April 10, 2009: Drivers and our families are being hurt by the new Opt-In/Opt-Out guidelines agreed to by the Hoffa administration. The new system has led to more intimidation, more excessive overtime and more layoffs. It’s wrong.
In my building, intimidation is a major factor in keeping drivers off the 9.5 Excessive Overtime list. Drivers have been told they will be subject to extra reports and will basically have a camera in their face if they go on the list.
This causes many drivers who don’t want the excessive overtime to just suck it up. They don’t want to sit down with the center manager to get on the 9.5 list.
This isn’t the way it was supposed to work. The contract we voted on stated that we sign a list twice a year to opt in or out of excessive overtime.
Safety in Numbers
There is safety in numbers, especially when an aggressive center manager is involved. A group list is the union way to go, not forcing drivers to sit down with their center manager. What the hell was our International Union thinking when they agreed to that?
With the economy down, I think the union caters to management even more than usual. Management cuts jobs and sends the rest of the workforce out with a 10 or 11 hour day and our union’s response is to weaken excessive overtime protections instead of strengthening them.
If the excessive overtime list was more user-friendly, drivers who want more time with our families could be protected from unwanted excessive overtime. And more Teamsters could be working instead of being laid off.
That’s the kind of pro-Teamster solution our union should be fighting for.
By Aaron Nightingale, Local 150 Package Car Driver, Sacramento.