February 27, 2007: A group of UPS workers, with encouragement from management, is attempting to oust the Teamsters Union on a national scale. This outfit, the American Parcel Workers Association, is a wrong turn down a blind alley for Teamsters who want positive change.
The APWA leaders spread UPS corporate propaganda on our pensions. Check www.MakeUPSDeliver.org for the facts on this matter. The APWA advocates an anti-union “right to work state” posture, insisting that UPS workers should be able to decline to pay their union dues, sticking the rest of us with the bill. Their attorney’s firm advertises that they help corporations break unions and force health care concessions on workers. In short, they are against basic union principles.
The APWA has attracted the interest of a number of UPS Teamsters in the South who are frustrated with the Hoffa leadership and the pension cuts imposed by the trustees of the Central States Fund.
The APWA is doomed to fail because the majority of Teamsters are not going to vote out the Teamsters Union and leave behind their pensions, except for their vested rights. They are not going to give up union protection for an untested association.
But in the process, we are concerned that this organization can divert membership energy into a blind alley. Teamsters fed up with pension cuts and leaders who lie to them may head down that alley, instead of on a positive road for change.
If UPS Teamsters want change, and many do want change in our union, we have the tools to make it happen. First of all, we can elect our top IBT officials. James Hoffa was reelected Teamster president in November with 174,900 votes. There are 230,000 UPS Teamsters, and the number is growing. Do the math: UPS workers have the power to elect our top leaders. We can elect leaders in our local unions. And we have a right to vote by secret ballot, by majority rule, on our contract and contract supplements.
Are those hard to accomplish? You bet. But they are a hell of a lot easier than uniting 230,000 Teamsters to leave their union to end up with no protection.
It was Teamsters for a Democratic Union that fought for and won all these rights.
If Teamsters had been distracted into anti-union efforts like the APWA, we never would have won the right to elect our top leaders or majority rule on our contract votes, or 25-and-out; we would not have won our 1997 strike.
We respect the right of all Teamsters to consider any option. Check out the facts for yourself. If you want positive change, the right course is Teamsters for a Democratic Union, a movement that is 100 percent Teamster, 100 percent noncorruptible, and with a proven track record of positive victories.