Teamsters Taking on KAG West at 7-Eleven Stores

As part of contract negotiations, telling retailer's customers they are paying too much for fuel

SOUTH EL MONTE, Calif. -- Tankhaul drivers and members of Teamsters Local Union 986 in South El Monte, Calif., hand billed customers outside of area 7-Elevens in November to protest what they said is KAG West's "destruction" of union jobs. Teamsters nationwide, "from Brooklyn, N.Y., to San Diego," have joined in this month, according to a press update issued by the union.

Teamsters are telling 7-Eleven customers that the price they pay for fuel is too high.

With more than 235 tankers located in California, Arizona and Nevada, KAG West is a major bulk carrier on the West Coast. It is part of Canton, Ohio-based Kenan Advantage Group Inc., and it supplies gasoline to 7-Eleven stores.

7-Eleven Inc. referred a CSP Daily News request for comment to KAG West, which did not respond by press time.

The Teamsters Union represents more than 10,000 tankhaul drivers across the country, it said. Teamsters Local 986 represents more than 380 tankhaul drivers working for KAG West. The union and the company have been bargaining to achieve a first contract for more than 14 months, but the union claims that the company continues to stall negotiations.

"We are fighting for a Teamster contract so that we can have respect, fair pay and benefits," said Avery Scott, a tankhaul driver for the past nine years. "KAG West has singled us out by taking back the hourly wage raise that they gave everyone else in the company. We all work hard for this company and we deserve better treatment."

"Having support from brother and sister Teamsters in other parts of California and on the East Coast is a big boost for us," he added.

"It seems like KAG West doesn't care about good jobs. They just want to cut, cut, cut--but that hasn't stopped us from continuing to work safely and efficiently. That's what we we're hired to do," said Frank Basaldua, a tankhaul driver and member of Teamsters Local 986.

"This is our third week of hand billing at 7-Elevens, and customers continue to be surprised by the way KAG West is treating its employees," said Chris Griswold, secretary treasurer of Teamsters Local 986. "We know with the strength of our members across the country behind us, we will be able to turn around the direction of these contract negotiations for the better."

7-Eleven, based in Dallas, operates, franchises or licenses nearly 8,900 stores in North America. Globally, there are approximately 43,500 7-Eleven stores in 16 countries. During 2010, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales of approximately $63 billion.