Keeping Members in the Dark Doesn't Win Better Contracts

March 15, 2013: The International Union has kept a tight lid on the bargaining goals for the UPS, ABF and UPS Freight agreements.

Keeping members in the dark doesn't win better contracts.

Union leaders have two choices when it comes to communicating with members at contract time.

The Hoffa administration's strategy has been to keep members in the dark. UPSers call it the Information Brownout. But it's not limited to UPS.

Teamsters at ABF and UPS Freight are also being shut out when it comes to meaningful information about the union’s bargaining goals.

It hasn't always been this way. The Teamsters won labor's biggest contract victory in decades in 1997 by running a year-long campaign that mobilized UPS Teamsters around a clear set of contract goals:

  • improving Teamster pensions
  • stopping a company takeover of our pensions
  • winning more full-time jobs
  • raising part-time wages, including a $1 wage bump to close the gap between part-time and full-time pay

UPS Teamsters knew what our union was fighting for and that built the unity we needed to win on each of these contract demands.

The Hoffa administration has turned the '97 formula inside out.

Members and even local union officers have been told next to nothing about the union's bargaining goals at UPS, ABF and UPS Freight.

The limited information that Hoffa and Ken Hall release focuses on the company’s concessionary demands. That makes it easier to declare victory when the givebacks come off the table.

Hoffa and Hall don't inform members to build the union's bargaining leverage; they do it to sell contracts after the deal has already been cut.

Fortunately, members can do something about it.

TDU members fought for and won important contract rights for all Teamsters, including the right to an informed vote, majority rule on contracts, and the right to vote on our supplements.

You've got these rights. Use them. Join with other Teamsters who are mobilizing against givebacks and standing up for better contracts.

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