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Teamsters Enter 3rd Week of CalMat Strike

Members of the local Teamsters Union entered their third week of a strike against CalMat Co. plants in Oxnard and Moorpark, and a settlement in the salary dispute is nowhere in sight, officials said.

Both CalMat officials and Teamsters Union members said Monday that they have no intention of changing their positions: CalMat wants the Teamsters to take a $2.20-per-hour pay cut because of the sluggish economy, but the Teamsters have refused.

More than 50 drivers have been picketing at the two local plants and at sites where CalMat products are delivered throughout the county.

“I don’t understand how CalMat expects us to take a pay cut of more than $8,000, a year,” said 11-year CalMat employee Ruben Villa. “I support a family of six. If I take that sort of pay cut, I wouldn’t be able to make it.”

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Like other members of the union, Villa makes about $32,000 a year.

CalMat, which specializes in rock and concrete building materials, employs 80 drivers, 50 of whom are union members, said Dennis Shaw, secretary treasurer and chief executive for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 186.

CalMat and the union had been negotiating since April, and talks ceased July 22, after the Teamsters refused to take a pay cut.

In recent contracts with other companies in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, unions members have agreed to cuts of 95 cents per hour, but CalMat insisted on cuts more than twice as much, Shaw said.

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“If we settle with a substandard agreement with CalMat,” then other companies may attempt to renegotiate their union contracts to lower the salaries of hundreds of workers, Shaw said. Meanwhile, more than 50 Teamsters who work for other Ventura County firms have set up the El Rio Drivers’ Strike Fund to support fellow union members.


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