This is the third time that Waste Management Teamsters have rejected these concessions while Local 396 officials have taken a neutral stand or supported the givebacks. It is time for our union to back these Teamsters with a plan to win.
In its third "final offer" management upped its wage proposal by 50¢ over five years. But the contract contains the same medical plan concessions. Teamsters would be moved to an inferior medical plan and would be stuck paying for a growing percentage of their health benefits.
The Los Angeles waste drivers know that Waste Management's offer is inferior to what has been won in other West coast cities such as Seattle and Oakland.
The recent lockout in Oakland was a public relations disaster for Waste Management. Californians blamed the company for the garbage stacked up all over town this summer. Even Mayor Ron Dellums of Oakland called it a "dress rehearsal" for LA bargaining. The stage is set for a major victory in Los Angeles.
Incredibly, Local 396 Secretary Treasurer Ron Herrera told the workers that they would be own their own if they voted No. He has offered no leadership except to try to ram through a contract that management wants.
Los Angeles Teamsters are calling on Local 396 to use the tactics that worked in Seattle and Oakland: namely to reach out to community and political leaders and expose how Waste Management's reckless demands and bargaining tactics are putting workers and the public at risk.
In both Oakland and Seattle, labor-community solidarity forced Waste Management to back down and agree to maintain quality health benefits paid for by the company-even if healthcare costs grow by 12 percent a year.
The International Union Waste Division should step in to help these workers win the victory that is within reach. Southern California is the largest concentration of waste Teamsters in the country.
This is an industry that our International Union has identified as a priority to organize. The outcome of contract bargaining in Los Angeles-victory or concessions-will either make our union's job easier or harder.
A victory at Waste Management will spread to the other waste employers in Southern California and beyond.
It's time for our International Union to work with Local 396 officers and members to execute a plan to win.
Click here to download the flyer that Local 396 Teamsters are distributing.
October 4, 2007: Two thousand Teamster wastehaulers in Los Angeles are mobilizing to protect their healthcare and win just contracts. On October 3, Teamsters in three divisions voted by a combined 502 to 94 against Waste Management's latest "Last, Best and Final Offer," which included healthcare cuts.
Waste Management's contract offer would move working Teamsters into an inferior health plan and force workers to pay as much as $200 or more per month for their health insurance.
Waste Management is the largest waste employer in Southern California. Contracts at other waste companies in Los Angeles will likely follow the pattern set by Waste Management.
Healthcare costs are expected to rise by 10 to 15 percent per year, but under its proposal Waste Management would increase its healthcare contributions by just three to six percent per year. Local 396 members would have to make up the shortfall by cutting their health benefits even more or paying out of their pocket.
If healthcare costs rise by 10 percent per year, Local 396 members will have to pay $166 a month for their benefits or face additional healthcare cuts. If healthcare costs rise by 12 percent per year, members would be paying $245 a month by the end of the agreement.
Waste Management made more than $1 billion in profits last year.
Rank-and-File Fights Back
To defeat these givebacks and other weak contract provisions, rank-and-file Teamsters have held their own contract meetings and organized car pools to the ratification votes.
Local 396 officials negotiated similar givebacks in waste contracts in Anaheim, Corona and Chino and apparently thought they would pass in Los Angeles.
Caught by surprise by the rank-and-file mobilization, Local 396 officials have backed away from recommending a Yes vote and told members to vote their conscience.
No Substandard Deal for LA
Local 396 members want contract improvements that are comparable to what neighboring Teamster locals have negotiated in recent wastehaul agreements.
Members have passed out contract comparisons that show what Teamster locals in Las Vegas, Oakland and Seattle have won in their new contracts with Waste Management, Republic Services and Allied Waste.
In Las Vegas and Oakland, members won contracts in which the employer will pay for 100 percent of their health coverage in the first year of the deal. In subsequent years, members won't have to pay toward their health benefits unless the cost of their medical plan rises by more than 12 percent a year.
In Seattle, Local 174 members at Allied Waste and Waste Management won a contract that dropped their healthcare costs from $274 to $30 a month for family coverage. That $30 will never go up over the length of the contract.
In contrast, Local 396 has negotiated contracts with the same employers that force members to make high monthly payments for lower quality health plans.
"Waste workers in Los Angeles work every bit as hard as our Teamster brothers in other major West Coast cities. Why should we get less from the same employers?" said shop steward Jose Morales. "Ron Herrera brags about Teamster Power at Local 396. It's time for him to show it by delivering a contract that protects our benefits and includes the improvements we deserve."
International Union Action Needed
LA County has one of the highest concentrations of wastehaul Teamsters in the country. Our union's numbers give it the power to protect members' benefits-and to send employers and unorganized workers in the industry the message that our union can win strong contracts and a better future for wastehaulers.
The International Union needs to help Local 396 members defeat healthcare cuts in Los Angeles and win the contract they deserve.
July 30, 2007: The four-week Waste Management lockout of 500 Teamsters ended on July 29 when members of Oakland Local 70 voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new contract.
Management took the offensive to force concessions, including on health care, as a first step to attack the big Los Angeles contract that is up this fall.
They miscalculated. The Teamsters got broad support, and as trash piled up, community sentiment turned against Waste Management.
July 18, 2007: A judge ordered Waste Management garbage haulers on Tuesday to collect all the trash in the East Bay as irate customers vowed not to pay bills for pickups that haven't happened.
In the midst of a 16-day labor dispute in which nearly 500 union drivers have been locked out of their jobs, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Richard Keller ordered the company to abide by its contract with the City of Oakland.
July 17, 2007:San Francisco Chronicle: East Bay garbage company officials and union leaders met Monday with Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums declaring progress toward ending a 2-week-old garbage driver lockout that has resulted in piles of accumulated garbage.
Meanwhile, an Alameda County Superior Court judge postponed a hearing Monday on whether to compel Waste Management Inc. of Alameda County to end the company's lockout on the grounds that it is a threat to public health and a violation of its contract with the city of Oakland.
July 11, 2007: Oakland, Calif (AP) - Mayor Ron Dellums and other city officials went to court Thursday in an effort to settle a trash company labor dispute and get piles of stinky garbage picked up.
But officials with the company, Waste Management Inc., said the city's quest for an injunction is unnecessary because the company has already hired more temporary workers to replace locked out garbage truck drivers.
The problem started in early July when Waste Management locked out nearly 500 drivers in a dispute with the Teamsters union.
Since then, the city has received hundreds of complaints from residents about uncollected garbage.
After behind-the-scenes negotiations failed, Dellums and City Attorney John Russo asked an Alameda County Superior Court judge to order Waste Management to pick up the rapidly ripening trash immediately.
"If between now and the time we can get a court hearing, they can show evidence that the trash is being picked up, then it will make the injunction moot," Russo said Wednesday. "But 10 days is long enough. This is a matter of health and safety for our residents. Doing the best they can doesn't get it done."
Waste Management spokeswoman Jennifer Andrews called the action needless.
"Over the past few days we've been increasing the number of our temporary workers and the number of routes and that is to bring service back to 100 percent," she said. Andrews said weekly residential garbage pickup has been restored and curbside recycling pickup will be back on schedule by Monday.
July 11, 2007: PRNewswire-USNewswire: Hundreds of union members locked out by Waste Management Inc (WMI) on July 2 turned out at a rally held in front of the company's Davis Street Transfer Station to hear pledges of support from local politicians and labor leaders from across the country.
Workers from Teamsters Local 70, Machinist Local Lodge 1546 and International Longshoreman and Warehouse (ILWU) Local 6 are in their second week of an ill-conceived lockout by WMI that has led to trash piling up across the East Bay area. Replacement workers brought in by the company have proven incapable of handling the workload the locked out union workforce has handled without any issues for over 40 years.To read the full story from PR Newswire, click here
July 12, 2007: Waste Management has locked out 500 Teamsters in Oakland, Calif. for refusing to give in to company demands that they pay a larger share of their healthcare benefits.
The lockout by Waste Management is a calculated attack on our union’s efforts to build Teamster power in the wastehaul industry. It requires an equally strong response by our International Union and the solidarity of every Teamster.
The company locked out 500 Local 70 Teamsters two days before the July 4 holiday and brought in 200 scabs to perform union members’ jobs.
The media reports that garbage is “piling up” in Alameda County and that “stinking garbage is getting riper.” Local 70 has offered to renew the current contract under the same terms, but the company has remained intransigent in its demands.
“Our goal is to renew the old contract for another five years,” Local 70 Secretary-Treasurer Chuck Mack told the press. “We aren’t asking for anything new.”
Dress Rehearsal for LA
Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums says that Waste Management’s lockout of Local 70 Teamsters is a “dress rehearsal” for upcoming contract negotiations with Local 396 in Los Angeles.
This fall, Local 396 will negotiate contracts covering nearly 2,000 wastehaul Teamsters in Los Angeles County.
Management has waged a cynical media campaign to try to convince the public that the lockout is motivated by the company’s “safety concerns.” The truth is that it is part of a national drive by the corporation to force Teamsters to pay more for our healthcare and to undermine union organizing efforts across the industry.
Our Teamsters Union did not start this fight—but it is critical that we win it.
It’s time for our union to draw the line and tell Waste Management, “Don’t Trash Our Healthcare.”
To read more about the lockout by Waste Management, click the links below:
Take Out the Trash, Judge Tells Waste Firm - July 18, 2007
Trash Talks Make Progress - July 17, 2007
Oakland leaders go to court to try to get trash picked up - July 11, 2007
No New Talks--Stinking Garbage is Getting Riper - July 10, 2007
Day Four in Stinky Garbage Standoff - July 6, 2007
July 10, 2007: Waste Management has locked out 500 Teamsters in Oakland, Calif. for refusing to give in to company demands that they pay a larger share of their healthcare benefits. The lockout is entering its second week. These locked out Teamsters deserve our full support.
Teamsters Local 70 and Waste Management met with a mediator on Monday, July 9th but both sides reported no progress.
The company has brought in 200 scabs but has admitted that they are not able to adequately pick up the trash. The media reports that garbage is “piling up” in Alameda County. Management is even asking residents to drive their own garbage to transfer stations. That request is not going over big with angry citizens.
"I'm not going to double bag these smelly yard scraps, put them in my car and drive them across town to a transfer station," Oakland’s Theresa LeQuey told the San Francisco Chronicle.. "I'd rather hand it over to a pack of wild dogs roaming the neighborhood."
Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums says that Waste Management’s lockout of Local 70 Teamsters is a “dress rehearsal” for upcoming contract negotiations with Local 396 in Los Angeles. This fall, Local 396 will negotiate contracts covering nearly 2,000 wastehaul Teamsters in Los Angeles County.
Local 396 officials recently agreed to contract could force 150 Teamsters at Waste Management in Chino and Corona, Calif. to pay $200 or more per month for their healthcare by the end of the five-year deal.
That deal cannot become the standard for wastehaul Teamsters in Southern or Northern California. It’s time for our union to draw the line and tell Waste Management, “Don’t Trash Our Healthcare.”
Click the links below to read more:
June 8, 2007: Local 396 Teamsters at Waste Management in Chino and Corona California were told that their new contract would pay them for all of their meal breaks, including the second meal period that is required by California law after 10 hours.
During negotiations for the new contract, Waste Management officials told the union negotiators that the new contract would give Teamster members paid meal periods.
But after the contract was ratified, Waste Management said it had made a mistake.
In a letter distributed to Local 396 members, the company said that the language wasn’t supposed to cover the second meal break—and the company wasn’t going to pay for any meal breaks.
Local 396 filed an unfair labor practice with the NLRB. But then the local dropped the ULP after Waste Management agreed to pay for the first meal break.
Wage and Hour Suit
Meals and breaks are a concern for all WMI Teamsters. Waste Management routinely forces Teamsters to work off the clock during their meals and break periods.
Teamsters at Waste Management in California have filed a lawsuit against the company for wage and hour violations.
Their case is similar to a successful class action lawsuit against UPS that resulted in an $87 million victory for more than 20,000 UPS drivers.