January 10, 2008: Chicago Local 705 has won a major showdown with UPS over supervisors working. By threatening the company with a strike, Local 705 forced UPS to create more than 200 package car and part-time jobs and to curb future supervisors working violations.
The victory is the culmination of a multi-year campaign by Local 705 to take on supervisors working violations.
Over the last three years, business agents and shop stewards won a total of 4,000 to 5,000 grievances—including 700-plus grievance settlements where the company agreed to cease and desist from having supervisors work.
When supervisors continued to work despite the “cease and desist” agreements, Local 705 smacked UPS with a 72-hour notice that the union would strike UPS for its failure to abide by grievance decisions. The strike threat brought the company to the table to seriously negotiate the creation of additional jobs.
Local 705 has revoked a 72-hour strike notice for now and UPS has agreed to create 60 new package car positions and more than 60 part-time jobs.
The local has informed UPS management that the 72-hour can be reinstated if the company fails to continue to comply with grievance resolutions.
No Dime on the Dollar
“When you let a supervisor work, you might as well let them reach into your wallet and take money out because that’s what they’re doing,” said Bill O’Connor, a Local 705 package car steward.
“It doesn’t do anybody any good to settle supervisors working grievances for ten cents on the dollar. You’ve got to make the company pay,” O’Connor said.
After a supervisor refused to stop working and challenged O’Connor to “go file a grievance,” O’Connor and other shop stewards in the Palatine Center took action. They came to work early for six weeks and won $9,000 worth of supervisors working grievances.
“Our union backed us up. When we started to win, members took notice and so did the company. Slowly but surely we’re stopping supervisors from working,” O’Connor said.
Credible Strike Threat
UPSers in Local 705 are covered by a separate agreement from the national contract. The Local 705 contract gives the local the right to strike if UPS does not comply with grievance resolutions.
Other UPS locals do not have strike authority over company violations of local grievance settlements. However, the national contract gives local unions the right to strike if the company violates grievance settlements that are reached by the national grievance panel.
Local 705 has proven that this language can force the company to stop violations and create more jobs, including full-time positions—when our union is committed to a coordinated action plan for contract enforcement.
Local unions and the Parcel and Small Package Division can and should use the similar language in the master contract to bring the hammer down in areas where the company is serially violating supervisors working language.