Local 355 officers and members honor fallen brother
Dec. 1, 2014 | Retired Baltimore Sun driver and Baltimore City Fire Dept. safety officer, James Bethea, was laid to rest November 20th. Local 355 officers, business agents and members joined hundreds of firefighters, law enforcement officers, public servants, family and friends at the funeral and internment service. Recently-retired Baltimore Sun dispatcher and Local 355 steward Jim Sawyer was invited by the Bethea family to deliver a eulogy. He graciously agreed to share his words of remembrance here. Photos included.
Maryland lawmakers consider yelling 'cut' on film tax-credit program
Dec. 3, 2014 | The panel of analysts spent more than hour yesterday afternoon explaining why Maryland should stop giving millions of dollars to movie and televisions productions that choose to film in the state. Continue reading here. More at The Baltimore Sun. [Editor's note: Local 355 represents movie industry drivers.]
Anti-union grocer slashes benefits, pensions for 1,100 Pennsylvania Teamsters
Dec. 4, 2014 | In a new version of the old ploy of manipulating federal bankruptcy courts to bludgeon unions into economic concessions or givebacks, the nation's largest grocery wholesaler used sped-up court procedures to make a quick buy of one of its regional competitors last month – and, in the process, slash the pensions and benefits of 1,100 truck drivers and warehouse workers. Full story here.
Teamsters at Castle Oil about to lose their jobs - help save them!
Dec. 4, 2014 | Teamster drivers and mechanics for many years kept New York warm delivering fuel from the Bronx for Castle Oil. Now, just before Christmas, they’re about to be thrown out into the cold. Corporate giant Sprague Energy is buying Castle Oil, and 50 members of Teamsters Local 553 are losing their jobs in the process. They’ll be replaced by non-union, low-wage contract jobs. You can help: Please take a minute to sign this petition, urging Sprague Energy’s CEO David Glendon to keep these good, middle-class jobs in New York. Your support will be greatly appreciated by the 50 Teamsters at Castle Oil who fear a bleak Christmas.
Teamsters take a stand against unfair TPP, Fast Track
Dec. 9, 2014 | The Teamsters joined hundreds of labor and fair-trade activists yesterday in calling on the U.S. government not to move forward with the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or fast-track trade promotion authority that would speed its consideration… "The voices of millions of working, middle-class Americans cannot be ignored," said General President Jim Hoffa. "They are tired of being the casualties of bad trade deals that send good-paying jobs overseas. The Teamsters Union will continue the fight against Fast Track authorization and the Trans-Pacific Partnership – American workers cannot pay the price of another bad trade deal." Full story and photos here.
Friday deadline looms in behind-the-scenes battle over truck safety
Dec. 10, 2014 | More people will die if Congress weakens truck safety to make the trucking industry happy. And Congress may just do that as it races to meet the Dec. 12 deadline to pass a budget bill. Read here what the Teamsters are doing to stop the proposal.
Report: Sysco poised to complete $8.2B merger with US Foods
Dec. 11, 2014 | The New York Post reported today "…Sysco is selling assets worth $5 billion to Performance Food Group to win regulatory approval, two sources said. That is equal to roughly one-quarter of US Food's revenue…" Full story here.
Local 355 welcomes Anne Arundel County Fire Dept. battalion chiefs
Dec. 11, 2014 | In a representation election held December 10, 2014, Anne Arundel County Fire Department battalion chiefs voted unanimously to join Teamsters Local 355. “We are thrilled to be with the Teamsters. The big union is like our big brother,” said Michael Smith, a 25-year veteran with the Department. The group, an independent association, decided in September to seek the organized umbrella of a larger union that could provide the experience and assistance they need to continue to negotiate and enforce their contract. The battalion chiefs serve directly under the fire chief of Anne Arundel County, support 31 town and city fire stations, and coordinate management and delivery of emergency fire and medical services to the citizens of the county. Watch for their story in the upcoming issue of our newsletter. Pictured: Local 355 Business Agent Dan Taylor congratulates Anne Arundel County Battalion Chiefs Association president Michael Smith following the group’s unanimous vote to become Teamsters.
Call your senator NOW!
Dec. 12, 2014 | Tell them to vote NO on the Cloture and NO! on the Omnibus to protect Teamster pensions and jobs. Call 888-979-9806 to be connected to your senator. The Teamsters Union is opposed to the Omnibus Spending Bill. It keeps government open on the backs of hardworking Americans and retirees. Click here to learn what the legislation would do, then call your senator at 888-979-9806. Do it right now.
Teamsters denounce Senate passage of Omnibus Spending Bill
Dec. 15, 2014 | “With the passage of the omnibus spending bill by the Senate, we have witnessed the latest attack by corporate interests on working families, " said General President Jim Hoffa in response to the Senate's passage of the Omnibus Appropriations Bill. “Big business and Wall Street have bought and paid for influence and access that has allowed them to continue to enrich corporations at the expense of the middle class... We can only hope that President Obama rethinks his present course of action, recognizes the destructive nature of the provisions in this bill and vetoes it when it reaches his desk.” Full statement here. We encourage you to make one more call to the White House at 202-456-1414 to encourage President Obama to rethink his present course of action and veto it when it reaches his desk. This fight is not over. The union will be looking for any avenue to protect hard-earned Teamster pensions and will work to ensure transparency by any Teamster fund that might look to this legislation to provide relief. Click here for more information.
What the Cromnibus Law means for multiemployer pension plans
Dec. 16, 2014 | … The law states that plans in”critical and declining status” can temporarily or permanently suspend current and future benefits. This suspension can include benefits already accrued for vested participants and benefits already being paid to retirees and beneficiaries…The law sets limits. For example, the monthly benefit of any participant or beneficiary may not fall below 100% of the PBGC’s guaranteed monthly benefit. Participants and beneficiaries aged 75 and older are afforded special protections, as are those with benefits based on disability. Full story here. Related: Those pension cuts and what you need to know.
More than 400 Sysco workers in Atlanta vote Teamsters
Dec. 17, 2014 | In a major victory, Sysco workers have voted to join Teamsters Local 528 in Atlanta. With 423 workers in the bargaining unit, the vote for Teamster representation is the biggest at Sysco in years. The vote comes as the FTC continues its review of the proposed merger between Sysco and US Foods, a transaction that could place Sysco and US Foods workers' jobs in jeopardy. Full story here.
Take two and call me in the morning
Dec. 24, 2014 | The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding all employers and workers of the importance of maintaining a healthy, influenza-free workplace this season and throughout the New Year. Check out the Department of Labor's 7 simple ways you can help prevent seasonal flu in your workplace.