OAKLAND, Calif. - Employees at Golden State Lumber in Newark, Calif., designated Teamsters Local 853 as their bargaining representative by a 3-1 margin.

The 26-person unit which includes all drivers, load builders, yard men, saw operators, forklift operators, lumber handlers, lumber shippers and receivers chose Local 853 despite the meetings held by management in attempts to convince them otherwise.

"The employees at Golden State Lumber recognized that our great organization represents the needs of working people and that Local 853 has a history of aggressive representation," said Rodney Smith, organizer with Local 853.

Smith said Golden State Lumber operates organized, as well as unrepresented facilities in Northern California.

"The company did not charge any less for their products in an unrepresented yard, but put the additional profits in its pocket, rather than compensating those doing the work. The employees in Newark have been doing the same work as those in the unionized yards. They deserve the same compensation," Smith said.

"What sealed the deal for our guys was when customers came in to pick up lumber and said joining the union was the best choice for their future. I'm glad we voted for Local 853 and look forward to a better future as Teamsters," said Nick Guinea, a driver at Golden State Lumber.

"Local 853 has made organizing in construction and related industries a priority since the merger of the two small construction locals into Local 853 in the late 1990's. That merger has given us much more strength when it comes to organizing in that field," said Rome Aloise, International Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer of Local 853.

Negotiations are expected to begin in early September.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

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