Teamsters Members Ratify Four-Year CBA

Rhonda Smith
BNA Daily Labor Report
October 17, 2013
View the original piece

Members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters have approved the final rider included in a collective bargaining agreement with DHL Express that covers about 2,000 workers employed nationwide by the logistics company, the union announced Oct. 11.

IBT said approval of the rider paves the way for implementation of a national master agreement between DHL and the Teamsters that retroactively takes effect in April 2013 and expires in March 2017. Operational changes contained in the tentative contract likely will be implemented in the next few weeks, the union added.

DHL officials did not respond to Bloomberg BNA requests Oct. 16 for comment. The Teamsters also declined to comment, but highlights of the tentative 2013-2017 National Master DHL Agreement are posted on its website.

The agreement calls for a $1,250 lump-sum payment immediately “in lieu of a wage increase this year” to most DHL employees covered by the contract, the union said. It also calls for general wage increases from April 2014 to October 2016 for full-time and part-time eligible employees.

Extended Contract Negotiations

DHL and the Teamsters agreed earlier this year to extend their collective bargaining agreement 30 days past the March 31 expiration date while contract negotiations continued. There were subsequent extensions as negotiations proceeded.

The union, which has about 1.4 million members in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, announced Sept. 11 that the national master portion of the agreement, which contains the economic package, was approved by more than 70 percent of IBT members eligible to vote on the proposals.

The Teamsters said all three national operational supplements to the master agreement, covering employees who hold pickup and delivery, office/clerical, and gateway positions involving DHL workers at airline hubs, were approved earlier this year. Supplements covering IBT members who hold regional pickup and delivery jobs at DHL also were approved previously.

Bonus and Wage Increases

For DHL employees covered by the pickup and delivery and office/clerical agreements, the tentative contract calls for the $1,250 lump-sum payment within 30 days of the date the contract is ratified. The Teamsters said active full-time and part-time workers as of the date of ratification and employees on an approved leave of absence would receive the lump-sum payment for 2013 retroactively, as well as prospective wage increases.

“Laid-off employees on the seniority list who have worked at least 500 hours in 2013 prior to the date of ratification will also receive a $1,250 lump sum payment,” the union said.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Teamsters said full-time employees would receive: a $1.00 per hour wage increase effective April 1, 2014; a $0.60 per hour increase effective April 1, 2015; a $0.35 per hour increase effective April 1, 2016; and a $0.25 per hour increase Oct. 1, 2016.

The union said part-time employees would receive a $0.50 per hour wage increase effective April 1, 2014; a $0.30 per hour increase effective April 1, 2015; and a $0.30 per hour increase effective April 1, 2016.

This reflects “[s]ignificant increases” for part-time workers, whether they are new hires or current employees, the Teamsters said. The union said the new-hire progression rate has been shortened by 25 percent, to 36 months.

“Those workers already in progression will benefit from both higher rates and a quicker progression,” IBT said.

‘Strong Neutrality Agreement.'

In addition, the Teamsters said the contract includes “a strong neutrality agreement” that will make it easier for them to organize nonrepresented workers within DHL operations.
New language in the contract about the neutrality agreement says: “The parties agree that a constructive bargaining relationship is essential to efficient operations and sound employee relations. The parties recognize that organizational campaigns could have the potential to disrupt an otherwise mutually beneficial collective bargaining relationship.

Consequently, should any affiliate of the IBT attempt to organize a non-covered operation of the employer (in any appropriate bargaining unit), the Employer shall remain neutral and not engage in, sponsor, or support any anti-union or ‘vote-no' activities. Additionally, the parties will not engage in any personal attacks against Union or Company representatives or defame the Union or Company as institutions as a part of any such organizing campaign.”

Curbing Excessive Overtime

The Teamsters also said it secured for employees covered by the contract an hourly rate of double time for all hours worked over 12 per day.

“This should help address excessive overtime for drivers and limit the potential abuse of overworking 10-hour employees where they exist,” the Teamsters said.

In addition, the union said the agreement limits DHL's ability to require employees receiving workers' compensation benefits to continually take part in “modified/light duty work.” Such modified duty would be limited to a total of 12 weeks under the contract, IBT said, as opposed to being unlimited under the current contract.

The Teamsters said the contract also requires DHL to participate in the same health, welfare and pension funds it participated in under the previous contract. “To maintain current benefits, the employer has agreed to increase its contribution to all Teamster health, welfare and pension plans up to $1.00 per hour per year,” the union said.

Defeating Take-Aways

IBT said it was able to defeat DHL's use of part-time employees for 30 percent of daily work, “including straight time weekend pickup and delivery work.”

The Teamsters said it also defeated modifications to DHL's grievance procedure and “the elimination of restrictions on a laid-off employee's right to bid on new or part-time work.”

The union applauded the continued inclusion in the agreement of a DHL cost-of-living adjustment clause that protects workers against “the harmful effects of inflation in 2014 and beyond.”

The Teamsters said DHL also agreed to continue paying 100 percent of the cost to hire an arbitrator to resolve disputes.

The agreement also “preserves a significant degree of regional and local autonomy” for the local unions and members they represent, IBT said.

In addition, the Teamsters said the contract “eliminates the contractual language that allowed the company to take disciplinary action against any employee who has had his or her wages garnished.”


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