Roofers, drivers support strike

by Jake Weyer

Henry Enstad and some of his fellow roofers took off their hard hats early Tuesday and left their job of re-roofing Moos Tower for another day.

Enstad and his colleagues are members of Roofers Local 96, a statewide union representing approximately 1,400 employees. The roofers working on Moos Tower left the job site Tuesday in sympathy of the strike by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3800, the union representing approximately 1,800 full-time University clerical workers.

Coca-Cola and UPS delivery drivers have also chosen to honor picket lines, causing a restructuring of the way goods and services are delivered and received at the University.

Harry Johnson, business representative for Roofers Local 96, said he went to the Moos Tower job site Tuesday to discuss the strike and the roofers’ possible actions. The workers decided to honor the strike for that day but returned to work the following days.

“When somebody’s putting up a picket line, we kind of shy away from working behind it,” Johnson said.

He said Roofers Local 96 went on strike about two years ago and AFSCME members crossed their picket line, but it did not affect the roofers’ decision.

“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” Johnson said.

The roofers will not receive pay for Tuesday, he said.

“It’s frequently the case that unions honor other unions’ picket lines,” said Carol Vendrillo, director of California Public Employee Relations.

Sue Mauren, president of Teamsters Local 320 and vice president of Teamsters Joint Council 32, which oversees all teamsters locals, said under private-sector law, state teamsters have the right to honor picket lines.

Teamsters members drive trucks for UPS, Coca-Cola, Cisco and Aramark – all companies that deliver food and goods daily to the University.

UPS delivers books, supplies, paper goods and office materials; the other three companies supply food and drinks to about 24 locations on campus.

Rommel Carlson, communications manager for UPS in Minnesota, said UPS does not ask its drivers to cross picket lines.

“If there is a formal line (the drivers) have the initial right to honor that,” Carlson said.

UPS has two delivery routes exclusively on campus, but Carlson said packages can still be delivered to the University if union members choose to honor picket lines.

On Wednesday, two managers worked on those routes. One of the regular drivers was switched to another route, and the other is on vacation, Carlson said.

On Thursday, one driver will make a single mass delivery to one location on campus, Carlson said.

Sometimes, however, drivers on routes not exclusive to the University make deliveries on campus.

UPS driver Rob Larson said approximately half his route is behind picket lines. He said he would not deliver to those locations.

“We don’t cross picket lines. It’s pretty cut and dried,” Larson said as he pushed a cart of packages up a ramp to Centennial Hall on Wednesday afternoon.

He said drivers still deliver to residence halls because they do not employ AFSCME Local 3800 workers.

Amy Phenix, University News Service director, said the University has received all its UPS deliveries.

Leslie Bowman, University Dining Services director, said Coca-Cola managers have filled vending machines and made deliveries in place of the usual drivers. The University has received all its regular food and drink deliveries during the strike, she said.

The U.S. Postal Service is delivering on campus as normal this week. Postal carrier Terry Hannum stopped Wednesday to chat with union picketers, many of whom he knows from his East Bank delivery route.

“I feel sorry for the workers,” Hannum said. “I realize they’re in a tough situation, but management told us to deliver, and the union didn’t tell us not to.”

AFSCME Local 3800 and the University have not set a date to reopen negotiations. University officials said 45 percent of the union went on strike on Wednesday.

-Patricia Drey and Dan Haugen contributed to this report.