Monday, January 28, 2013

Teamster solidarity in Wash., Ill., S.C. and Tenn.

Teamsters from Local 179 walking the line on a cold morning.
Teamsters all over the country are standing strong and united against employers who won't bargain in good faith, hire scabs, attack their pensions and force them to walk off the job.

In Illinois, Joint Council 25 tells us members of Local 179 in Joliet, Ill., were joined on the picket line by their brothers and sisters from five other Teamster locals:  Teamsters Local 301, 673, 727, 731 and 710. They were picketing for a fair contract from H. Linden and Sons, a suburban construction firm. The joint council tells us:
Union recognition negotiations between Teamsters Local 179 and a suburban Chicago construction firm may be moving forward following a week of successful pickets and rallies in Oswego. 
Local 179 began picketing H. Linden and Sons in mid-January after the company repeatedly failed to recognize the union’s successful organizing efforts. Subsequently, H. Linden recently was awarded a $2.2 million water main project with the Oswego Public Works, pulling work away from other community-based union contractors, including Teamster company D Construction. 
On Thursday, Jan. 24, Local 179 representatives and Teamster affiliates across northern Illinois rallied outside Oswego High School where work was being done, demanding union recognition for H. Linden workers. 
“Future pickets have been postponed following the united front and success of Thursday’s rally,” said Greg Elsbree, Local 179 Secretary-Treasurer. “Talks are progressing with H. Linden, and it’s our hope to secure union representation for these workers as soon as possible.”
Joe Taufao
In Washington, 170 members of Local 117 have been striking for two months against UNFI, a natural foods distributor. The company hired strikebreakers to replace half the Teamsters who went out on the Unfair Labor Practice strike. The Teamsters are sticking together. From the website, we learn Joe Taufao, a 6-year warehouse worker, is the sole support for his wife and children:
I’m a back stocker in the freezer. I have a big family - 7 kids - and I work hard to support them. I always say yes when they ask me to do overtime. Usually I don’t get to see my kids on Sundays because I’m at work... 
I’ve given a lot to this company - a lot of long hours and hard work. I don’t know why they treat us this way. I do know one thing though. I know that me and my co-workers need to stand together and demand respect.
In Memphis, 100 percent of the Allied Waste Teamsters, members of Local 984, are on strike. These were the same Teamsters who traveled by bus to Atlanta last week. They marched in solidarity with other Teamster sanitation workers in the annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Day parade. According to the IBT,
Republic Services/Allied Waste is attacking its workers all across America. In some cities, workers are cheated out of a day’s pay or more when they work overtime. In others, Republic is trying to destroy workers’ retirement security, and to force workers to give up their right to a trial under the Civil Rights Act if the company discriminates against them.
The march in Atlanta
WREG in Memphis reports,
Republic and the Teamsters have been at odds about pay and pensions. The Teamsters say Republic wants to replace pensions with a 401(k) program. 
The union authorized a strike at the end of 2012.
And in South Carolina, Durham School Services bus workers in three different communities have all voted to strike for a fair contract. Today, drivers and monitors in Beaufort voted 93-2 to strike the company. The IBT reports,
They join drivers and monitors in Charleston and Summerville’s Dorchester School District 2 who voted unanimously in recent weeks to also authorize a strike. 
The drivers and monitors, members of Teamsters Local 509 in Columbia, S.C., are seeking a fair contract from Durham that values their hard work and secures decent and safe working conditions in transporting area schoolchildren. 
“We had to take a strike vote to get Durham to get serious in negotiations. We’ve met over 39 times with the contractor and they hadn’t moved on the key issues of concern to the drivers and monitors,” said L.D. Fletcher, President of Local 509. 
Stand strong, brothers and sisters!