The Best Contract in the Nation?

by

Hey Baseball Fans, a big win was pulled out recently by the home team at beautiful San Francisco Giants stadium. The Giants are one of the oldest and most successful sports franchises in the country with more Hall of Fame enrollees and more total games won than any other club.

In fact, they have more W’s than any other professional sports team in the entire nation.

But this latest come from behind victory didn’t happen on the field where the Giants are (temporarily) experiencing a steep slump of sorts.

Instead, it took place in the stands where 800 seasonal concession workers organized by UNITE HERE Local 2 just ratified by 98% a contract with Centerplate, the subcontracted concessionaire at Giants Park and one of the largest hospitality companies in North America.

The agreement provides the best wages and benefits in the country for their type of work.

The terms included an immediate raise of $1.40 an hour with some back pay, strong job security protections, dental insurance and fully paid family medical coverage without co-pays through the contract’s 2019 expiration date.

The agreement will also fund a big improvement in pension benefits and will tie future health care and wage increases to San Francisco’s big hotels – so when Local 2 hotel workers get wage and benefit increases, Centerplate will match them at Giants stadium.

This convergence of interests is not accidental.

Local 2 members regularly discuss the importance of solidarity. Membership unity across job classifications and work sites strengthens the union and, as results indicate, increases its bargaining leverage considerably.

How was this victory pulled out?

Sf Giants Park picketing

Just Do It!

Local 2 is the largest private sector union in the city and among its most vibrant and active. It’s probably best known for mobilizing both members and community allies as part of a strategy that also, of course, includes the traditional bargaining format of advancing convincing arguments and solid research during talks with management.

But, absent membership action enhanced by community support, we have seen most other unions struggle against the overwhelming material resources of employers.

Local 2 Field Representative Alphonso Pines explained Local 2’s game plan.

“Negotiations were going nowhere in 2012 so “we started making house visits in early 2013, even before the season began, to speak personally with our members about the issues, about our goals and about our strategy,” he said.

After general agreement on the plan, the union recruited an organizing committee of concession workers which got stronger and stronger, eventually growing to between 40-50 workers. “Leadership and activism among the workforce was an essential part of our success,” the union Field Rep emphasized.

For example, on May 25, 2013, workers conducted a one-day strike. The response was overwhelming with 97% participation as 545 workers walked the picket line all day long. Of course, this builds confidence.

“It was an amazing sight to see,” Pines told me with lots of pride in his voice. “The workers never wavered in their resolve to get a fair contract, never stopped believing in themselves and never stopped believing in the Union. The strike only further solidified their bond with each other.”

This enthusiasm derives from a common appreciation of the stakes involved and the belief that victory is possible. Thus, Local 2’s extensive community and labor outreach paid off by boosting morale as more and more showed up for protests at Giants Park.

“We want to thank the community and labor groups who helped us and to the many regular ticket holders and fans who also gave us great support,” Pines said.

Carl Finamore is Machinist Lodge 1781 delegate to the San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO. He couldn’t hit a baseball if his life depended on it because he grew up in Chicago swinging at 16-inch slow-pitch softballs. He’s accepted this and is OK now. He can be reached at local1781@yahoo.com

 

Carl Finamore is Machinist Lodge 1781 delegate, San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO. He can be reached at local1781@yahoo.com

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 27, 2015
Sam Husseini
Foreign Policy, Sanders-Style: Backing Saudi Intervention
Brad Evans – Henry A. Giroux
Self-Plagiarism and the Politics of Character Assassination: the Case of Zygmunt Bauman
Peter Lee
Making Sense of China’s Stock Market Meltdown
Paul Craig Roberts
Wall Street and the Matrix: Where is Neo When We Need Him?
Kerry Emanuel
The Real Lesson of Katrina: the Worst is Yet to Come
Dave Lindorff
Why Wall Street Reporting is a Joke
Pepe Escobar
Brave (Miserable) New Normal World
Ramzy Baroud
‘Islamic State’ Pretence and the Upcoming Wars in Libya
Paul Edwards
Capitalism Delenda Est
Norman Pollack
The Political Culture of Rape in America: Further Thoughts on the St. Paul’s School Case
Stephen Lendman
The Monied Interests That Run America
Pedro Aibéo
Democratizing Finance (With Bitcoin?)
Alfredo Acedo
Climate Change and Capitalism: Challenges of the COP21 Paris and Climate Movements
August 26, 2015
Paul Street
Overworked and Out of Time: a Democracy Issue
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Behind the Market Crash: the Smoke and Mirrors of Corporate Buybacks
David Mihalyfy
Reform Higher Ed? Treat Badmin Like Bankers
Ruth Hopkins
Police Shootings in Indian Country: Justice or Else!
Gary Leupp
ISIL Advances While Its Foes Cannot Unite
Fred Gardner
The Psychiatrist’s Bible: Defining ‘Marijuana Use Disorder’
Yorgos Mitralias
The Catastrophic International Consequences of the Capitulation of Syriza and the Criminal Responsibility of Mr. Tsipras
Walter Brasch
Katrina: a 10-Year Review
Jim Connolly
Seven Questions and Seven Answers: a Sandernista Makes Reasonable Predictions About the 2016 Contest for the Democratic Presidential Nomination
Pedro Aibéo
Selling Austerity to Finland
Franklin Lamb
Heritage Destruction in Syria is a War Crime
Binoy Kampmark
Tourism’s Disaster Temptation: the Case of Nepal
Jeffrey D. Pugh
Trial by Fire for Ecuador’s President Correa
Vacy Vlanza
A Palestinian Novel Par Excellence
Alvaro Huerta
Confessions of an ‘Anchor Baby’: Open Letter to President Donald Trump
August 25, 2015
Gary Leupp
Why Donald Trump is So Scary
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Thug at the UN
Steve Early
How “Brother” Bernie is Making Labor’s Day
Carl Finamore
An Affordable Housing Victory: High-End San Francisco Development Implodes
Henry Giroux – Chuck Mertz
The Spectacle of American Violence and the Cure for Donald Trump
Robert Eisinger
Trivializing Anti-Semitism
Brian Platt
It is Time We Discussed Abolishing the Police
Alexander Reid Ross
Trump the Fascist
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Mohammed Allan at the Door of the Israeli Supreme Court
Ted Rall
The United States of Stupidity
Heather Gray
A Message to American Mothers About Sex in the Military
Jo Leinen – Andreas Bummel
How to Democratize the UN
Lawrence Davidson
The Iran Agreement and Israel’s Claim to Speak for the Jews
Mark Hand
A Well Pad Next to Every 3-Car Garage: Suburban Sprawl Collides with Texas Frack Jobs
John Laforge
U.S. Bows Out After Plowshares Conviction is Vacated: Appeals Court Ill-Informed on Nuclear Overkill
Norman Pollack
Gender Freedom and Sexual Liberation: The St. Paul’s School Case
Kathy Kelly
Let It Shine