Local 848 Members Stand Up for Rights

by Bruce Blake, Local 848, Retired

May 9, 2007: Operating on the principle that a strong union is built on rank-and-file involvement, the majority of Local 848 drivers at the Vons grocery warehouse in Los Angeles signed a petition asking for a shop steward election. Local 848 Secretary-Treasurer Jim Santangelo agreed to the petition—but denied members an honest vote.

“The election was a total fraud,” says Howard Palmer, a Vons driver. The members wanted an election at the yards but Santangelo insisted on a mail vote. “A mail vote wrought with improprieties,” Palmer said.

Ballots were mailed to the wrong members in different facilities; there were candidates on the ballot who did not request to run; there was no process to challenge questionable ballots; no eligibility check; observers were kept so far from the counting process they were rendered useless; the returned envelopes were mailed to the local so anyone could discard ballots cast for candidates they did not support; and even more.

“All we want is a fair election, is that so much to ask for?” Palmer said.
An IBT Western Region Vice President and Joint Council 42 President, Santangelo has a history of violating members’ democratic rights. During the 2006 International election almost a dozen charges were upheld against Santangelo for violating member’s rights and election rules.

A recent National Labor Relations Board settlement required Santangelo to post notices that he would not threaten members with physical harm, intimidate members, or refuse to accept and process grievances for arbitrary or discriminatory reasons.

Vons drivers are not the only union members that are getting fed up with the strong-arm tactics. Members at Unified Grocers, Coke, US Foods, and Sysco are also beginning to demand change.

Jim Lewis, a Vons Driver and long time Teamster says that members need to stand up for what is right. “It is our civic duty to stand up to our officials and hold them accountable. Working Teamsters need to demand that our rights be respected and not let officials intimidate them.”

Get Advice Join TDU Donate

Recent News

Yellow Trims Losses: Best Quarter in Six Years

Yellow Corporation released its first quarter financials on May 10. The company shows strong improvement but is still not profitable. Yellow’s overall operating ratio of 99.3 percent is 3 percent better than a year ago, but well below other LTL carriers, including ABF and TForce.

 

Sysco Profits Up

Sysco Corp announced its quarterly financial report on May 10, with profits and revenue both up dramatically since last year.  Profits for the quarter were $303.33 million, up from $88.9 million last year. Revenue rose 43% from $11.8 billion to $16.9 billion.

View More News Posts