Graniterock strike ends

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HOLLISTER
– Granite-rock employees who had been striking for more than two
weeks are back at work after agreeing over the weekend on a new
contract.
HOLLISTER – Granite-rock employees who had been striking for more than two weeks are back at work after agreeing over the weekend on a new contract.

The local cement mix truck drivers had most vehemently disputed Granite-rock’s intentions to hire temporary employees to fill in when full-time workers took vacation time. The striking employees had expressed concern that the hirings could signal an attempt by the company to weaken the unions.

The deal – which was ratified by a 2-1 margin – included provisions that will allow the company to hire the temporary workers. Graniterock will pay the temporary employees full benefits while they are employed, company President Bruce Woolpert said.

“I think both sides (the company and unions) put a lot of their emotions aside and finally started talking about what it is we really wanted to do,” Woolpert said.

Despite prevalence of the policy opposed by Teamsters, the union members were satisfied with the compromise, according to Teamsters Local 912 President Frank Gallegos.

He called the initial decision to strike “reluctant” on the part of the employees, who had expressed concern about future job security.

“Is it a win for Graniterock? I don’t think so,” Woolpert said. “We weren’t trying to destroy anybody on the other side. I’m glad it’s over, and I’m particularly struck by the fact that this strike didn’t need to happen.”

Local 912 is based in Salinas and was joined by Local 890 – based in Watsonville. Several branches of Graniterock were striking by Friday- including those in Aromas, Salinas, Watsonville, Santa Cruz, Seaside and San Jose. Fifteen employees from the Gilroy Teamsters local 287 stopped work July 15.

Local 912 and Local 890 dealt together in negotiations with Graniterock and the two unions agreed to essentially the same deal, Gallegos said.

Local 287, which is based in San Jose, agreed to a three-year deal. The cement mix drivers’ previous contract, which expired May 31, was for five years.

“All three (unions) in the local area got basically the same deal,” Gallegos said.

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