Teamsters Picket Fremont Plant That Will Soon Print Chronicle; Union Drivers Refuse to Deliver Ink

Categories: Labor, Media
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It'll take more than waving a sign to keep ink out of the future Chronicle printing plant
Rome Aloise, the principal officer of the Teamsters Local 853 calls to inform SF Weekly that his union continues to picket outside the massive Fremont printing plant that will soon have copies of the San Francisco Chronicle rolling off its presses. Roughly 300 union drivers and mailers lost their jobs as a result of the Chron moving its printing facilities to the non-union plant, which is operated by Montreal-based Transcontinental, Inc. 

Aloise confirmed a rumor SF Weekly had heard -- out of sympathy for the union picketers, fellow union drivers had refused to deliver ink to the giant plant. When you're operating a printing plant large enough to serve as an airplane hangar, however, you tend to have a few extra barrels of ink lying around -- and Aloise added that non-union drivers have been brought on to deliver the ink.

Earlier this year, Aloise told us that, if editions of the Chronicle began rolling off Transcontinental's non-union presses -- which is scheduled to happen in the next week or two -- the full weight of the Teamsters would be directed toward the flagging paper:

"If they are intent on opening that plant nonunion, [we will start] an advertisers' boycott -- and that will stop the swirl of the Chronicle down the bowl and it will go all the way down," Aloise said in January. "It would be a death-wish to open that plant non-union."

Incidentally, the Chronicle initially referred to its new plant as one of its "144 days of surprises" and as a "gift" to its readers -- an odd notion, as it's a stretch to think readers will be gratified by the origin of their printed papers. Also, you didn't read anything about this picket in the Chronicle, for what it's worth.

Aloise stressed that the current picketing action is directed against Transcontinental, not the Chron. But, he noted, when the Chron becomes a Transcontinental client, the paper "may bear the brunt of that dispute down the road."

In other words, all that talk about death-wishes and toilet bowls is still valid.

"It's absolutely not off the table," said the union boss.

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