The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 74/No. 11      March 22, 2010

Teamsters go on strike
at Philadelphia market
PHILADELPHIA—Members of Teamsters Local 929 struck the Philadelphia Regional Produce Market March 1. According to the union, the company is demanding a new contract with the introduction of health-care contributions, three-tier pay, and eliminating double-time pay on Sunday. The workforce of 250 includes dock workers, forklift drivers, porters, and produce checkers.

Phil Baldwin, a young dockworker, told the Militant that the three-tier contract would make it virtually impossible for new workers to make it to the higher pay levels.

The company immediately secured a court injunction limiting the number of pickets to two, amid media claims the strikers were instigating confrontations with trucks crossing the picket line. But striker Henry Herz told the Militant that an incoming car had sideswiped a union member.

“It used to be the norm in this country that you didn’t work Sunday. Now when I go to watch my kids at the ball game I’m half asleep,” said striker John Friesema.

“The average workday is 10 hours but I have worked as much as 18 on Sunday and they want to eliminate the double-time pay,” said Rodney Davies. The new contract will be cutting the regular pay rate, he said, because 30 cents an hour will be taken out for health care the first year of the contract and 60 cents an hour in the last two years.

Danielle, a single mother and one of the few women workers on the docks, said, “Most of the workers have children and are only able to see them on Saturday because of the economy and the hours they need to put in to make ends meet.”

Bernard Zantzler told the Militant, “The company is proposing with the new contract that we come in to work Friday morning and once we get here they will decide if they need us. If not, on Fridays, we go home.”  
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