|New York Local 707 UPS Freight Teamsters|
October 17, 2013: UPS Freight Teamsters wonder what happened to their union. They've heard next to nothing since they rejected the proposed contract in June with a 69 percent No vote. Four months of silence. It's clear that Hoffa and Hall have no plan for winning significant contract improvements.
So where does that leave Teamsters working at UPS Freight? We can still win a good contract if we unite behind solid issues.
With the 2008 contract, Hoffa and Hall both spoke of the importance of having the same expiration dates for the parcel and freight contracts, to have more leverage. But when the membership stood together in solidarity to reject the first offer, Hoffa and Hall didn't hear the wake up call.
UPS Freight Teamsters couldn't believe how little headway was made on improvements from the original contract. What changes were proposed, in many areas, were for the worse. And to top it off, the negotiating committee agreed to a new line haul classification with lower wages and benefits.
Some key areas stand out if members are to approve the next proposal:
- There has to be clear language banning subcontracting of Teamster work and the elimination of the proposed substandard line haul driver classification.
- We need pension improvements. Raise the accrual to keep pace with inflation.
- No premiums for health insurance. We should get what our sisters and brothers get in the UPS Parcel and freight contracts.
- Raises of $1 per hour or at least a match with the UPS Parcel wage increases.
- And better language on layoff recall rights.
There's no reason UPS Freight Teamsters should get anything less from their contract. In fact, they should expect the union to deliver more from a corporation that made $4.5 billion in profits. With the strong No vote, members sent a clear message to the IBT that negotiations had to win more.
UPS Freight Teamsters across the country are networking and continuing to build solidarity. "We're going to have to continue to vote NO if they don't come up with more," commented Kurt Kronemberg, a city driver form New York Local 707. "We have to keep talking up the issues and build off the first no vote."