History Archive

Welcome to our History Archive page!  Here are some fun, interesting facts about our local union’s history. There are actions that were made and statements that were said we are proud of, while other parts we may not agree with, but, this is our story and we’d like to share these highlights in its entirety.  All quotes are directly taken from our minutes in meetings.

Our Complete History

Pictures from Sealy Mattress Strike, 1980s.

1930s

-1936-

Found September 23rd in Martinez, CA.

Our first meeting on October 9th, where the first motion, that also carries, is to “demand all laundry driver locals to turn over their drivers to the Teamsters”.

Highway drivers wages 75¢ an hour, their helper 70¢ an hour. Average work week 60 hours.

Pay rate of 31-50 horsepower truck driver: $10/day. Under 31-year-olds: $7.50.

Drayage (household movers) received 75¢ an hour. Ice truck drivers 91¢ an hour.

-1937-

Membership grows this year averaging 20-35 new members a month, and before the year’s up, membership is over 600.

315 receives a letter from labor leader Tom Mooney asking Local 315 for legal expenses.

Tom Mooney in prison, Source: Yale Law Library

Did you know…?
Tom Mooney was a radical union organizer for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) who worked out of San Francisco to organize Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) before World War I.  On July 22nd, 1916 was the “Preparedness Day” Parade, to celebrate U.S. preparedness for the war, but ended tragically with a bomb killing six people. Mooney and his wife were wrongly convicted with four others, serving 22 years, and Governor Culbert Olsen gave him a full pardon in 1938.  Mooney died three years later.  This event made an embarrassment out of the U.S. justice system and a famous labor martyr out of Mooney. While in prison he had sent a letter to Local 315 in 1937 to raise money for a new trial.

-1938-

“He was given two days to straighten up his business or else.”
First mention of back pay for a 315 member. $100 check for J. Schroder from the Pacino Baking Company in Martinez.

Ice business and laundry companies become an important source of employment for our members in the 30s and 40s.

-1939-

Teamsters and all organized labor successfully pressures state legislature to require those working on roads and highways be paid prevailing union wages partially or completely funded by the state. Similar legislation is still in place for state and federal projects, but contractors are circumventing the law with help of anti-union state and federal lawmakers.

Vice President Rains reports Federal government funds two doctors in this County at no charge to combat veneral disease at no charge and visits are strictly confidential.

1940s

-1941-

Membership votes in the Richmond Shipbuilders Corp., rapidly increasing the membership, but 315 sees a drastic decline in attendance at regular meetings. 15-17 members versus 60+ when the local was new and small.

-1942-

A motion carries that imposes a $50 fine on any member who fails to register or fails to vote.

81 members joined the United States Armed Services.

-1943-

$500 donation goes t0 the Red Cross and 315 holds a tin drive for tin reprocessing for the war effort. 11 cases of cigarettes for servicemen have been shipped overseas.

Citations increase for members due to various infractions including being dispatched and not showing, bad mouthing the union or one of it’s representatives, using non-union helpers or trucks, and speeding.  During the war, the speed limit was set to 35 miles per hour country wide as an effort for conservation during the war.

-1944-

$1,000 donation to the Red Cross, then an extra $100 is donated for the relief work in the Port Chicago, CA, where two ammunition ships explode, killing hundreds of workers and rack the entire Bay Area.

$2,500 donated to help Salvation Army build a new citadel in Richmond, CA.

$1,000 donated to California Labor Federation and $1,000 donated for the Contra Costa County Citizens Committee to defeat Proposition 12, a right-to-work ballot initiative.

-1946-

Membership hits 2,600.

Coca-Cola drivers offers $65.84 a week for six-day work weeks.  Drivers settle on $63.84 for a five-day work week.

War is over! Shipyards and supporting industries decline.

1947 (1941 Auto Car) Ferry Building, SF- Ed Bergenson- Pacific Motor Trucking (P.M.T.) Company

-1947-

April 29, Property at 2727 Alhambra Ave. is purchased for $70,000 by the Board. Before the union hall was built, this plot housed a service station, restaurant, and motel cabins.  They were demolished in 1966 to build our main hall that we still have today!

All union officials required to sign forms under the Taft-Hartley Act, stating they are not members of the Communist Party.  If not signed, Local 315 would have received no protection by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The Taft-Hartley Act, also known as the Labor Management Relations Act, was a bill vetoed by President Harry Truman, but still passed to correct unfair labor practices by unions.

-1948-

Beverage drivers authorize Officers to accept contract if pay increases to $72.50 a week.

Local 315 push for furniture drivers be paid $14 per day working 46 hour work weeks with 48 hours of pay and six paid holidays.

-1949-

After the war, many shipyards shut down and workers disperse to other worksites, requiring Teamsters to organize many worksites to regain membership.

Special Cab Drivers meeting with 48 brothers and sisters present, demanding a $10 a day, 10 hour shift with a 30 minute lunch.

Secretary-Treasurer Erle Carter recommends that any steward who does not attend at least one meeting every three months be removed as steward– motion passes.

Please Note: They brought a donkey to this picket! Circa 1970s-80s

1950s

-1950-

20-25 members initiated every month.

Wage freeze for the Local Drayage drivers due to the Korean War, but benefits increase in their Medical plan.

-1950-

“The Teamsters are interested in more industry, more business, more population and more pay-roll and this can only result by using industrial land for industrial purposes.” Motion made to support Assistant Business Agent and City Councilman John Sheridan on redevelopment in Richmond on already industrial properties.

First mention of Safeway constructing a processing plant in Richmond.

Oil spreaders and boatmen (Telfer Tank Lines in Contra Costa County) would be paid $2.38 an hour from October 1951-August 20th 1952, the highest hourly rate mentioned so far.

-1952-

Ready Mix Division. All requests for increases in wages, health and welfare, hours of work, vacations, etc. passes unanimously. “A motion was made and seconded to buy a bottle of beer for the 63 members present- passed unanimously.”

“Any work that a man has been doing that a woman in so doing would get the same rate of pay as the man.”   82 members present at Richmond Export Contract Demand Meeting and several new classifications are requested such as shipping, receiving clerks, and lift truck operators.

Tank Trucks and Truck Service Men pay rate: $2 per hour, valley miles 6.25¢ per mile, mountain rate 7.25¢ per mile, and spreaders $2.50 per hour. $8.65 per month for health and welfare plan.

-1953-

Motion passes that “we elect all our officers for a period of five years to comply with a request of the International [Brotherhood of Teamsters].”

First Retirement check presented to new retiree member Contra Costa Labor News, July 1964

-1954-

A quiet year as it is a year of recession.

Executive Board faithful to memory of Franklin D. Roosevelt donates $10 to the Infantile Paralysis Foundation, a cause founded by Roosevelt to combat polio, and is now renamed to March of Dimes and works to improve health of babies and mothers.

Boycott Kohler Plumbing products!  Workers strike in Wisconsin. This is the longest strike in U.S. history, lasting over 15 years.

-1955-

Pension plan kicks off for the Western Conference of Teamsters, stating it would take two years to get the plan going.

“The intent of this resolution is to prohibit making a frog pond out of Pinole Valley, what we want is 10,000 new homes.”  Motion carries to endorse bills AB 2248 and AB 2249. 31 years later Pinole Valley approaches this figure.

Membership declines and small gains in wages.

-1956-

$6,000 sent to victims of the Marysville flood by Bay Area Teamsters.

Safeway Warehouse is under construction, and will be opening many new jobs to Richmond community.

Ice drivers and laundry drivers becomes a job of the past.t

-1957-

“Brother Carter explained that we have been giving ducks to employers, congressman, judges and others for public relations. Brother Carter believes this is a good public relations job.”  Secretary-Treasurer Carter enjoyed duck-hunting in the Delta with other labor officials or alone. He would then have the ducks plucked and send a Business Agent, usually Ben Sharpsteen, with paper bags full of plucked ducks to officials of Joint Council 7, Western Conference of Teamster Officials, various law firms who represented Teamsters and to politicians.

Secretary-Treasurer Carter writes to Senators, Congressmen, and members of the Veterans Affairs Committee voicing favorable opinion to locate a veterans hospital in Martinez. This hospital would be build a few years later.

“He is a very capable fellow but at present he has all the heat in the world on him.” Secretary-Treasurer Carter speaks about Hoffa at the International Convention in Miami.  “[Carter] was not in Miami Beach more than a few hours until he saw the picture painted everywhere (Hoffa) was going to be elected and he had backers who just wouldn’t take no for an answer. ”

-1958-

Mutual Grocery Warehouse opens and International Longshoremen tell Teamsters to allow them to organize the workers. Union leader Harry Bridges offers free dues, free initiation, and $200 cash to workers if they affiliate with Longshoremen. Teamsters win election to represent Mutual employees.

Harry Bridges. Source: University of Washington

Did you know…?
Harry Bridges was an Australian-born American union leader for the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).  His greatest success as an influential labor leader the Great Maritime Strike of 1934. This strike shut down west coast ports, leading to a violent 3-day strike in San Francisco at the docks.

First contract negotiation for Safeway Warehouse workers.

First mention of Business Agents being voted in. Typically, Business Agents were appointed by the Secretary-Treasurer.

-1959-

2,670 members in union.

UPS driver members request that new contracts include: start time 8 AM to 9 AM, overtime pay before 8 AM and after 5PM, five-day work week- Monday through Friday, $23.60 per day, and routers receive 10% more.  Complaints were made about working conditions/standards, and receiving industry light weight uniforms for summer.

Mention of the Landrum Griffin Bill, making it illegal for a union member to refuse to load or carry goods of a struck employer.  Bill also included limiting terms of office to five years for International officers, four years for intermediate bodies (conferences and councils) and three years for local unions.

Spend $1,500 on Western Conference of Teamsters to organize Montgomery Ward in Richmond, CA.

1960s

-1960-

Laundry drivers vote on raise from $92.50 to $115.50 per week.

Beverage drivers requested for raise from $120 per week to $125 per week.

Sanitary drivers requested $2 pay raise and routes cut to two loads per day maximum.

-1961-

Eye care and dental become a part of Health and Welfare.

Donations:
$10 to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
$10 to the Salvation Army
$10 to Tuberculosis and Health Association
$10 to Father Flanagan Boys Town, an organization for at-risk children.
$10 to Richmond Boy’s Club (now Boys & Girls Club)
$10 to American Foundation for the Blind
1 Case of coffee to Chauffer’s Local 265

-1962-

Shifts in membership as 1,000 warehousemen, drivers, and loaders join from Safeway Grocers and Mutual Grocers, superseding or at least equalizing the ready-mix, construction, and freight.

-1963-

“We don’t want those suede shoe operators in our Local. They will have all our positions in a few years.”  315 waives jurisdiction on all automobile salesman as Joint Council 7 wants all salesman in Bay Area under San Francisco Local.

-1964-

Members told to watch their language as “we had sister members and are taking in 70 office workers which are girls.”

The newly built Teamsters Local 315 office at 2727 Alhambra Ave. in Martinez

-1966-

Donates $150 t0 Pinole Hercules Little League Baseball Team.

March 9th, the largest number ever to attend a regular meeting with over 800 members in attendance.

October 24th- Grand opening of Union hall at 2727 Alhambra Ave.

Members will be given withdrawal cards if they cross the picket line of the Union Oil Workers Strike.

1970s

Teamster Victory reported in Contra Costa Labor News, June 1967

-1970-

Brother Dean Hall calls out tanker companies for alarming safety hazards and demands corrective action, which was later made, or else their businesses would have to close.

-1971-

Union purchases new Ford LTD’s for officers and Business Agents instead of leasing as in the past. The cost was $3,800 each.

Motion successfully made by Business Agent Joe Treas for voting procedures be written in Spanish.

Building purchase by 315 at 1421 Wright Ave. in Richmond, CA at $60,000.

-1972-

Executive Board votes to discontinue purchasing or leasing automobiles for full time officers and Business Agents and instead are paid $225 per month for their own purchase and upkeep of car.  Union autos sold for a total of $6,900.

Help striking beverage workers pay their hospital medical premiums!

-1973-

Members and your families, boycott Coors Beer!

Country wide, speed limits reduce to 55 miles per hour to conserve fuel.

-1974-

Membership drops by 800 members in the past two and a half years due to firms under contract leaving the area, and at the same time gains more than 800 through more organizing.

-1977-

315 contributes $500 to the California Public Affairs Council to defeat deregulation of the trucking industry in California. President Vince Aloise reports “the predominantly Democratic Congress in Washington which bills itself as ‘Labor’s Friend’ is out to crush unions, and they are starting by putting pressure on the Teamsters Union.”

Telfer Tank Lines strike and settles in less than one day.

Mission Foods Clerical Strike, May 1985

-1978-

Boycott The California Truckers Associations’ truck rodeo this year for allowing non-union drivers in the event!

Strikers of Cadillac Ambulance Company are given $5,000 to start an ambulance company of their own after being on strike for 8 months.

Safeway and Lucky’s on Strike! Ends after 4 months of offers and rejections and key issues are settled.

-1979-

$100 donation to Pressmen Local 301 of New York to fund investigation into the murder of one of their officers.

Teamster drivers at Crown Zellerbach Paper Company get paid $20 for honoring paper and pulp workers picket line and therefore no income.

Purchase of 6 tickets and donation of $500 to the United Farm Workers fundraising event.

Member “discharged for eating two plums at the Safeway produce dock”.  Arbitrator rules the discharge is justified.

1980s and Beyond

-1981-

Local authorizes $500 a month to Fred Mah for expenses of the Teamsters Alcohol Drug Program (TARP).

Discontinuing the picketing program voting results: Yes 405 No 170,  as mandatory picketing is an unpopular program.

Local 315 members voting in 1983

-1982-

Labor Parade a success! October 24th in San Francisco Local 315 had one of the largest contingents in a parade of well over 70,000 people.

-1983-

$50 donation to Coalition of Conscience to sponsor San Francisco rally on 20th Anniversary of Martin Luther’s King Jr.’s death.

1 year of striking at Sealy Mattress!

Motion made and carries to approve Local 315’s first female organizer, Stephanie Allen.

315 accepts offer on Richmond property of $270,100.

Boycott Sebastini Wine!

“Reganomics has been a disaster for union people, bringing us record unemployment.  The first President to make official government policy union busting. Regan is no friend of working people. Under his administration the NLRB has become an enemy of unions and he has virtually destroyed The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and what few protections we have there.”

Donation of $1,000 to Richmond Childrens’ Council and $20 food gift certificates to strikers at Oscar Erickson from Toys and Turkeys fund.

-1984-

Office Manager and Dispatcher Carolyn Robinson presents a computer and new phone systems to the Local.

$100 donation made to Los Medanos for a labor study program.

Motion carries to pay members on strike at Richmond Export $45 a week until strike benefits are forth coming from the International Strike Fund.

$225 donation to Labor Radio News Project on KPFA-FM 94.1 for informational labor programs.

 

Steward’s Council Meeting- Straw Poll for Secretary-Treasurer, May 5th, 1984

-1985-

Larry Anderson asks on behalf of United Mine Workers, who’s been on strike for nine months, at membership meeting for financial aid. The “hat” was passed and $136 is collected.

Motion carries to send resolution to Congress, expressing Local 315’s objection to U.S. Government’s oppression of South Africa towards Black people and Labor Unions.

Walnut Creek Honda finally organizes after 9 months.

$1,000 and food donations sent to Teamsters Local 912 for support during their “long and bitter” strike in Watsonville.

Motion carries to cover costs ($400 a month) of organizing effort through Teamsters Local 490.

Office votes $400 for under-privileged children from the Toy and Turkey Drive.

-1986-

Local 315 celebrates 50th Anniversary

-1988-

Safeway Warehouse Fire in Richmond, CA, displacing 1,1000 members.  Following the tragic news, all Safeway workers, 315 staff, and the press flood our Martinez union hall for guidance and next steps.

-1997-

185,000 UPSers shut down business in the largest U.S. strike, and UPS takes a hit of $600 million in losses.

Sources: Teamsters Local 315 History Archives