June 20, 2007: Do Hoffa and Hall still believe in the principle that powered our 1997 strike victory?
When we drew the line at UPS in 1997, we did more than win a strong contract. We won a stronger future at UPS. Now that legacy is in jeopardy.
In 1997, Teamster unity forced the company to create 10,000 new full-time jobs—by combining 20,000 part-time jobs. Still smarting from the 1997 strike, UPS management agreed to combine another 20,000 part-time jobs in 2002.
If we had not taken our strong stand in 1997, today there would be 40,000 more part-time jobs at UPS and 20,000 fewer full-time jobs. Think about that. 40,000 more throwaway jobs. 20,000 fewer full-time opportunities. Weaker union pension funds. And greatly diminished union power.
That’s why management tries to make combo jobs as unattractive as possible and tries to make combo workers feel like second-class citizens. Management wants to turn back the clock on full-time job creation at UPS. We can’t let that happen.
We need to recapture the spirit of 1997 and fight for quality, full-time jobs at UPS—the world’s most profitable transportation company.
Management should not get an early deal unless the contract:
- Creates a minimum of 10,000 full-time jobs by combining 20,000 part-time positions. A higher goal of 15,000 is within reach.
- Improves combo jobs by increasing the rate of pay and strengthening seniority and bidding rights. There needs to be strong, universal rules that protect the union rights of combo workers.
The Hoffa administration has been conspicuously silent on these issues. UPS Teamsters need to make sure our union leadership does not settle short.
This is about more than protecting the legacy of our 1997 strike victory. It’s about protecting our future. We can’t let UPS turn into a company where the vast majority of employees work in part-time, throwaway jobs.