February 27, 2007: Bargaining is underway at UPS Freight, formerly Overnite. Nothing less than the future of Teamster Power in trucking is on the line.
Rank-and-file Teamsters are launching a campaign to build support for our union’s efforts to win a strong national contract at UPS Freight—and to make sure that the Hoffa administration does not mortgage our future by settling short.
Under the slogan Get It Straight at UPS Freight, Teamsters are unifying behind the three absolute must-haves in any Teamster contract with UPS Freight:
- A national contract, covering all UPS Freight workers.
- A contract that matches or exceeds the National Master Freight Agreement, with no concessions.
- The inclusion of all UPS Freight workers in our Teamster Pension Plans, not a UPS corporate plan or 401(k).
Settling short on any of these three points will put Teamster jobs, benefits and union standards at risk—both at UPS and in the freight industry.
Eight months ago, Hoffa announced that a “historic card-check agreement will soon bring 12,000 UPS Freight employees under IBT contract.” The IBT now says there are more than 15,000 potential Teamsters at UPS Freight. But for now, our union leadership is bargaining at just one terminal in Indianapolis, which employs 125 UPS Freight workers.
Hoffa has promised that the contract will be extended to all UPS Freight terminals across North America. That’s a promise he needs to keep.
Early bargaining at UPS gives our union the leverage to achieve this goal. Shippers and stockholders are pressuring the company to settle the 2008 contract this year.
We need to put the bargaining power of 200,000 plus Teamsters at UPS behind the 125 Teamsters at UPS Freight and win a master contract covering all UPS Freight Teamsters nationwide.
There should be no early settlement at UPS that doesn’t include a national contract at UPS Freight.
Master Freight Standards in All Respects
UPS is the largest and most profitable transportation corporation in the world and it does not need concessions. If the Teamsters make givebacks to the top dog, we know they will spread.
Yellow Roadway’s CEO has made clear any concessions given to UPS Freight will “set precedent” for the NMFA negotiations. UPS could also take advantage of givebacks at UPS Freight to shift tractor trailer work currently done by UPS feeder drivers into lower-cost freight operations.
It’s common sense that we can’t undermine the UPS or freight agreements by allowing these concessions.
On the positive side, if we win a strong contract at UPS Freight, that will protect Teamster standards, expand our holding in trucking by 15,000 Teamsters and position us to organize other nonunion trucking competitors.
Strengthen Teamster Benefits
This is perhaps the most critical of all issues: the UPS Freight contract must put all employees into our Teamster pension plans.
This will extend quality union pensions to our brothers and sisters at UPS Freight. And, it will strengthen our plans by adding 15,000-plus new participants from a growing carrier into the Western Conference Plan, Central States, New England, the Chicago plans, and all the Eastern Region plans.
Top Teamster officials have already hinted they may not bargain UPS Freight into the Central States Pension Plan. This would totally undermine the fight to restore our benefits.
Teamster Action Needed
If Hoffa is serious about reversing pension cuts and strengthening our benefits for the future, he has to draw a line in the sand at UPS Freight. If not here, where?
UPS Freight is our union’s opportunity to win our biggest victory since the 1997 UPS strike—and we can’t afford to fail. Achieving these three priority goals will protect the UPS and freight contracts, strengthen our pensions, and position us to organize the nonunion competition.
Failure would put our jobs and benefits at risk and undermine future organizing.
President Hoffa needs to make it clear he will settle for nothing short of a national contract that meets or exceeds UPS and NMFA standards and brings UPS Freight employees into Teamster pension plans across the country.
If and when he does, Teamster members need to get behind him to win at UPS Freight.
For now, the campaign to Get It Straight at UPS Freight is the best way to inform and unite Teamsters to achieve this critical victory.