April 19, 2013: UPS Teamsters and many local unions are raising red flags about members being moved into the Central States Health Fund. The proposal has sparked resistance from members and locals opposed to benefit reductions.
Officers from every local in the West held a conference call on Wednesday and spoke out against any transfer to the Central States Health & Welfare Fund. Teamsters Local 177 which represents some 6,000 UPSers in New Jersey also joined the call.
In Ontario, California, members flooded Local 63 with phone calls. Their Business Agent promptly came out to the air hub and promised there would be no changes in members' health coverage.
Members in Iowa, St. Louis, Chicago, Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, have also voiced opposition to the plan. UPS Teamsters are concerned about changes to their healthcare, higher out-of-pocket expenses and changes in retiree coverage from higher eligibility ages to increased monthly premiums.
Management has been working a company game plan since the start of negotiations when they demanded that members pay $90 a week toward our health coverage. UPS never expected to win this demand but put it forward to try to scare and soften up members into accepting unfavorable changes in their benefits.
Hall promised negotiations would be about "improvements, not concessions." Does that apply to healthcare?
Teamsters Want Options, Right to Vote
The locals on the conference call have floated proposals to move their members who are in company plans into a Teamster fund in the West that has superior benefits to Central States.
Ken Hall alluded to this in the latest negotiations update, saying "The Company has indicated a willingness to move employees who are currently in Company plans into Central States to provide coverage. The Committee discussed the possibility of offering proposals for other Teamster plans to provide coverage," Hall said.
Contract negotiations resume Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Hall says that UPS and the International Union are both committed to wrapping up negotiations by the end of next week, four months before the contract expires.
If the proposed contract will move UPSers out of company plans and into Teamster funds, the members who are directly impacted by the change deserve a separate vote on the issue.
At Stake, Healthcare and More
UPS made record profits last year of nearly $4.5 billion.
UPS Teamsters should review the details of any tentative agreement carefully to make sure any early deal lives up the promise that Ken Hall made when negotiations began: "The more they make, the more we take."
This should apply to all of members' issues, including harassment, full-time jobs, excessive overtime, technology, pensions, part-time wage increases and more.
What's Your Bottom Line?
With UPS making $4.5 billion, what kind of improvements do members deserve?
Click here to read TDU's Contract Scorecard.
Click here to hear UPSers speak out on the contract.
Click here to send a message and speak out yourself.