More than 160 Teamster drivers, helpers and warehouse workers at Centrex stood together and won big gains in their new contract.
Centrex is the largest beer, liquor and wine distributor in Rhode Island. The company has been profitable for years, but Teamsters saw little change in their wages and benefits—until they organized and fought for them through a contract campaign.
“This contract marks an exciting time for us at Centrex,” said night steward Dave Gareau. “People are excited and ready to fight for from here on out.”
Members built solidarity by coming together in parking lot rallies and cookouts. This summer, pressure escalated and Centrex Teamsters unanimously voted to authorize a strike.
High-seniority members united with newer hires, to demand higher wages for lower-tier workers and to shorten the progression to top rates. They won a $5/hr. increase for new hires, and a $4.50/hr. increase for existing workers. Members also won an extra week of paid vacation and maintained employer-paid Teamster healthcare.
“For too long, we weren’t seeing the wealth we create for Centrex reflected in our pockets,” explains steward David Donofio. “This contract not only pushes us closer to where we should be, but it gives us respect and power over our working conditions, with vacation and healthcare, too.”