May 27, 2011: Six full-time drivers broke free from their lower tier scale at the UPS-CSI terminal in Oak Creek, Wisc. when they won a back pay settlement totaling $21,695. In addition, four of them saw their hourly wage increase by an average of $2.50 per hour.
In February 2009, these members did not receive the scheduled wage increase under the Local 344 addendum to the national agreement. UPS-CSI insisted on following the inferior national contract language on wage progression.
A Slam Dunk, Delayed
“We thought we had a slam dunk when the company essentially wanted to rewrite the progression language on a settled contract,” noted Karl Gartung, the steward and long time TDU member. “Our Local 344 BA, Bill Carroll, went to bat for us and persistently pushed the grievance at every stage.”
But delays kicked in. First regionally, then nationally waiting for an arbitration date, and finally as the IBT small package division attempted to negotiate (?!) a settlement. Two years later, just prior to the arbitration hearing, members got their justice but still had to wait another two months to get all the money that was called for under the contract.
“It was great that these hard working Teamsters finally got the money they were owed,” commented Gartung. “We stuck with it and it paid off in the end. But it’s a shame they had to wait this long on a clear contract violation. We have to find ways to step up the pace on contract enforcement.”
These Teamsters got some justice by their persistence and help from their local. But they also showed how weak the national leadership and grievance procedure can be, even when management blatantly violates the contract.
Getting What They Deserve
“It’s great that these hard-working members are finally getting the money they were owed. We stuck with it and it paid off in the end.
Karl Gartung, UPS CSI Steward
Local 344, Milwaukee