More than 125 distribution drivers represented by Teamsters Local 710 overwhelmingly ratified a new four-year contract this morning with Southern Wine and Spirits.
Members approved the agreement — in effect until April 1, 2014 — by nearly a 5-to-1 margin. All Teamsters will receive hourly wage increases of 50 cents for each year of the four-year contract, and drivers working in downstate Illinois will earn an additional 25 cents per hour in the agreement’s final three years.
New language also makes clear that temporary helpers will be held to the same standard as Teamster drivers at Southern Wine — a provision Local 710 successfully negotiated to resolve various member issues with temporary help.
Furthermore, the contract provides drivers who are unable to obtain DOT medical cards with a new window of 90 days to work as a helper while they take the time to improve their health.
Additional provisions important to the membership were also included in the new agreement. With its ratification and the unity of the membership’s bargaining committee, Local 710 has begun a new chapter at Southern Wine.
“This overwhelming contract vote really sets the tone moving forward,” said John T. Coli, Trustee of Local 710. “The bargaining committee did an outstanding job negotiating on behalf of the membership, which is clear based on the ratification vote. The members stood up with a real voice for this contract, and the culture at Southern Wine and Spirits will only continue to improve in the years ahead.”
Throughout recent negotiations, the Local 710 bargaining committee was entirely transparent with the overall membership to ensure everyone stayed informed as talks progressed.
“Things are looking so much better,” said Local 710 driver Rob Wiseman. “Previous negotiations had been disastrous, but the way things were done this time around was really positive for the membership to get a strong contract.”
Local 710’s renewed commitment to transparency and member communication will remain a constant for Southern Wine and all other bargaining units during regular meetings with labor management committees.
Teamsters Local 710 is an affiliate of Teamsters Joint Council 25, America’s premier labor union for Chicago, Illinois and northwest Indiana.