June 4, 2012: Southern California Teamsters at two Waste Management yards voted to reject a contract offer that would gut their job security and other Teamster protections.
The showdown at Waste Management in Corona and Chino, California is a test of Teamster resolve before contract negotiations covering thousands of waste Teamsters in Los Angeles County this September.
Local 396 members are uniting against givebacks that would gut their contract and give management the upper hand in L.A. County before bargaining even starts there.
The 150 Teamsters voted by 2-1 to reject a contract offer from Waste Management that was riddled with language givebacks that would weaken union rights, including:
- Layoffs by job classification, not by overall seniority. Senior workers could be laid off while new and cheaper employers stay on the job. Members in L.A. County want to get rid of this language; while management wants to spread it into the Corona-Chino contract.
- An expanded Management Rights clause that would give the company the exclusive authority to schedule, discharge and lay off employees whenever they want unless specific contract language prohibits the action.
- New scheduling and overtime rules that would force some drivers to work four 10-hour days (with no overtime after 8 hours) and make some others work nonconsecutive days. Guaranteed overtime for Saturday work would be eliminated.
Local 396 officials recommended the contract offer. But members organized against it. They distributed a detailed Contract Update to inform drivers and mechanics about the language givebacks that would gut their rights.
Members demanded more time to review the offer—and then voted against it.
Waste Management is a growing Teamster employer—and an aggressive one. Management coordinates its bargaining demands nationally and uses concessions in one contract to leverage givebacks in other agreements.
Southern California is one of the largest concentrations of Waste Management Teamsters. But the contract rights, wages and pensions in Local 396 lag behind what the union has negotiated in Northern California and Seattle, other big concentrations in the west.
The contract at Corona-Chino is a chance to draw the line in the sand against concessions in Southern California. The negotiations this fall in Los Angeles are a chance to move Teamster Power forward in the waste industry.
Members in Corona and Chino have shown they are ready to stand up. Will Local 396 and the International Union back them up or will they back down?