Friday, February 15, 2013

Woo-hoo! Another Teamster organizing victory in CA!!

Please give a warm welcome to our 68 new brothers and sisters who voted yesterday to join Teamsters Local 948 in Visalia, Calif. They work at the VWR distribution center, which has been the subject of intense controversy over the past few years.

VWR had been a good Teamster employer until 2007, when private equity firm Madison Dearborn bought the company. Things quickly changed as VWR planned to move operations in order to plunder federal, state and local governments.

We'll let Teamsters Joint Council 7's press release tell the story:
In the midst of contract negotiations in 2010, VWR announced plans to close its Brisbane distribution center and move its operations 220 miles south to a new 500,000-square-foot facility in Visalia.  The company did not offer their employees the right to transfer. 
VWR benefited from federal, state and local subsidies to open its distribution center.  The City of Visalia agreed to pay VWR the $1.3 million it needed for road and sewer improvements for the facility and granted VWR a delay in paying more than $500,000 in local impact fees until April 2016... 
Despite VWR’s long history of providing California workers good wages, pensions and health care, VWR offered starting wages in Visalia of $10/hour – an average $12/hour less than what Bay Area employees earned for doing the same work.
As Joint Council 7 President Rome Aloise said,
The State of California and the City of Visalia have invested millions in VWR to help the company build their new distribution center, but they didn’t want to invest it back in their employees.
Adam Ochoa, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 948, said he hopes VWR will be willing to negotiate:
Visalia VWR employees are telling the company they want equal pay for equal work.
You made the right decision, brothers and sisters!