Teamsters and drivers for Bauer's Intelligent Transportation held a protest on Aug.11 decrying a "sham" union created by the company. The company's drivers will now unionize with the Teamsters. (Michael Ares/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Teamsters and drivers for Bauer's Intelligent Transportation held a protest on Aug.11 decrying a "sham" union created by the company. The company's drivers will now unionize with the Teamsters. (Michael Ares/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Bauer’s tech shuttle drivers unionize after long battle

Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation is the newest regional tech shuttle company to unionize.

Its 39 drivers are now part of the Teamsters Local 665, which represents thousands drivers statewide.

Those drivers shuttle workers of tech companies Cisco Systems, Zynga, Electronic Arts and Intuit to their headquarters every day.

“We always hear San Francisco is a union town,” said Doug Bloch, political director of the Teamsters Joint Council 7, “Well, it is. And now these drivers will have a union.”

Bauers move to unionize is perhaps significant because it’s the first test of The City’s “labor harmony” resolution, which tasks tech shuttle companies with being in good standing with unions in order to remain in its permitted commuter shuttle program.

It also signals the end of a years long power struggle between the Teamsters and Bauer’s, which saw National Labor Relations Board complaints, sham-unions, shuttle-stopping protests, and fiery public condemnations from both sides.

That tussle culminated in the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency kicking Bauer’s out of its commuter shuttle program in April, which allows use of public Muni bus stops.

Bauer’s is now appealing that decision, which may be helped with its newfound good standing with the Teamsters, according to the union.

Bloch said unionization of Bauer’s would likely have been far more difficult without the labor harmony resolution, which was adopted at the SFMTA Board of Directors at the urging of a resolution from Supervisor Scott Wiener.

“This is a big step forward for our effort to ensure that these shuttle drivers are paid fairly, and in a way that allows them to live here,” Wiener said.

Wiener, who is also running for state senate, said the effort to aid shuttle drivers is about addressing income inequality “in its starkest form.”

Bauer’s drivers will see increases in wages and benefits, the Teamsters said, comparable to those of Teamster drivers who ferry tech workers from other tech companies, like those at Loop Transportation for Facebook and Compass Transportation for Apple.

“This has been a long struggle for us, but we stuck together and we have always had faith that we would win,” said Art Ariza, a Bauer’s driver, in a statement issued by the Teamsters.

At yesterday’s regular meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, a similar “labor harmony” resolution for the Recreation and Parks Department was unanimously approved. That resolution was authored by Supervisor Eric Mar. BauersCommuter Shuttle ProgramGoogle busMuniSFMTAtech shuttlesTransit

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