Jul 27, 2022
Workers Joined Teamsters Local 322 in December of Last Year
(RICHMOND, Va.) – On Saturday, July 23 drivers at Epes Transport Systems in Chester, Va. came together to vote on their first contract. This came after less than seven months of negotiations following their vote to join Teamsters Local 322. The drivers made the decision to join the Teamsters after growing tired of the way that they were being treated on the job, with low wages and poor working conditions.
The drivers went to management with a grievance letter in September of last year outlining problems that they were experiencing, but management was not responsive to it. After not getting any response, a group of drivers contacted Local 322 Organizer Dwayne Johnson to seek help. The drivers were concerned that their low pay and lack of raises would not keep up with inflation. They were also not receiving shut down pay when the companies they serviced were closed.
All their hard work paid off this month, when they voted to ratify the contract that was negotiated between the bargaining committee and the company. It is a three-year agreement that includes higher wages at its start, annual raises each year and an increase in vacations and holiday pay. They also negotiated to receive paid sick leave, a personal holiday, shutdown pay and a weekend work incentive bonus.
“Local 322 is happy to welcome our new union brothers and sisters from Epes Transport Systems,” said Brian Peyton, Local 322 President. “We commend them for their courage and solidarity.”
Recording Secretary and Organizer Dwayne Johnson was the lead organizer on this campaign.
“I’m pleased to congratulate our newest members from Epes Transport,” said Johnson. “Our brothers and sisters fought a good fight and were determined to get the dignity and respect they deserve. Now they have higher wages with yearly increases, paid sick days, personal holidays, shut down pay and much more!”
One of the leading voices from the beginning of the campaign was Patrick Olivier, a member of the organizing committee and the negotiating committee. He is now a shop steward at Epes Transport Systems, representing approximately 60 drivers under the new contract.
“A huge thank you to Dwayne Johnson for helping me lead my fellow drivers through this process,” said Olivier. “Dwayne made himself available every minute and was masterful at the negotiation table.
“We have a great set of drivers at Epes who deserve to be valued, respected and compensated fairly. Thanks to Local 322, under the leadership of President Brian Peyton, we have made history in our company. Our voices are heard and our first contract has been achieved.”
Teamsters Local 322 represents over 1,600 members. Visit www.facebook.com/teamsters322 for more information.