February 26, 2010: Did the International cut a secret deal to let UPS eliminate thousands of full-time 22.3 jobs?
In a tough economy, good full-time jobs with union benefits are at a premium. But the Hoffa administration has let UPS eliminate thousands of good full-time jobs that they are required to maintain by the contract.
Article 22.3 of the national master agreement requires UPS to maintain the 20,000 full-time combo jobs won as a result of the 1997 strike. Hundreds of grievances have been filed on this issue by members, stewards and local unions. Not a single one has been heard by the national grievance panel.
The complete lack of enforcement—and the information brownout from our union on the issue—has fueled rumors that the Hoffa administration has made a secret “handshake agreement” with UPS not to push the issue until volume increases.
The contract language is crystal clear and it makes no exception for volume. Article 22.3 says: “The number of full-time jobs created under Article 22, Section 3 of the 1997-2002 and the 2002-2008 contracts shall not be reduced.” Period.
After the 1997 strike, the company refused to create the first batch of 22.3 jobs. Our union took the issue to arbitration where the company relied on a sentence in the contract that declared the company’s obligations under Article 22.3 would be “null and void” if “there is a reduction in volume causing layoffs.”
UPS lost that arbitration and was forced to create the jobs and pay back wages. Then that language—and any reference to volume—was eliminated from the 2002 and 2008 contracts. It is hard to see what the company’s argument could be at this point.
The first national grievance panel of the year is scheduled for March 1 to 5 in Fort Lauderdale. Twenty locals have Article 22.3 grievances on the docket—including locals in every region. Many other grievances are being held up while the company stonewalls on the issue.
Thousands of Teamster members have signed a petition calling on the International Union to process a national grievance on the issue that would enforce the rights of every affected Teamster.
The International Union has the power to enforce the contract and make UPS deliver all 20,000 full-time combo jobs, with backpay, that we went on strike to win. It’s time to use it.