April 2, 2010: IBT Vice President Ken Hall says that the UPS Freight National Panel is doing an “outstanding job.”
So why did our union only win five grievances at the March panel?
Teamsters at UPS Freight didn’t have much to cheer about when they reviewed the results of their national grievance panel.
Out of 27 grievances heard, the union won only five cases—and none dealing with subcontracting.
The UPS Freight National Panel met March 3-5 in Ft. Lauderdale. The union referred back five more grievances for the local to resolve with the company. The panel postponed or put on hold 36 more grievances.
The union has little to show for its time except for a few small monetary victories. The largest victory by far was in a case where the company will pay nine days of back pay.
The panel deadlocked an important Article 44 grievance from Dallas that challenges the use of rail. Now the union can choose to take that grievance to arbitration.
“The numbers from the panel don’t lie. I know our union can do a better job enforcing our contract. It starts with getting the members informed and involved. And then we’ve got to turn up the heat on management for real,” commented G.W. Owensby, a road driver from Kansas City Local 41.
“I know members are willing to do something because we’re getting run over by subcontractors.”
Over 40 subcontracting grievances were on the docket for this panel, but the union only took action in three cases involving rail, not cases of subcontracting involving nonunion carriers.
Fourteen subcontracting grievances were withdrawn, five were postponed, and 12 were put on committee hold. Three subcontracting grievances were scheduled on the docket “in error.”
At the end of the panel, the union announced that it will take a “lead case” on subcontracting from Dallas Local 745 to arbitration.
In a press release at the time of the national panel, Ken Hall, the International Vice President in charge of contract enforcement at UPS Freight, said the national grievance committee is doing “an outstanding job” on the issue and the lack of progress on reducing subcontracting is “absolutely not their fault.”
Who’s to Blame?
So whose fault is it? And more importantly, what’s the plan for reducing the practice and putting more Teamster members to work?
“Ken Hall says there is not sufficient documentation or facts to back up the grievances on subcontracting. We see the facts on the ground everyday. But we haven’t seen any information from the union on how to document these violations. And I know some stewards have really put together a lot of documentation,” said John Weir, a road driver from 533 in Reno, Nev. “We’re willing to do what it takes to get this problem solved.”
Members want contract enforcement and are ready to follow a plan that works.
“When TDU started shining a light on subcontracting at UPS Freight, I knew I had to get more involved. I ordered a bundle of the Teamster Voice and have been getting them out to other Teamsters. We’re building a network to get this contract enforced.”
David Loyd, UPS Freight, Local 150, Sacramento, Calif.