May 2, 2007: Our bargaining team and UPS have only swapped initial economic proposals but Ken Hall is already telling Teamster leaders that negotiations will be over “soon.”
On April 30, Hall told Teamsters gathered at the Unity Conference that, “We will be successful in negotiating strong agreements soon” at both UPS and UPS Freight that deliver on our key issues including healthcare and pensions.
It’s good to hear our chief negotiator sounding so confident, but what message does Hall’s prediction send to the company?
Our greatest leverage in early negotiations is the threat that we will deny UPS the early agreement that shippers and stockholders are demanding. We should be using that threat to make UPS deliver the improvements we were promised in the “Best Contract Ever.”
Instead, Hall is promising that negotiations will be over soon and declaring victory before the bargaining over economics even begins. That’s hardly the way to get this company to put its best offer on the table.
If Hall is right that a settlement is coming down soon, then now is the time for UPS Teamsters to get ready. We need to have a network in place to quickly share information about the strengths and weaknesses of any tentative agreement.
Our right to vote on the contract is the power we have to make sure we don’t settle short again. If UPS wants an early deal, we’ve got to make them pay for it.
If you agree, get involved. Pass out the contract scorecard and talk to members about what we need to win. Build our rank-and-file network and sign up UPSers to receive email updates about negotiations. When a tentative agreement is reached, we will update Teamsters with the details.