Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Your Teamster union dues: Never settle, never stop, always fight to stay on top

Teamsters Local 812 in Great Neck, N.Y., posted this great piece about what it does for its members on the Teamsters Local 812 Facebook page. We just had to share the whole thing with you: 

A union gives every member the opportunity to stand up for justice and dignity. Our struggles are about more than contracts – they are about the right of everyone who works hard for a living to have some power on the job, some way of talking back to management without worrying about being fired.

We are a group of workers in the beverage industry — an organization that joins us together to give us a voice in the workplace, strengthens our rights on the job and secures a better life for ourselves and our families. Your dues provide the resources necessary to run this organization.

Dues pay for the costs involved in negotiating contracts, handling grievances and arbitrations, legal representation, educating members and stewards on how to resolve problems.

Dues pay salaries for union organizers and staff, the cost of running the office (rent, phone, utilities, copying, supplies, printing, mailings).

Dues pay for shop steward training programs, rally and strike expenses and everything else we need to fight for justice.

Dues pay for our website, 812 newsletter "The Voice" and the Local 812 RV. Our RV has saved lives through medical testing, assisted in shop service and organizing campaigns while advertising our union, our mission, our purpose and our goals for the future.

We have worked hard to make our union stronger. We have won industry-standard new contracts to protect benefits, preserve retirement, and ensure that Teamsters Local 812 members have the respect and dignity they deserve. During strikes we preserved health insurance and pension benefits and made sure all strikers could return to work proudly or be placed in other companies with the same or better pay and benefits. Those strikes included Pepsi Meadowbrook (1987), Pepsi Newburgh (1989), Canada Dry (1996) and Coca-Cola (2000).

  1. In 2011, Local 812 stopped Coca-Cola from closing the Haulage Department, saving 100 trailer jobs that were destined to be outsourced.
  2. In 2012, through the Political Action Committee of Teamsters Local 812, we saved 200 jobs due to the over $20 million worth of damage caused by Hurricane Sandy at the Atlantic Ave. Brooklyn facility of Phoenix Beverages. We did it by rallying Politicians to come to the aid of the company. 
  3. In 2013, we saved 120 jobs at Pepsi Bottling Ventures (Long Island) after it was purchased by Pepsi Cola of New York, guaranteeing jobs, hours, seniority and benefits for all. 
  4. Teamsters Local 812 successfully fought and won in court Gov. Patterson's "fat tax" and Mayor Bloomberg's "Big Soda Ban," saving hundreds of union and non-union beverage jobs in New York. 
  5. Successfully fought Coke to reinstate and create merchandiser mileage rights, merchandiser route picking, bargaining unit work, merchandiser work language for pack-outs, drivers' rights, scheduling improvements, and successfully fought labor standards in the warehouse while increasing by over 150 new members in Coca-Cola.
  6. Successfully negotiated to save over 60 jobs at Oak beverages in Brooklyn after the company announced the closure. We succeeded in no job loss, increased pay for travel, transportation for others by private bus to travel to the other Oak facility. 
  7. Route picking in Anheuser Busch of New York and increase of 40 new union jobs.

Over the past three years, we have won significant contracts for 98 percent of our membership at a value of over $1 billion. At companies like Coca-Cola Refreshments, Pepsi Cola of New York, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, Pepsi Cola Distributors Association, Canada Dry of New York, Snapple Beverages, Good O, Anheuser Busch of New York, Clare Rose, Anheuser Busch of Long Island, Ippolito Distributors, Anheuser Busch of Staten Island, Union Beer, Anheuser Busch in Brooklyn, Boening Brothers, Miller, Yuengling on Long Island, ACG Gas, Long Island, 5 Boros, Westchester and Rockland counties, Borough Recycling, Betta Way Trucking, as well as many smaller independent beverage distributor contracts. These contracts have set the standard in the overall beverage industry across the nation.

We have negotiating committees already in place for 2014 contracts at Phoenix Beverages, Lobo Distributors, Long Feng Trucking, Windmill Distributors, Cedar Beverages, Phoenix MTO Recycling, and Oak Beverages. These companies deliver products such as Miller Beer, Heineken, Guinness, Yeungling, Bass, Georgi Vodka, Polar, Colt 45 and more.

We are organizing Big Geyser in Long Island, Craft Beer Guild in New Paltz, Oak Beverage Salesmen, Phoenix Merchandisers, not to mention the victories at Snapple Newburgh, Lobo Distributors, Phoenix MTO and others.

Your dues payments make sure we have adequate finances to continue our progress. Together, we can and will improve conditions and build power for Soft Drink and Brewery Workers throughout the New York region and country.