Supporting Teamsters Local 812

SWRTA members came out today to lend support to the striking truck drivers and warehouse workers of Teamsters Local 812.  As Clare Rose looks to cut salaries, eliminate pensions, and break their union, we stood up to say that we will not sit on the sidelines when hardworking men and women are having their futures and livelihoods threatened for no other reason than to add to a corporation’s bottom line.

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Clare Rose Picketing

Reminder – we’re asking everyone to wear red tomorrow, (preferably your SWRTA shirt) even if you’re not joining us on the picket line. NYSUT has declared May 1st a National Day of Action. It is also International Workers Day, as well as Loyalty Day in the United States. And of course, it’s ALWAYS a good day to show support for public education.

More Information About Picketing
SWRTA will be supporting Clare Rose workers between 2:30 and 5:30 tomorrow (May 1st). Erin Schmalzle, SWRTA Grievance VP, will be the point person until around 4:30. I hope to be there from around 3:30 to to the end.

We currently have just shy of 20 people who’ve responded positively. Since a good number of them are only able to stay for a short while, we’d love to get at least another 5-10 folks to make sure we have a continuous, solid presence.  If you haven’t already done so, please reply to say you’ll join us (or just show up).

Picketing is on the West side of William Floyd Parkway, immediately South of the Expressway. Turn right onto Rose Executive Blvd. You can park along that road or in the Police Station lot (that link was incorrect in yesterday’s email. It’s now fixed.)

BRING THE KIDS!
A few people asked if it’s okay to bring kids. Not only is it okay, it’s very much encouraged. It’s good bonding time, it’s a great learning opportunity, and having kids there is a reminder that, ultimately, all of our union work has a tremendous impact on the next generation.

SIGNS
A lot of people also asked about making signs. You definitely don’t need to, but it’s a good idea. Here are some ideas:

  • Union Busting Is Disgusting
  • SWRTA Supports Teamsters Local 812
  • Clare Rose Hurts Working Families
  • Tell Clare Rose To Not Cut Workers Pay and Benefits
  • Teachers Standing With Teamsters
  • SWRTA Stands with Teamsters Local 812
  • End the War on Workers

BOYCOTT
Again, for the duration of the strike, please don’t purchase any beer distributed by Clare Rose.

LATEST STRIKE NEWS

Supporting Teamsters Local 812

Thank you to everyone who has responded so far about joining us on Monday to picket Clare Rose in support of Teamsters Local 812.

Why is it so important that we do this? There is one main reason, along with a number of additional benefits.

First and foremost, this is what unions are all about. Union members look out for one another, and when one is being mistreated, we stand together and say “this is not acceptable.” There is safety in numbers – and there is strength and power. Think of it as the grown-up version of the anti-bullying messages we give our students: be an up-stander, not a bystander.

Last year, when Verizon was threatening to freeze pensions, gut job protections, and force some workers to work away from home for up to two months at a time., many other unions – including ours – stood with them. (click the image below for more pictures).

The result was that wages were increased, pensions and protections were maintained, and previous work rules were upheld. There’s never one single factor that causes an employer to reach a fair agreement, but pressure from the outside (including other unions and the general public) can be a valuable asset for striking workers.

Exactly a year later, we have the chance to help again. What Clare Rose is trying to do is completely abhorrent and we need to support our brothers and sisters.

In addition to the above, there are some additional reasons why we really want to have a good presence on Monday.

It builds support with other unions – Let’s face it, teachers unions have a big target on us these days. When we’re out there supporting other unions, we’re generating positive feelings among other unionists that will come back to us in the future (we heard this A LOT from CWA workers last year)

It’s in our own interest – Every union fight affects us all. If Clare Rose succeeds in breaking this union, it is one step closer to an overall reduction in union strength in this state and this country. This will have very dire consequences for us in the not-too-distant future.

It just feels good – When you’re walking on another unions’ picket line, the one thing that you’ll hear over and over is how much your presence is appreciated. These folks are in a rough place right now, not getting an income and being very unsure what the future holds. If our presence gives them a little mental boost and helps them feel they have support, then that alone should be worth the half hour or so of your time.

So please, join us on Monday, any time between 2:30 and 5:30. Stay for as little as 10 minutes or for as long as you like. The picketing is on William Floyd Parkway, JUST south of the L.I.E.

You don’t have to RSVP, but it would help to get a sense of how many folks are coming if you can reply to this email.

Tomorrow I’ll be sending out details about where to park, what to write on signs if you decide you’d like to make one, and updates about the strike.

Finally, if you’re a beer drinker, please boycott products distributed by Clare Rose until the strike is settled.

Strike Alert

As you may have heard, drivers and warehouse workers at Clare Rose (distributor of Budweiser and quite a few other beer brands) launched a strike on Sunday. This is in response to a contract proposal that would slash wages by 30% and eliminate pensions for some workers.

As with last year’s Verizon strike, there’s a lot a stake here. The company is threatening to “permanently replace” the workers, a move that would have serious repercussions, and further weaken the position of all unions – including ours.

Also as with last year’s Verizon strike, it is critical that other unions (including ours) come out and show support for the striking workers. NYSUT has already begun to have a presence, and they are asking locals to take part.

We’ll be reaching out soon with information on how you can help. Please stay tuned.

Don’t Sit This One Out

This election season is certainly generating some strong feelings – including a feeling expressed by many that they’re so fed up, they’re not even going to vote this year. But if you’re one of those people who is thinking about sitting this election out, we have two words for you:

PLEASE DON’T!

We’ve pointed this out before, but it bears repeating: one of the biggest reasons we’re in this mess (APPR, Tax Cap, Common Core, etc.etc.) is that our elected officials do not take us seriously. And one reason for that is that we don’t fully flex our strength at the ballot box. Not enough of us vote.

Journalists always make reference to the “powerful” teachers union, with the implication that this supposed power comes from huge piles of cash we throw at politicians. But that’s just wrong. Whatever power we have comes not from money (we are far outspent by charter schools and other special interests), but from our numbers. Teachers make up a sizable chunk of the population and our voices deserve to be heard – that is the very definition of democracy. But if we don’t ALL vote then we are not only losing power, we are shirking our responsibility to ourselves, our students, and to public education as an institution.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th. Please make sure you vote. And to truly make the most of this election, here are some things you can do:

PLEDGE TO VOTE
NYSUT is asking all members to take a pledge to vote. If you know your NYSUT Member number or have a NYSUT login, please use this link to take the pledge. If you don’t have a NYSUT login or don’t know your member number, you can take the pledge by using this link.

MAKE SURE EVERYONE IN YOUR FAMILY IS REGISTERED
If anyone in your family is over 18 but is not yet registered to vote, it’s not too late; the deadline is October 14th. Registration can be done online by clicking here.

MAKE SOME PHONE CALLS
Phone banks are being set up to help get out the vote, and we very much need volunteers. Calls will be made from the Riverhead Teachers Association office on Monday 10/17 and Thursday 10/27. If you can spare even a few minutes on either of those days, please reply to let us know. If you’d like to make calls but neither of those dates work, please let me know that also, as there may be other opportunities.

Rob Verbeck
SWRTA Corresponding Secretary