Southern California Teamster
By Phil Cooper, Secretary-Treasurer
Local Union 896
March 5, 2013
As we go to press, and despite our best efforts, we have had to extend the Budweiser Brewery agreements for an additional month. Therefore, while we are continuing to negotiate, the Company as well as the Union, have agreed to extend the current agreement until March 31, 2014. The economic provisions of the successor agreement shall be retroactive to March 1, 2014. Going into these negotiations, we knew we would have many challenges and we were right.
When Union officials tell you the war on workers is real, it is never more evident as when we sit down at the negotiating table and deal with companies that are only concerned with profits for their shareholders. The CEOs are making ridiculous amounts of money on the backs of the workers. Huge bonuses are paid to upper management and yet they expect the workers to accept contracts with small wage increases and ask them to pick-up even more of the cost of their healthcare.
This seems to be a common denominator in all of our recent negotiations and we expect this to be on the table in the future. We will be very busy in 2015; we have several contracts in soft-drinks and on the beer-side that will expire next year.
At the recent Brewery & Soft Drink Workers Conference in February of this year, General President James P. Hoffa spoke of the need for unions to work together. We share many of our soft drink facilities with other Teamster Locals and have contracts that expire at the same time. It is important that we take advantage of this and work together as a team. We need to protect our fellow union brothers and sisters from other Locals, as they do the same for us. We can no longer try to negotiate with these multinational corporations on our own.
On March 15, 2014, all Brewery & Soft Drink Locals of Joint Council 42 will be meeting in Lake Arrowhead to discuss upcoming negotiations affecting each Union and what we can do together to make us stronger and more united. This is a very proactive move that can only help us achieve the best contracts possible moving forward.
Not to forget Quality Logistics, we have agreed to a contract extension through March; we are still trying to work out the benefit package of the new contract.
In our Coca-Cola facilities, the company is implementing Lock out-Tag out to our members. Coke recently fired two non-teamster machinists for LOTO violations. LOTO is an OSHA requirement; heavy fines can be levied against companies for non-compliance or for injuries suffered by employees while working. We are in favor of safety regulations that protect our members and encourage them to take their time and work safely.
What we do not agree with is Coke’s LOTO policy, and that any violation could result in immediate termination. We are currently in discussions with Coca-Cola over the policy and have asked for additional direction from the Brewery Soft Drink Workers Conference.
Coca-Cola is also trying to implement a new program called the Associate Well-Being Program. While we have similar programs with other employers, we’ve asked for additional time in considering the program for our members. In doing this, we’ll have the opportunity to meet with other Teamster Locals before moving forward together. We have seen these programs back-fire against members in the past, so we want to make sure we have all the details. We will keep our members posted on all progress made on these issues.
There are many important elections this year at both the state and federal level; we will be encouraging our members to register to vote, and encourage them to register friends as well as family members. We will see right to work for less legislation on the ballots in 10 to 12 new states. A great state like Michigan, with its amazing Union heritage, voted right to work for less into law. Now it will be much more difficult to overturn this terrible law affecting Unions and the middle class. It’s important that we don’t become too complacent and forget to participate in the election process. We have to vote in every election moving forward. You can count on the right wing Union haters to come up with some kind of law that is aimed at destroying us and hurting the middle class. This is why it is so important to register to vote, and contribute to D.R.I.V.E.
The war on workers will never end, but rest assured the Teamsters are up to the challenge and will continue to fight any and all bad laws that will hurt Unions and destroy the middle class.
I’m proud to announce that one of our own member’s son is running for congress. Chris Marquez, war hero and son of MillerCoors Bottling Chief Steward Tony Marquez, is running for United States Congress, area 42. Chris is just what this country needs. He is young and energetic with lots of fresh new ideas. Chris is pro-Union, pro-labor and will not support any unfair trade agreements. I encourage all of our members to take a look at Chris’s web page at: www.MarquezForCongress.com.
Just a reminder, the deadlines for The James R. Hoffa and the JC 42 Council Scholarships are approaching fast. You can pick up applications by calling the Local or downloading them from our scholarship page.
Dues increases effective April 1, 2014 are as follows: Safeway Norwalk - $213/ qr. and Pepsi Bottling Co. - $231/ qr. The Coca-Cola quarterly dues are as follows: Victorville - $207, Coke Bottling - $213, and USA Production & Maintenance - $219. Payments may be mailed to: Local 896, 3303 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 300, Los Angeles CA 90010.
The next union meetings will be held on Sunday, March 30th, April 27th, and May 18th of 2014 at the Local Union Hall. We'll see you there!
The war on workers continues...
In the last few years, companies have tried their best to sabotage the pay, benefits, and work life of Teamsters all over the country.
To find out more, click here.