TEAMSTERS LOCAL 533
NORTHERN NEVADA/NORTHEASTERN CALIFORNIA


BREAKING NEWS

UPDATE FRIDAY, 21 Aug. 2009 12:58 a.m. PDT/ 07:58 ZULU/GMT/SUT/CUT — Thanks to everyone for all the kind words in response to Of Scabs and Solidarity. I will upload some of them shortly. And thanks to KRNV TV-4 News for being the only television news department continuing coverage of this story. Stay tuned. Be well. Raise hell. Andrew

UPDATE THURSDAY, 20 Aug. 2009 3:38 a.m. PDT/ 10:38 ZULU/GMT/SUT/CUT —

Warning to building trades: Granite replaces Teamsters with rats
Reno Gazette-Journal 8-20-2009


Of scabs and solidarity

20 August 2009

Brothers and Sisters:

Regular Barbwire readers/viewers/listeners know that I don't like the term "scab" because it's an insult to scabs. A scab is Mother Nature's Band-Aid, a protective covering for healing wounds. I thus do not dignify union busters by calling them scabs.

I prefer rats. And that's an insult to self-respecting, industrious vermin.

There are few feelings worse than knowing you have been sold out by your own.

The late and late-in-life reformed union buster Martin Jay Levitt* told the 1997 Nevada State AFL-CIO convention that he had conducted 105 anti-union campaigns in what he termed his "gruesome profession." He lost only five because in those cases, unions did not break solidarity. He added that if unions maintain solidarity, they cannot be defeated.

This incident should act as a warning to every building trades union in the country, and especially in Nevada, of the scary and scorched-earth shape of things to come. Granite is a huge national outfit, no. 738 in the Fortune 1000.

I am sending this too-familiar tale at my own initiative, only to my union-member lists, not acting at anyone's request. If anyone on those lists has crossed the Teamsters picket lines to report for work, please e-mail me so that I may delete you.

Keep the faith. As I upload this, I see the summer sun dawning this on what is forecast as a record hot day. Good.

Be well. Raise hell.

Solidarity forever,

Andrew
NevadaLabor.com
Barbwire.TV

* If you have not already, I suggest that you read Confessions of a Union Buster by Levitt and Terry Conrow, Crown Books, 1993, available in paperback.

CWA 9413/AFL-CIO

 

Teamsters end Granite pickets but remain away from work
Reno Gazette-Journal 8-19-2009

Union removes picket lines from Granite job sites
Daily Sparks Tribune 8-19-2009


UPDATE TUESDAY, 18 Aug. 2009 4:59 p.m. PDT/ 23:59 ZULU/GMT/SUT/CUT —

HOT AUGUST STRIKE SUSPENDED

TEAMSTERS PULL PICKETERS, ASK GRANITE TO RETURN TO THE BARGAINING TABLE

RENO — Teamsters Local 533 has removed picket lines from Granite Construction jobsites in northern Nevada and eastern California and offered to return to work.

"We do this in good faith and ask the company to return to the table and bargain in good faith," stated Teamsters Local 533 Secretary-Treasurer Paul Tea.

The union reached the decision after meetings this morning. Under federal labor law, employers are required to reinstate striking workers who offer to return with no pre-conditions.

Union members walked off the job last Sunday afternoon after negotiations broke down on Thursday. The major issue involved Granite's demand for an $8.00 per hour pay cut from about 60 Teamsters drivers employed by the company.

Last year, Granite's profits increased 9.2 percent over 2007 to $122.4 million, according to Fortune/CNNmoney.com. Granite ranks as number 738 in Fortune magazine's latest list of the 1,000-largest companies in the United States.

Granite reported a gross profit of 18 percent on total western U.S. revenues in the second quarter of 2009.

Teamsters Local 533 represents 2,300 workers at a wide range of public and private sector organizations throughout northern Nevada and eastern California. The union's jurisdiction covers 180,000 square miles, from Bishop, Calif., to Tonopah and Ely, Nev., on the south, Cedarville, Calif., to the northwest and the Nevada/Idaho/Utah border to the east.

UPDATE: 9:03 p.m. PDT 18 Aug. 2009 / 04:03 19 Aug. ZULU/GMT/SUT/CUT —
Union attorney Michael Langton told KRNV TV-4 news that the Teamsters have made a gesture of good faith to get the company back to the bargaining table. Granite boss Rod Cooper told the station that Granite has not decided whether or not to file charges with the National Labor Relations Board. Langton noted that the union already filed charges of bad faith bargaining with the NLRB last Friday, Aug. 14. Stay tuned.

UPDATE TUESDAY, 18 Aug. 2009 10:45 a.m. PDT/ 17:45 ZULU/GMT/SUT/CUT — HOT AUGUST STRIKE WORD FROM THE STREETS: A report, unconfirmed by Teamsters officials, came in from union brothers who reported for duty to support the Teamsters this morning. They say that the pickets at the Glendale/19th Street Sparks ready-mix plant have been pulled and that a meeting is taking place. Stay tuned.

HOT AUGUST STRIKE

Strike expands
Reno-Tahoe Airport added to picketing sites. NDOT next?
Reno Gazette-Journal 8-18-2009

Union pickets persist
Daily Sparks Tribune 8-18-2009

Teamsters strike against Granite
Daily Sparks Tribune 8-17-2009

UPDATE SUNDAY, 16 Aug. 2009 11:05 p.m. PDT/ 06:05 17 Aug. ZULU/GMT/SUT/CUT — Granite boss Rod Cooper read a statement to KOLO TV-8 News which aired on the station's 11:00 p.m. newscast. He said that Granite believes that the strike is illegal. Pure corporate drivel. KOLO and KRNV TV-4 led with the strike story. KTVN TV-2 ran the union press release, noting that Granite was unavailable for a statement. KRNV TV-4 showed a long lineup of trucks which should be in use but are not. Twenty truckloads of ready-mix were due out tonight, losing Granite $1,500 per load, or $30,000 in revenue. Even if non-union drivers are utilized, the product can't be applied without union laborers and operating engineers. Both unions have pledged to honor Teamsters picket lines. Stay tuned.

UPDATE SUNDAY, 16 Aug. 2009 10:51 p.m. PDT/ 05:51 17 Aug. ZULU/GMT/SUT/CUT —

Picketing at Granite's Sparks headquarters and ready-mix plant is at the 19th Street gate on the west side of the complex. Workers reporting for their shifts have turned away. Non-union drivers have entered the site.

Picketing expanded Sunday evening to Granite's Lockwood gravel pit, on Interstate 80 about four miles east of Sparks in Storey County, Nev. Watch this space for additional picketing sites as they form.

Granite told reporters tonight that they favor a peaceful settlement and that they continue to bargain with the Teamsters. Both statements are false. Causing a strike is not peaceful and there are no negotiations. They said they will "send something" to the union on Monday. Hope springs eternal.

UPDATE SUNDAY, 16 Aug. 2009 4:59 p.m. PDT/ 23:59 ZULU/GMT/SUT/CUT —

August 16, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
PAUL TEA (775) 348-6060 ext. 18


Teamsters Union strikes Granite Construction in Nevada and California

RENO (Aug. 16) — Teamsters Local 533 drivers went on strike against giant Granite Construction in California and Nevada at 5:00 p.m. PDT Sunday, Aug. 16.

Picket lines have gone up at Granite's Nevada headquarters at 1900 Glendale Road in Sparks, just west of Rock Blvd. The Glendale facility is also the location of a ready mix concrete plant supplying Granite operations.

A primary user of that concrete is one of the first targets of the work stoppage.

Picket lines have also gone up at the Interstate 80 roadway rehabilitation project at Floriston, Calif., just west of the California-Nevada state line. Local 533 drivers bring concrete and asphalt to construction sites and haul waste material away. Without them, construction shuts down.

Contract talks between Teamsters Local 533 and the huge national company broke down last Thursday. A contract extension expired at midnight Saturday. The workers twice unanimously voted to strike.

The Building and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada/AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions will support the Teamsters. This could mean a shutdown of both private and public construction jobs in Local 533's huge jurisdiction as well as in other markets where Granite does business.

"Granite gave our members no choice," stated union secretary-treasurer Paul Tea.

"Granite's conduct showed they did not want resolution, they wanted confrontation. They could not call our bluff because the Teamsters don't bluff," Tea added.

"Such tactics are not new. We only represent about 60 drivers, a very small number of this huge company's workforce. This would not be the first time that an employer has targeted a few to abuse as examples in order to bludgeon workers in larger markets," Tea noted.

"We are proud that other unions will stand with us in preventing this cancer from spreading nationwide and we invite them to express solidarity by joining us on the picket lines," Tea asserted. (MORE ON THE ISSUES)

Expressions of support for and solidarity with striking Granite drivers


August 15, 2009

Teamsters Union prepares to strike Granite Construction in the west
Contract extension expires at midnight

RENO (Aug. 15, 2009) — A strike by Teamsters Union drivers could shut down giant Granite Construction in California and Nevada anytime after midnight tonight.

Contract talks between Teamsters Local 533 and the huge national company broke down last Thursday.

"They have been negotiating in bad faith and I told them so," stated union secretary-treasurer Paul Tea.

"They want our drivers to take an $8.00 an hour pay cut on private sector work, from $21 down to $13 an hour. Granite is very profitable and has been winning bids at the pay rates under the contract which expired on July 31, so we cannot see how they can make such a family-devastating demand. They have failed to give us any information which would justify such a drastic cut," Tea added.

"We have offered a wage freeze. Our members have helped the company to be profitable and deserve to be paid an honest wage for their labor," Tea said.

"We even brought in negotiators from our international union to try to resolve the impasse, but Granite's conduct has shown they don't want resolution, they want confrontation. Such tactics are not new. We only represent about 60 drivers, a very small number of this huge company's workforce. This would not be the first time that an employer has targeted a few to abuse as examples in order to bludgeon workers in larger markets," Tea added.

"They can't call our bluff because the Teamsters don't bluff," Tea stated.

The workers unanimously voted to authorize a strike weeks ago. Granite's final offer was presented to the membership on Friday evening, Aug. 14. They again unanimously voted to strike.

The Building and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada/AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions have voted to support a Teamsters walkout. This could mean a shutdown of both private and public construction jobs in Local 533's huge jurisdiction as well as in other markets where Granite does business.

Local 533 drivers bring concrete and asphalt to construction sites and haul waste material away. Without them, construction shuts down.

"Granite's proposal would bring our workers perilously close to the inflation-adjusted minimum wage," Tea added.
The buying power of the U.S. minimum wage peaked in 1968. Adjusted for the cost of living, the $1.60 rate from 1968 becomes $9.90 in 2009 dollars, just $3.10 away from Granite's rock-bottom offer.

"Their proposals are uniformly outrageous, but the pay cut is the backbreaker," Tea said.

"The union allowed early re-opening of contract talks when we did not have to. We wanted plenty of time to work things out. Granite quickly set its positions in cement and has refused to move. They want to eliminate the Teamsters hiring hall, gut grievance procedures and cut back our scope of work," Tea noted.

"We are proud that other unions will stand with us in preventing this cancer from spreading nationwide," Tea asserted.

"We will not let Granite become a modern-day robber baron, using tough economic times to exploit working people when the company is making lots of money," Tea stated.

Last year, Granite's profits increased 9.2 percent over 2007 to $122.4 million, according to Fortune/CNNmoney.com. Granite ranks as number 738 in Fortune magazine's latest list of the 1,000-largest companies in the United States.

Granite reported a gross profit of 18 percent on total western U.S. revenues in the second quarter of 2009.

Teamsters Local 533 represents 2,300 workers at a wide range of public and private sector organizations throughout northern Nevada and eastern California. The union's jurisdiction covers 180,000 square miles, from Bishop, Calif., to Tonopah and Ely, Nev., on the south, Cedarville, Calif., to the northwest and the Nevada/Idaho/Utah border to the east.



Paul Tea
Frank Thurston
George R. Thrower
Debbie Calkins

In the News

 

Teamsters strike against Granite
Daily Sparks Tribune 8-17-2009

 

Don't screw with the Teamsters in hot weather
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-16-2009

 

Local union threatens to strike in Granite talks
Reno Gazette-Journal / 8-16-2009

 

School district supervisor tenders resignation after embezzlement investigation
Front Page / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-14-2009

 

Washoe County School District investigating embezzlement allegations at Sparks bus yard
Front Page / Daily Sparks Tribune / 7-2-2009

 

Regional Teamsters announce new leadership

RENO (June 26, 2009) – Second-generation union member Paul Tea is the new secretary-treasurer and principal officer of Teamsters Local 533.

Tea previously served as president and business agent and has been a Teamster for 14 years.

Frank Thurston succeeded Tea as president of the 2,300-member union.

Thurston previously served as a business agent and will now be engaged in organizing.

He has been a union member for 34 years and brings 22 years of experience as a member of Local 533's executive board.

"We are especially pleased that even in the current economic environment, our membership numbers have held steady," Tea said.

George R. Thrower has moved from trustee to vice-president and human rights coordinator.

He is a 23-year RTC Ride driver, shop steward and member of the union's negotiating committee.

Debbie Calkins, Jason Shipp and Bob Sworden will serve on the union's board of trustees.

Nicole Ernst has succeeded Shipp as recording secretary.

She additionally manages the union office and acts as the local's bookkeeper.

Shipp is a pickup and delivery driver for Yellow Roadway Corp. and has been a shop steward and union member for 16 years.

A veteran of two combat deployments, he is currently on active duty with the Nevada National Guard as a marksmanship instructor.

Calkins, a feeder driver at UPS, has been a Teamster for 18 years and a shop steward for the past 15 years.

Sworden works for Chugach Support Services, a contractor at Naval Air Station Fallon.

He is a 15-year Fallon resident and has been a Teamsters member for more than two decades.

Tea, Calkins, Ernst and Shipp all reside in Sparks, as does lifetime Rail City resident Thurston.

Thrower lives in Reno.

Teamsters Local 533 represents workers throughout northern Nevada and eastern California at a wide range of public and private sector organizations.

Additional signatory companies include Model Dairy, Southern Wine and Spirits, Waste Management, U.S. Foods, Farmer Brothers Coffee, Alsco Linen and Silver State Liquor.


Jason Shipp
Bob Sworden
Nicole Ernst

Expressions of support for and solidarity with striking Granite drivers

 

 

 

Teamsters Local 533 announces new officers
Reno Gazette-Journal 6-26-2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Sworden of Fallon named to Teamsters Local 533 board of trustees
Lahontan Valley News
6-27-2009

 

Sunday, 18 Jan. 2009 5:40 p.m. PST / 01:40 ZULU/GMT 19 Jan. 2009— Teamsters Union members overwhelmingly ratified a new contract with the operator of the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County's RTC Ride bus system. Click here for the full story.

 

Keep RTC Access accessible to the local disabled
Daily Sparks Tribune 1-25-2009

 

TEAMSTERS LOCAL 533 ARCHIVES

Expressions of support for and solidarity with striking Granite drivers

Teamsters 2010

2008-09 Teamsters RTC/Ride negotiations
Links to 14-year news-photo-strike archives

Teamsters 2008

Teamsters 2006

Teamsters 2005

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