Jeff Archuleta has worked for the City of Concord for 14 years. He works alongside his fellow Teamsters 856 members in the City’s Public Works Department as part of the Field and Operations Unit. Jeff and his colleagues help keep the City’s parks and fields beautiful and usable for the community.
According to Jeff, it’s a job he truly enjoys. “I like it because of the work and the people,” he said. “I like to work outside. When it’s 110 degrees maybe not so much, but overall I really enjoy what I do.”
This year, Jeff and his fellow General Laborers were promoted to the Maintenance Worker 1 classification to give them an opportunity for a career, not just a job.
According to Teamsters 856 Vice President Rudy Gonzalez who represented the members and helped negotiate the side letter agreement, this was an important move that will impact members’ livelihoods. He said in the past General Laborers like Jeff would be hired at a lower rate than people they worked with directly, become well trained, but were often worked out of their job classification without proper compensation, and stuck for years and years in the same position without opportunity for advancement.
Now, because of the agreement between the City and Teamsters 856, General Laborers who successfully complete their six-month probation period will advance to the Maintenance Worker 1 position. That meant a promotion and raise for Jeff and three of his colleagues, but it also means that from now on, any new hires will come in knowing they can make a career out of their work.
“There’s an impact to their lives,” said Rudy. “They’re getting this pay raise, and it’s recognizing that they deserve more and they deserve better. They now have a career path ahead of them with room to grow in their jobs.”
Rudy said it wasn’t an easy road, but the Union stuck with it, because members don’t deserve to be stuck in dead-end jobs. He credits the members’ tenacity as the reason for the victory.
“After protracted, difficult contract negotiations that included a strike; after the dust settled the union didn’t pack up its tent and go away,” he said. “Members were persistent about issues that were important to them and got the City to agree.
For Jeff, a veteran in the department, this win is a big deal for himself and his family.
“It’s more money and more responsibility,” he said. “My family is everything to me. Now we can do more. I also noticed that we will get a raise per our contract on July 1, so I got the promotion, and we get our raise.”
Jeff and his wife are saving up for an Alaskan cruise. Something he says has become more attainable because of his promotion. But according to Jeff, this move from General Laborer to Maintenance Worker 1 has also impacted his family’s future. “It’s allowed me to put more into my deferred compensation, which will help us when I retire,” he said. “It’s never too early to plan for retirement.”
All in all, Jeff is happy that this long fight ended in a win for himself and his current and future colleagues. “I feel very proud to be a Teamster, and to work for the City of Concord,” he concluded.