Local 251’s Matt Taibi and Mike Simone speak out on the fight for a fair contract on Labor Vision TV. UPS and UPS Freight contract negotiations continue on March 19. Local 251 is fighting for a strong contract with no givebacks.
Skilled maintenance workers at Roger Williams Medical Center represented by Teamsters Local 251 in East Providence, R.I. unanimously ratified a first contract following more than a year of fighting for improvements on the job.
The workers joined Local 251 on January 6, 2017, but faced an uphill battle during negotiations that led to the union filing five unfair labor practice (ULPs) charges against the company. The ULP charges included failure to bargain in good faith, failure to provide a scheduled wage increase and unlawful surveillance. The workers stood together in solidarity throughout the fight, staging an informational picket in front of the medical center in September 2017 to raise awareness of the company’s behavior.
“There’s a myth in America that as workers we have to just be thankful for what employers give us. But it’s just a myth. With a union you can have a say in your wages and working conditions,” said Matt Taibi, Local 251 Secretary-Treasurer. “We’re proud of this group for standing together. Their solidarity shows what workers can achieve when they collectively bargain.”
The three-year contract, ratified on February 4, 2018, includes strong language regarding seniority, equipment and safety, job security and protections against the expansion of per diem employees. The contract also includes wage adjustments for shift differentials, on-call pay and wage increases of an additional 5 percent over the life of the agreement.
The members also received an immediate wage increase and bonus triggered by the contract ratification. The skilled maintenance unit at Roger Williams Medical Center includes the boiler operators, electricians, HVAC techs and mechanics, carpenters, plumbers and pipefitters, painters, mechanics and maintenance engineers.
Six months after voting unanimously to join Teamsters Local 251, drivers at Construct Oil Company ratified their first agreement. The drivers work in East Providence, providing onsite diesel fueling for trucking companies.
The contract was ratified unanimously on January 21. The union had reached a tentative agreement on January 11. The negotiating team, which included drivers Mike Souza and John Perry, are proud of the new agreement, which includes:
– Seniority bidding for work opportunities, open routes and shifts;
– Overtime after eight hours per day;
– Double time on Sundays;
– Safety bonuses per quarter;
– Language allowing the union and company to negotiate changes to the health plan if costs increase substantially;
– An annual shoe allowance;
– Entrance into the New England Teamsters and Trucking Industry Pension Fund;
– Strong wage increases; and
– Great contract language regarding discipline, grievance and arbitration, equipment safety and job security.
The drivers at Construct Oil initially approached the union about organizing after having concerns about job security and obtaining a secure contract. Construct Oil is a division of Taylor Oil, where there are Teamster members represented by Local 25 and other locals in the Northeast.
“This is one of the strongest first contracts I’ve witnessed. We made quite a bit of progress right off the bat,” said Michael Simone, Local 251 Organizer and Trustee. “It’s a testament to the fact that when workers come together and demand fairness, they can get it.”
“Contracts are never easy, but if you don’t stand up you’ll continue just taking what the company gives,” said Matt Taibi, Local 251 Secretary-Treasurer. “Without a union, the drivers would never have made this possible.”
“Organizing and getting a superb first contract cannot go without recognizing the passion, support and dedication of Local 251,” said Mike Souza, committee member. “Thanks so much for changing people’s lives for the better! We are proud to be Teamsters!”
Drivers and Maintenance Workers Vote Unanimously for Union Representation
Shuttle drivers and maintenance workers employed by Standard Parking (SP Plus) at T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island are the newest workers to join Teamsters Local 251.
The workers voted 18-0 to join the Teamsters on January 10. The election was certified on January 23.
“The vote says so much. In these times, 18-0 in favor of the union tells you how badly management was abusing these workers,” said Matt Taibi, Teamsters Local 251 Secretary-Treasurer.
The workers initially called the union in November 2017, with assistance from SEIU 1199 NE. Currently the top wage is only $12.50 an hour and new hires are paid the exact same wage as long-term employees. The company hasn’t offered a wage increase in years.
Other issues include bathroom access and conditions, the use of cameras that run 24/7, and unfair terminations and discipline.
“The only bathroom access allowed to them was a porta potty in the middle of a field. It’s rarely serviced, filthy and sweltering hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter,” said Michael Simone, Teamsters organizer and Trustee. “Simply put: it was disgusting.”
Joint Council 10 assisted Local 251 in the drive. Local 25 has Standard Parking members in the Boston area, and the Council was helpful in coordinating research during the drive.
“Working together, that is what a union is about,” said Sean O’Brien, International Vice President and Joint Council 10 Secretary-Treasurer. “Local 251 worked hard and the vote shows it. It was an amazing show of solidarity. And as these new members stand together, Local 251 will help them change their lives for the better.”
Joint Council 10 principal officer Sean O’Brien put management on notice that New England Teamsters are united against the company’s actions.
UPS management wanted to force drivers to come in for a sixth punch this weekend. That did NOT happen.
This morning, Local 251 members met in the UPS parking lot in a show of force. UPS Teamsters across New England took the same action.
UPS drivers in Local 251 were asked to start early this morning. They declined the optional early start.
We’re not going to go out of our way for the company when management is going of their way to ignore driver safety and violate our rights as union members.
United, we win.
United Way of Rhode Island honored Matthew Taibi, Teamsters Local 251 Principal Officer, with the 2017 Dante Mollo Labor Award presented by RI AFL-CIO President George Nee, at its 91st Annual Celebration on October 5, 2017.
“In supporting and advocating for his fellow union members,” said United Way of Rhode Island, “Matthew goes above and beyond their work-related needs, with everything he does focused on the family behind each individual member. Matthew leads Teamsters Local 251 as Secretary Treasurer and Principal Officer.”
Click here to watch the video honoring Taibi from the United Way of Rhode Island.
This month, the RI General Assembly passed new legislation guaranteeing most Rhode Islanders the right to earn paid sick time to care for their health and their family.
But a right is only a right if you know you have it! This law will impact a lot of workers and businesses, and we want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to learn about the policy and weigh in on the regulations-drafting process that will take place between now and the law’s implementation next year.
Join Representatives Regunberg and others for an open conversation on this important new legislation.
Wednesday 10/11, 5:30pm
301 Hope St
Bristol, RI 02809
Monday 10/16, 6pm
50 Rolfe Square
Cranston, RI 02910
See the Facebook Event
Tuesday 10/17, 6pm
Woodlawn Community Center
210 West Ave
Pawtucket RI 02860
See the Facebook Event
Teamsters Local 251 will honor this year’s Labor Day by participating in the Labor United Against Racism Labor’s Day March and Rally being organized by Rhode Island Jobs with Justice.
All members, their families and friends, are encouraged to attend the March & Rally on Monday, September, 4 starting at 12:30 PM, beginning at Burnside Park and ending at the State House lawn in Providence.
This Labor Day, all working people are called upon to unite against the corporate greed that continues to rig the rules to benefit the 1% and to stand against the bigotry and racist violence that threatens our communities.
We stand together with all members of our communities who are seeking social, racial and economic justice, an economy that works for all of us, and a society free of the evils of racism and white supremacist hate.
Anti-Racist Labor Day March & Rally
Monday, September 4 starting at 12:30 PM
Beginning at Burnside Park ending at the State House
Providence, Rhode Island
Hosted by Rhode Island Jobs with Justice (www.rijwj.wordpress.com)
Local 251 Teamsters at UPS celebrated the 20th anniversary of our 1997 strike victory by holding a parking lot rally to gear up for the next contract. We’re ready to fight and ready to win!
Teamster Local 251 members have won an agreement for a new contract at Twin River Casino after a 41.5 hour strike from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning. Teamster members unanimously authorized a strike when Twin River demanded a contract that imposed health care cuts and eliminated workers’ job security.
On Tuesday evening, Local 251 and Twin River negotiators reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract that secures and improves workers’ health benefits. The agreement needs member ratification.
The agreement delivered three percent annual wage increases for non-tipped employees and improvements on the benefits previously imposed by Twin River. Twin River also dropped its demands for contract changes that would give management the right to lay off all parking valets and subcontract their jobs to a non-union operator.
“My job security is everything to me,” said Cory Almeida. “It took a strike to protect our jobs, and we were ready to do it.” Other union workers honored Teamster picket lines.
Local 251 members credited public support and solidarity between unions for delivering the breakthrough in Tuesday’s negotiations that led to a tentative agreement.
“We’re hitting a tipping point,” said Local 251 Principal Officer Matt Taibi. “Rhode Islanders see growing inequality, healthcare cuts, and the loss of good jobs. They see that corporate greed and corporate politicians are hurting working families.
“People are not buying the tired, old arguments about unions. Unions aren’t the problem. We’re the solution,” Taibi said. “The showdown at Twin River shows that corporate greed is a losing bet.”