Updated June 26, 2013: The UPS national contract has narrowly passed but Ken Hall and UPS will be returning to the bargaining table because at least 18 supplements and riders have been rejected, the biggest number in Teamster history.
What's next for UPS Teamsters, our contract and the healthcare cuts?
The UPS national contract passed narrowly, with a 53% Yes vote likely when the final ballots are counted. But it has been rejected in 18 supplements and riders. The latest to be rejected was the Local 135 Indiana Rider, when the final local union was counted today. That increased the margin of rejection of the largest supplement – the Central Region.
The contract passed because of Yes majorities in the Southern Region, the Atlantic Supplement and New England. In those three areas Yes votes had a 11,941 vote majority. In the rest of the country, No votes will end up with a strong majority, rejecting the contract by about 8,000 votes.
In the three "Yes" areas, no full-time Teamsters are affected by the health benefit cuts, and that is a big factor in the difference.
The second difference from local to local, is where TDU activists and other Teamsters networked, leafleted, talked to their co-workers, and got involved. In a few key locals, including Local 89, local officers also opposed the contract. Where Teamsters got active, the contract was rejected by a bigger margin and voter turnout tended to be higher.
The contract passed with the lowest majority in the history of UPS contracts and with an unprecedented rejection in so many supplements and riders, including the Central and Western Region supplements.
The national contract cannot be signed at this point, because re-negotiation and re-vote is required for each of the rejected supplements and riders. Legally, the contract is one integrated agreement, not separate national and regional contracts. This legal principle has long been recognized by both UPS and the union.
Under the Teamster Constitution, the national leadership (Hoffa-Hall) must work with all the supplemental committees to get an agreement acceptable to members. That is not going to be easy, especially in areas where they have been overwhelmingly rejected.
A large majority of UPS Teamsters will be voting again. And maybe more than once. If a supplement or rider is rejected a third time, that will be a strike vote. UPS does not want to get to that step, giving us bargaining power, if we use it.
The IBT needs to do more than re-vote the contracts with a new sales pitch. The International Union needs to get behind the members and address the reasons why members voted no.
Supplemental issues need to be addressed, as does a major issue in the national agreement. The members have said loud and clear: reverse the health benefit cuts!
Hall and UPS can make that happen. Even if they stick with the move to the Central States Fund, the IBT and UPS can bargain more healthcare money in the national contract to guarantee no reduction in members’ current benefits.
Reversing the healthcare cuts is an achievable demand. It will not address all of the problems that caused the national contract to be voted down, except in the South, New England and the Atlantic Region. It also won't address the problems that led to the biggest supplement rejections in Teamsters' history. But it will be an important start.
UPS Teamsters rejected a record number of supplements and riders in the contract vote—and have sent Ken Hall and UPS back to the bargaining table. To reverse the healthcare cuts and win contract improvements will take membership involvement and national coordination.
TDU and the Make UPS Deliver network will be providing information, producing bulletins and taking nationally coordinated action to demand that the International Union and UPS reverse the healthcare cuts and improve the contract.
Contact TDU to find out how you can get involved. Teamster members are stronger when we work together.