Collage of Local 853 members

Secretary-Treasurer's Report

By Steve Beck, Local 853 Principal Officer

Steve Beck, Principal Officer/Secretary-Treasurer

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Meet your new Principal Officer

First, I want to introduce you to each other. Local 853 is the combined strength of our 13,000+ members who stand together for solid contracts that improve their wages, benefits, and working conditions. You work in numerous industries, from A to Z — Artists to Zookeepers. You work across the Greater Bay Area, up to the Oregon border, down the Central Coast, and out towards Sacramento. In all, Local 853 has contracts with more than 300 employers. Teamsters Local 853 has had a long history of being a strong local, leading the way into the future for its membership. We’ve organized in many new arenas (cannabis, bussing, zookeepers, etc.) that most others would not have had the foresight to take on-—and we will continue to do so. That said, not everything has been easy. Like many of our industries, we have had ups and downs during the pandemic. In addition, we had an election for new leadership and, with that, came changes in our Local. Now, I would like to introduce myself. I’m your newly elected Principal Officer and Secretary-Treasurer. It is an honor to be elected by the membership of Local 853 and to represent you into the future. I have a strong team of officers, trustees, business agents, and administrative staff who will work together to strengthen our Local from the ground up and ensure that it works for you. But this is a task we can only achieve with your support. We need all members to unite

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Time for change at Local 853

By Dennis Hart — When I began my career as a UPS driver in San Francisco back in 1974, I never would have imagined that 48 years later, I would be leading one of the largest and most successful Teamster locals in the nation. But that’s exactly the turn my career took. Now, after serving as President or Secretary-Treasurer for the last five years, I will be leaving this position and starting a new chapter in my life. Even though we have just endured a hard-fought election, I trust that Local 853 will be in good hands. Leaving the Teamsters is not an easy move. Being involved in the union has truly been a labor of love. For me, it has always been about what’s best for our members. Over the years, I’ve served as a shop steward at UPS, an Executive Board member, and a Business Agent, first at Local 278, then at Local 296, which merged into Local 78, which eventually became part of Local 853. I represented UPS members for 12 years, including during the historic 1997 UPS strike. I then moved into representing workers in the Brewery and Soft Drink industries, both as a Business Agent and as an International Representative for 22 years, negotiating hundreds of contracts that truly changed industry standards locally and nationally I currently serve as a Trustee on three different Health & Welfare Trusts. By being on these Trusts, I have been able to provide high-quality, affordable health and welfare benefits

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Local 853 – Racking up the Successes

By Dennis Hart— This is an exciting time for the labor movement. The kinds of companies that seemed out-of-reach to unions just a few years ago are suddenly growing a union presence—from the Starbucks’ baristas at 200 shops and counting, to firsts at Amazon (Staten Island), Trader Joe’s (western Massachusetts), and REI (New York City). While every other institution in America has seen a decline in confidence and support, the union movement has actually seen growth. As the Grateful Dead shared, “You ain’t gonna learn what you don’t wanna know.” There’s a lot to know about your union and our efforts to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for our nearly 15,000 members. If you scroll through this e-newsletter, you’ll see stories that cover about half of our members: • 800 members who, working for four different contractors and driving buses for the Tech industry have recently started talks. • 1,500 UPS members will be going into contract negotiations. On August 1, we commemorated the 25th anniversary of the 1997 UPS strike and unofficially launched the contract campaign. • Our business reps have gotten renewal contracts at UNFI, Golden Brands, Kellogg’s, Student Transport of America (STA) San Jose, TransDev/San Francisco Paratransit; First Student, Clear Channel Outdoor, and many more—together representing about 1,000 workers. Many of these agreements are record-setting in terms of wages and benefits. • Our efforts have won organizing victories at Argent Materials, Premier Recycling, and Canon Business Services, though the hard work ahead is getting a first

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The Value of Voting

By Dennis Hart— If you’re wondering why it’s important for Teamsters to get involved in politics, here are two reasons. Because of the Biden administration, the pension plan for about 1,000 of our members in the printing industry (formerly of GCC Local 583) has been saved and will not go insolvent as of next month. That’s because the Biden administration inserted the “Butch Lewis Act” into the American Rescue Plan. This Teamster-backed bill provides foundational support for troubled multi-employer union pension plans. City Councils across the Bay Area—from San Francisco to Hayward to Gilroy to Fremont and more—have turned down Amazon’s requests to open mega-warehouses offering little more than sweatshop jobs. Elected officials have stood up to America’s largest single employer saying, “We won’t accept crappy jobs. We want good jobs for our communities!” Be sure to vote in the June primary, and again in the November general election. Your vote matters! Before you vote, check out the Teamster endorsements here. Fighting for UPS Part-Timers In January, some UPS part-timers got a rude awakening in their paychecks. Instead of the $21.50/hour they had grown used to, their wages were reduced to $17.50 or so. This is because the company had raised the wages for the part-timers in many of its metro-area facilities using what was called a “Market Rate Adjustment,” and since that adjustment wasn’t in the contract, they could withdraw it as easily as they gave it. The Teamsters said, “Not so fast,” and organized monthly rallies, first at

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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

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A new beginning

By Dennis Hart — As I take over as Principal Officer of Local 853, having served as President of the Local for the last several years, I reflect on the brilliant leadership of Rome Aloise, who, as Secretary-Treasurer since 1992, worked to build this local into a powerhouse. He stands down now, but it will be difficult, if not impossible to replace him and his decades of experience and commitment to the Teamsters union. My mission, as Secretary-Treasurer, is to continue where Rome left off, with the goals of organizing and building an ever-stronger union that diligently represents and fights for all of our members, and that strives to bring new workers and industries into the Teamster family. Rome leaves one of the strongest, most financially stable local unions in the nation. Most important, Rome’s commitment was always to the membership first and foremost. We have a strong team of business agents, organizers, and office staff, and we will not skip a beat in terms of servicing our members. As Bob Dylan said, “there is nothing so stable as change.” Together, we will weather the change and come out stronger. I look forward to the challenge.  

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