IBT's Contract Ballot Screw-ups Undermine our Union

June 18, 2013: The vote counts on the UPS, UPS Freight and ABF contracts have been screwed up in too many ways to count.

When our contracts are being voted on, Teamster members deserve a ballot process they can have confidence in. If you work for 25 or 30 years, you may only get to vote on about five contracts, determining your benefits, wages and working conditions.

Consider just a few examples:

  • Many thousands of UPS Teamsters received the wrong ballot return envelopes, directing their ballot to the UPS Freight vote count post office box. These ballots now have to be sorted and re-directed at the count.
     
  • The International Union sent so many wrong ballots to the 10,000 UPS Teamsters of Louisville Local 89 that the IBT had to mail out a second ballot. Members who voted with the first ballots had to revote. Local 89 ballots are due by Saturday, June 22 as a result.
     
  • The members of Indianapolis Local 135 also received the wrong ballot materials, with incorrect information about their benefit plan. A second ballot was mailed, and is now due on June 26.
     
  • Every ABF Teamster was sent incorrect ballot instructions which say that a No vote is a vote to accept the agreement!
     
  • Numerous ABF, UPS and UPS Freight Teamsters have received postcards and mailers urging them to vote yes… for the wrong contract.

Worst of all, many Teamsters were denied their right to vote altogether because they never got a ballot—even after they promptly notified their local.

In Orange County Local 952, the situation is so bad that even the stewards did not get a ballot! The local union claims that they are all coded as "inactive" by the International. Early requests for replacement ballots has yielded no results.

The IBT could have addressed this widespread problem by simply extending all voting by a week, as was done for Local 135 already. The vote count could have gone forward as planned with a supplementary vote count next week. Instead, thousands of Teamsters will be disenfranchised.

The International Union's keystone cop routine undermines members' confidence—not just in the IBT leadership but in the Teamster democratic process. That's bad for our union no matter how you're voting on the contract.

Teamsters for a Democratic Union will be there to observe the vote count. TDU members have won critical contract voting rights. The voting process on the contracts this year shows more remains to be done.


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