It's all in the family: Teamsters Charlie Brown (r) is a sales rep at Pepsi and his son Tyerel (l) drives for Waste Management.
It was standing room only at the Union Hall on Sunday as Teamster Shop Steward Charlie Brown, together with well over a hundred of his co-workers, packed the main auditorium to vote on their contract with Pepsi.
The agreement was chock full of improvements. There were provisions to significantly boost wages and pension contributions in all four years of the contract and language to improve the holiday pay structure.
Merchandisers saw new language streamlining vacation approval, and the sales team benefited from an improved compensation structure.
Brown, a 14-year member who served on the Union negotiations committee, was proud of what his team had accomplished.
"We held a strong stance on the things we wanted," he said. "We fought and pushed and stood strong."
The Union's tenacity in bargaining, led by President and Director of Representation Paul Dascher, along with unprecedented member engagement in the process, resulted in one of the best contracts the group had ever seen. After reviewing the proposal, members voted overwhelmingly to ratify.
“We had really good showing across the board," said 20-year Teamster and Shop Steward Thad Faulkner, who services vending machines at the Fort Lewis Air Force Base (JBLM). "There was a good mixture from all departments. It ranged from senior guys to 90-day guys who are just starting out.”
Turnout was solid at the Pepsi ratification meeting where members voted overwhelmingly to approve a new four-year deal.
"The new contract is a major step in the right direction," Brown enthused. "Our pension is protected, and we're happy with the pay increase and the improved language. It makes me feel like I can stay here a long time."
In a non-Union workplace, the kinds of guaranteed economic improvements seen in the new Pepsi contract are hard to imagine. Similarly so are the safeguards that protect employees when they are disciplined without cause.
For Brown, the importance of this particular benefit struck close to home when his son, Tyerel, a former Pepsi employee, was wrongfully terminated by the company a month before Christmas.
"He'd just had a baby, and he didn't know how he'd be able to provide for his family," Brown said.
The incident compelled Brown to jump into the Shop Steward role. Ultimately, the Union helped Tyerel get his job back. After six more years at Pepsi, Brown's son secured a Teamster job at Waste Management, where he now drives a recycle yard and waste truck.
"I'm proud to be a Teamster because we care about each other, and we look out for each other's families," Brown said. "We protect our members if they're mistreated. That holds true for my co-workers and holds true for my son."
The bargain also benefits members at Teamsters Locals 174 and 313: “This multi-Local, coordinated effort resulted in three separate contracts that all three Locals ratified overwhelmingly," President Dascher said. "It’s clear proof that when we all strategically coordinate in our efforts to best represent our members, the members benefit greatly.”
Do you like this page?