BNA Daily Labor Report: Teamster Ranks Swell at UPS Freight

January 30, 2008: About two weeks after launching a major nationwide organizing campaign to represent truck drivers and dockworkers at UPS Freight, International Brotherhood of Teamsters has gained the support of bargaining units covering about 3,200 workers, or about 25 percent of the company's 12,600 eligible employees, union officials told BNA Jan. 29.

A majority of workers at 24 of the company's 91 freight terminals have signed authorization cards designating the Teamsters as their collective bargaining agent, according to IBT spokesman Galen Munroe. IBT to date has forwarded about 90 percent of the signed authorization cards to an independent arbitrator for verification as part of an IBT-UPS Freight card-check agreement reached last year that provides for union recognition without National Labor Relations Board-supervised elections, the union said.

Since announcing earlier this month that a majority of workers at seven of the company's New England trucking terminals had signed union authorization cards (12 DLR A-7, 1/18/08 ), the union said that it has attained authorization cards from workers at 17 more terminals across the country.

UPS Freight, a unit of United Parcel Service, has not formally recognized the union yet at any of the new sites, Ken Hall, director of the union's parcel division told BNA. But the union leader said he did not anticipate any problems, and that formal recognition of IBT bargaining units would begin soon.

No Contract Talks Scheduled Yet

UPS Freight spokesman Ira Rosenfeld confirmed Jan. 29 that no formal recognition had been extended to the union at any of the sites announced by IBT since the new organizing drive was launched Jan. 16.

Before the new drive, UPS Freight had recognized IBT as the bargaining agent for employees at only one of the company's freight terminals, Rosenfeld said. The company recognized IBT as the collective bargaining agent for workers at its Indianapolis terminal last year and quickly negotiated a first contract to cover those workers, he said (196 DLR A-7, 10/11/07).

Rosenfeld said he had no information on the schedule for recognition at the new sites or the beginning of bargaining toward first contracts.

Numerous Bargaining Units

Munroe said the union had collected authorization cards from a majority of workers at 17 other terminals since the union announced the beginning of the drive with the proposed designation of a single bargaining unit at seven New England terminals.

Those 17 terminals are located in Memphis, Tenn.; Detroit; San Leandro, Calif.; Tukwila, Wash.; Los Angeles; Fontana, Calif.; Commerce, Calif.; Rialto, Calif.; Minneapolis; Milwaukee; Louisville, Ky.; Lexington, Ky., Farmingdale, N.Y.; Newburgh, N.Y.; Atlanta; Lawrenceville, Ga.; and Marietta, Ga., Munroe said.

Hall said the union would seek to negotiate separate contracts for different bargaining units according to local conditions. In some cases, the union will seek to negotiate a single contract at an individual terminal, such as in Memphis, which is one of UPS Freight's largest individual terminals. But in other cases, the union will seek to negotiate a single contract to cover multiple smaller terminals in the same geographic regions, such as in New England, he said.

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