Members at the Peninsula Humane Society have been fighting for a fair contract for more than a year. The contract fight came to a head in March when Animal Control Officers went on a one-day strike in response to unfair labor practices by their employer: PHS President Ken White.
“Our members are doing their job,” said Teamsters 856 Secretary-Treasurer Peter Finn. “It’s time for Ken White and the rest of the PHS Board of Directors to do theirs. We’re holding them accountable for denying their employees fair compensation, and the deplorable and unsafe conditions of the facility.”
In addition to the Animal Control Officers who participated in the strike, Teamsters 856 represents Animal Care Technicians and Adoption Counselors at Peninsula Humane Society. All of these workers are committed to the safety and well-being of animals.
Members at PHS do a tough job. A day for them, according to PHS’s own website, can include dealing with unruly or vicious animals, an angry public, exposure to parasites and infectious diseases, and a lot more. Bottom line: the job is stressful and dangerous.
Despite the obvious necessity of their work, White has refused to agree to a fair 3% cost of living increase. White himself, however, made $476,827 in 2015 – a 136% increase of his salary in 2002.
In fact, rather than accepting the 3% increase the Local 856 bargaining team proposed, White stooped to threatening workers with the loss of their health insurance or their job if they went on strike.
Teamsters 856 members refused to back down. When faced with the use of blatant unfair labor practices to intimidate and coerce workers, they took action. On March 17th, the ACOs went on a one-day strike.
“We’re not going to allow Ken White and the PHS Board of Directors to get away with unfair labor practices or unsafe conditions for the animals,” said Animal Control Officer Dylan Skiles on the need for a strike. “If Ken White deserves to pad his pockets every year, then we more than deserve a fair wage, so we can provide for our families.
Throughout the day of the strike, Local 856 members were joined by allies from the community including San Mateo County District 5 Supervisor David J. Canepa, San Mateo Deputy Mayor Rick Bonilla, Milbrae City Council Member Ann Schneider, and San Mateo County Central Labor Council Executive Secretary Treasurer Julie Lind Rupp.
“The strike was a show of solidarity that made the bargaining unit stronger,” said Teamsters 856 Representative Tim Jenkins. “Soon after, members voted down another subpar offer by PHS, and countered with one demanding their 3% increase.”
The fight continues!
Read more about Ken White and the conditions at the Peninsula Humane Society, including a crumbling roof in one of the shelter’s facilities and dangerous temperatures in animal transport vehicles at: www.phswhistleblower.com.