January 30, 2009: James Santangelo came to the Local 896 meeting trying to sell a merger with his own local, but his sales pitch fell flat.
Local 896 represents 3,000 brewery and soft drink Teamsters in southern California. Jim Santangelo is trying to swallow the local into his own Local 848.
Santangelo is also the head of Joint Council 42 and a Teamster International VP. But Local 896 members weren’t intimidated.
They showed up in force to hear from both sides and make their voices heard—and they did.
Click here to download a bulletin from the Committee to Save Local 896.
A Democratic Vote?
Any merger would have to be approved by a vote of the members of Local 896.
But at the meeting, Santangelo said that just members who came to a union meeting should get to vote on a merger. He called that “the democratic way.”
Members in the audience insisted that if there was going to be a vote, every member should get a ballot in the mail.
Members raised a motion to have a mail ballot election, but the chair ignored their motion—not a good sign for how “democratic” a vote on a merger would be at a union meeting.
Soft drink Teamsters in Local 896 have seen Santangelo’s weak record at the bargaining table first-hand, and they made their opposition loud and clear during the soft drink branch meeting.
In 2003 and 2005, the two locals bargained side by side for contracts with Pepsi and Coke. Each time, Local 848 settled for a weaker contract.
Santangelo left the meeting early, visibly upset, according to Local 896 members present.
Concerned members have formed the Committee to Save Local 896 to stop the merger. Click here to download the flyer they are distributing.
What do you think? Click here to share your comment or question with Teamsters for a Democratic Union.