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East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse Forms a Union

The employees of the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse have formed a union. We ask for the following:


  • Consistency in management policies;
  • To receive our paychecks without harassment, postponement, or being asked to volunteer to give them up;
  • Clear and current personnel policies and guidelines, grievance procedures, and union representation on the job as a witness in disciplinary procedures Regularly scheduled, open, and advertised board meetings;
  • Yearly board elections and active recruitment of new board members representative of the communities we serve;
  • Community & staff input into board makeup;
  • At least one staff position on the board of directors as allowed in bylaws;
  • The ability to collectively bargain in order to receive a just contract and treatment at our workplace.


  • The ability to conduct our work without harassment or provocation;
  • Biweekly, paid, full staff meetings;
  • Facilitation training for all employees to have more productive meetings;
  • Value and trust of employees' knowledge and skills;
  • Responsible administration present during scheduled work hours Safety;
  • The right to a safe workplace, including training in spotting and handling of toxic materials and a system to report problems and incidents;
  • Compliance with OSHA standards.


  • A return to the stated mission of the Depot to provide low-cost materials that are valuable to teachers and artists;
  • Health coverage for every employee working at least half time;
  • An equitable starting wage for all employees with structured increases;
  • Institution of a public suggestion board;

The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse is located at 6713 San Pablo Avenue in Oakland, south of Ashby Avenue. It is accessible by AC Transit Bus Lines 72 & 73.

For more information about our demands, please contact the IWW at: (415) 863-9627

Background on Our Union Drive


The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse was established over 28 years ago by two Oakland school teachers with the mission to be a resource center where artists, teachers, and the community could find low-cost and valuable materials for reuse while also diverting waste from the landfill. As the Depot grew, it inspired the founding of three arts, education, and outreach programs: Project Create, Art in the Heart, and Special Events, which continue to serve thousands of students and diverse sectors of our community. The employees of the Depot have worked hard to further our mission, however, we feel the Executive Director, Board of Directors, and Store Managers have lost these ideals, as well as basic respect for their employees.


The employees of the East Bay Depot have decided to unionize in order to reestablish the spirit of teamwork and cooperation upon which our organization was founded. We are now asking the management to voluntarily recognize our union. We seek to bargain collectively to demand fairness, respect, safety, and dignity in our workplace. This decision has been thoughtfully considered and was decided upon by a majority of workers. It comes after months of harassment, lack of respect, and what we believe is the management's failure to live up to the stated mission of the East Bay Depot. We tried many methods to resolve these issues, including adding work responsibilities, volunteering to schedule and plan monthly staff meetings, and asking for mediation and dispute resolution. All of these means of cooperation were met with either disregard or outright hostility by the management.

What's Happened

It is difficult for us to understand why the management of the East Bay Depot has taken on the hostile attitude that now characterizes its relationship to its employees. We have seen reduced paychecks and benefits. We have not been allowed an official, paid full staff meeting since August of 2002. Several long-term employees have been forced to leave the Depot because they could no longer stand the poor and stressful working conditions. In addition, many managerial duties and responsibilities have been assumed by the officers of St. Vincent dePaul of Eugene, Oregon. We have received little information about this company, what their role is in our organization, nor answers as to why a business which shares so little in common with the Depot is playing such a large role in its management. The Depot is much more than just a business with a profit motive. Whereas in the past our ideas were respected, we now face a management style that exhibits a lack of respect for our experience and creates an unhealthy and dispiriting morale problem throughout the organization.

Our Goals

We are all working here for a reason. Without compassion, respect, and honesty within our workplace we will fail as a community role model. We seek union representation not as a retaliatory gesture, but to allow the Depot to continue to flourish. We believe the way to continue to build the Depot is by taking a proactive approach. We have formed this union because we see it as the only way to build a fair, respectful, and dignified workplace. Our demands are listed on the other side of this flyer. We feel that they are basic goals that any employee deserves to have met. We hope that you agree.


--The employees of the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse


Thank you for making your support for our campaign known to management and for continuing to stand up for us as workers and for the Depot as a continuing resource to the community.