Joint Council Rules Against Effort to Stop Givebacks

The UPS contract contains a strong clause to prevent management from undercutting the contract. Article 2, Section 2 states that any changes to regional supplements, rider or addendum are “null and void” if they are not approved by the Joint National Negotiating Committee. But a recent ruling by New England Joint Council 10 officials declares that it is “not possible” to enforce this protection.

Joint Council 10 officials dismissed charges against five New England locals for violating this clause and members’ right to vote. Local 25 members filed charges against locals 25, 42, 191, 340 and 677 after these locals allowed UPS management to establish a Sunday to Thursday work week without premium pay—in direct violation of the New England supplement.

The charges correctly state that these locals violated the IBT Constitution when they agreed to the midcontract changes without a vote of all the members covered by the supplement or the approval of the National Negotiating Committee.

In dismissing the charges, the Joint Council hearing panel argued that, “Since the Joint National Negotiating Committee is only convened at the time the UPS agreement is negotiated, it would not have been possible for [the locals] to have obtained a review by the Committee.” The Joint Council also ruled that the givebacks were “informal” agreements and not subject to committee approval—a loophole big enough to drive a set of doubles through.

In a separate ruling, the NLRB stated that, “It appears from the investigation that the members of the Committee did give tacit and indirect approval to this change.”

Which is it? Did James Hoffa and Ken Hall, the committee co-chairs, approve the givebacks or not? And do Hoffa and Hall agree that the IBT can’t use Article 2, Section 2 to prevent midcontract changes that undercut the contract? UPS Teamsters have a right to know.

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