The Teamsters Local 710 cartage contract is a comprehensive agreement covering the wages and work rules for approximately 15 cartage companies in the Chicagoland area. At Great Lakes Plumbing in Chicago, Local 710 member Robert Williams is already seeing the benefits of such a strong contract.
Under its latest ratification, Williams has received an increase to his wages and significant improvements to his 401(k). His employer currently makes weekly contributions to Williams’ 401(k) and will deposit backpay contributions from the last five years totaling around $36,000.
Williams has been a Local 710 member for the past 11 years working as a Great Lakes Plumbing delivery driver. He delivers plumbing supplies to sites all across the Chicagoland area.
Not only has he been a Chicagoan all his life, Williams actually grew up right in the neighborhood where he works now. He is always ready and willing to lend a helping hand, to jump in if he finds out an extra delivery needs to be made in the morning or help around the warehouse wherever he’s needed.
What compelled you to join the Teamsters?
I was a driver for a non-union company and ended up talking with some union workers. I heard the difference in the support you get from the Teamsters versus being non-union. I had some options with other jobs, but after hearing the benefits of being represented in the workplace, I took the union job and joined the Teamsters.
Why do you think it’s important to be a Teamster?
I like how the Teamsters keep the market fair for truck drivers. I also like that they work with all trades, not just truck drivers. I can see the fairness across all trades.
What do you like about working for Great Lakes Plumbing?
It’s really a family-type thing here. Everyone works together and pitches in to keep this house running. Sometimes you have to go above and beyond and do whatever it takes. I’ve stepped in to help out with things that aren’t necessarily a part of my everyday job when they need me, and people really appreciate things like that around here. I like to have fun and make the most of my job, and above all, make things safe.
Have the Teamsters gone to bat for you?
My Business Agent and other Teamster representatives have really gotten things done for me. They sit down with the owners to get things taken care of. Local 710 has helped me negotiate my wages, gotten my backpay, and worked out my 401(K).
Do you think it’s important for others to join the Teamsters?
I’d recommend anyone to go the union route. It’s important to have someone to represent and protect you. Even in the rare event of an accident, the Teamsters are in your corner.
Important final question: Sox or Cubs?
I’m a Sox fan. I remember watching all the games with my grandfather when I was growing up; it was a lot of fun. I’m also a big Bulls fan. I’ve been catching as many of the playoff games as possible. They’re great!