How Not To Take on Multinational Corporations

September 15, 2011: Waste Management’s strategy is simple: divide and conquer.

Waste Management

During the last round of bargaining, the company beat strikes and forced concessions on members in New York (2006), Los Angeles (2007), and Wisconsin (2008).

In Wisconsin and Central Illinois, the company successfully pulled out of the Teamster pension, leaving the workers without a real pension.

In each of these fights, the International Union talked about extending picket lines—but it was all talk. In the end, local unions were left to fend for themselves.

Coca-Cola

In 2010, four locals in Southern California gave Coca-Cola the green light to roll out an “Alternative Distribution” program that uses a nonunion, third-party logistics company to make Teamster deliveries.

Coke’s new business model is a threat to Teamster jobs nationwide. And our union knows it.

The Hoffa administration called an emergency meeting and put forward a plan to defeat the company’s pilot program—if necessary, through nationally coordinated strike action.

But just one month after this tough talk, our union caved in without a fight. Now Coke is looking to spread its job-killing program nationally.

C&S

Good Teamster jobs in grocery are under a double threat: nonunion distributors and automation.

Earlier this year, 1,500 Teamsters in New Jersey and the Northeast lost their jobs when C&S, the biggest nonunion food distribution company in the world, moved the work to a new nonunion, automated warehouses.

A coalition of local unions came together last year to take on the nonunion C&S threat. Teamsters began leafleting A&P, Pathmark and other stores to put pressure on C&S by reaching out to customers.

But instead of backing the campaign, the International Union instructed local officers to stop leafleting stores and to bargain a severance package instead.

New Jersey Teamsters lost their jobs. And C&S immediately went on the attack in Maryland.

By now, the C&S debacle had become an election issue. So the IBT launched a last-minute campaign. The facilities were kept open but C&S won major contract concessions.

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