Collage of Local 853 members

Working toward solutions

By Dennis Hart —

Every five years, an election is held for the leadership of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. When long-time president James P. Hoffa announced his retirement, that opened the door for a rousing election between two powerful slates that took place last October. The results were announced in mid-November, and Sean O’Brien, from Boston, takes the reins of the Union starting on March 22. We look forward to working with General President O’Brien and the new General Executive Board.

General President O’Brien has a lot on his plate. The UPS contract, which is the Teamsters’ largest single contract covering more than 325,000 members, expires in 2023. It’s of paramount importance that we work closely with the leadership as these talks commence later this year. While we firmly believe that a strike is the option of last resort and we prefer to come to an amicable settlement, our members at UPS should start preparing now for the worst-case scenario.

Polls show that support for union membership is the highest that it’s been since the 1950s. This gives the Teamsters, nationally, and Local 853 new opportunities to organize. We know we’ll be looking at organizing Amazon, and we’re closely following the efforts to organize at Starbucks nationwide and here in California.

In addition to new leadership at the very top of the Teamsters tree, we have new leadership here at Local 853. (See new officer roster below.)

My goal, as your new Principal Officer, is to ensure that we negotiate good, strong contracts with input from our members. Whether COVID is over or just on pause, we’ll work to ensure that safety and working conditions continue to be addressed in our contracts, along with the all-important increases that our members want and deserve in wages, benefits, and retirement. And, our business reps will continue to represent you every day. Be sure to contact your rep if you have questions about your benefits or issues on the job.

As John Lennon said, “There’s no problem, only solutions.” We’re facing constant and interesting challenges ahead; my goal is to turn these into opportunities to grow and strengthen our union. That’s the solution. I trust you’ll be with me.


Secretary-Treasurer    Dennis Hart

President                     Lou Valletta

Vice President             Stacy Murphy

Recording Secretary    Stu Helfer

Trustees                       Joel Bellison • Gloria Segura • Reggie Knighten

Author: Local 853

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