50 separate violations of federal labor laws. The NLRB ordered Taylor Farms to sit down and bargain a contract with us. Unfortunately, the company refuses.
Starting this month, Teamsters and community allies took the campaign to Taylor Farms customers, leafleting at Chipotle restaurants in Manteca, San Jose, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. The Salinas Californian, home to Taylor Farms’ headquarters, reported, “Union Targets Taylor Farms through Chipotle.” This campaign is spreading.
Taylor Farms workers also helped make history when California adopte $15 minimum wage this month. Worker Velia Perez from Taylor Farms testified before a key committee in the California legislature and joined Local 601 to lobby legislators. We were tasked with helping deliver key votes from the Central Valley.
The following day, nearly 100 members from almost every Local in our Joint Council flooded the Capitol, helping win an incredible victory that will bring a $15 minimum wage to all California workers by 2023. This increase is estimated to impact 5.6 million workers, or the entire bottom third of the state’s workforce. This will help ease the downward pressure at the bargaining table on our contracts from non-union competition.
Rome Aloise flew to Los Angeles to join Governor Brown at the bill signing ceremony and his picture was featured in headlines around the country.
Teamsters are no strangers to the issues of employers misclassifying their workers as independent contractors instead of employees. Not only is it illegal for independent contractors to organize a union, but the burden is put on the drivers to pay for their vehicles, including gas, insurance, and repairs. And worse, the employers don’t pay for health insurance, workers’ compensation, social security, or payroll taxes. If you are a so-called independent contractor and get sick or injured on the job, it’s on you to take care of it.
We’ve been fighting misclassification at the ports and in construction trucking, but now we have Uber and Lyft exploding this business model and moving into package delivery, paratransit, and public transit. They are competing directly with our jobs.
This month Joint Council 7 made international headlines when we helped scuttle the settlement of a class action lawsuit on behalf of Lyft drivers in California. Working with Lyft drivers, we raised objections, mostly because the settlement left Lyft’s business model intact and didn’t include enough money for the drivers. The judge agreed. As Wired magazine reported, “Judge says Lyft’s $12M Settlement Doesn’t Pay Drivers Enough.” There is more on this to come.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has made it a top priority to defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 other countries. We know that trade agreements, such as NAFTA, have cost America many good jobs in manufacturing and food processing. As Director of both the Teamsters Food Processing Division and the Dairy Conference, Aloise knows that the TPP stands to threaten more than 10,000 good Teamster jobs in California’s dairy industry. Last year, Joint Council 7 met with key Congressional representatives in their district offices and in D.C. Local 431 took the lead in staging demonstrations outside Rep. Jim Costa’s office in Fresno.
Although most California Democratic representatives were with us on this, Congressman Ami Bera in Sacramento broke ranks with labor in a dramatic fashion when he granted President Obama “Fast Track” authority to negotiate the TPP without Congressional oversight.
To add insult to injury, Bera voted in favor of a spending bill in 2015 that included provisions of the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014. This bill opened the door for the Central States Pension Fund to propose drastic and devastating cuts to some Teamster retirees’ pensions.
In 2012 and 2014, Bera won very close elections with tremendous support from labor, including Teamsters Local 150. Four thousand Teamsters live in his district, and he won by 1,455 votes. Do the math and you will see why our support is critical.
This time around, Local 150 and Joint Council 7 decided to endorse Republican Scott Jones. Not only is Jones good on the TPP, he supports Project Labor Agreements and values collective bargaining. As Aloise always says, we encourage members to vote with their pocketbooks, not their parties. Although that means we endorse more Democrats than Republicans, in this case the choice was clear. Following our endorsement, the Sacramento Bee reported, “Rep. Ami Bera’s path suddenly gets tougher.”
Finally, on the subject of endorsements, as you will see on this page, Joint Council 7 wrapped up our endorsement list for the June primary. This follows months of interviews with candidates from Bakersfield up to the border. The Joint Council is making an unprecedented number of endorsements in local races, a real testament to our increased political involvement since Aloise became Joint Council 7 President.
Every day, elected officials vote on issues that impact our contracts, our families, and our communities. Your local union took the time to sit and meet with these candidates and carefully screen them around our issues. Please take the time to vote in June. Our jobs and our welfare depend on it!.