In a conference call with local unions on Oct. 2, Ken Hall and James Hoffa reported that there is a "card check" deal with UPS Freight, which will make it easier to organize the various terminals. If the majority of workers at a terminal sign Teamster cards that are independently verified, the company will recognize and bargain with the Teamsters Union at that barn.
The union agreed to management's demand to make that card check agreement conditional on ratification of the UPS national contract, including the break-out of 44,000 Teamsters from the Central States Fund. That was management's central demand in national bargaining. As reported on the call, signing of cards cannot start until after the whole UPS contract process is done.
The UPS Freight contract will not be under the National Master Freight Agreement, or a supplement to it, but a white paper contract. Wages go up 65¢ immediately, and then 70-75-80-85-90¢ over the next five years (the wage increases are split in half each year, in January and July). It has company pension, apparently with no improvement, and company health benefits. A Teamster must pay $150 per month to get family health coverage. No change in sick days, personal days or vacations.
The company previously provided matching money for a 401(k), and that was given up in the contract. That and the co-pay for health insurance are two of the issues that a number of UPS Freight drivers have forcefully objected to on the internet forum truckingboards.com.
But they now get union protection: a grievance procedure (not the freight panels, a company-based procedure) and seniority rights.
Some in the Freight Division have expressed concern that relief given to UPS, the most profitable transport corporation in the world, will weaken our bargaining power with freight carriers which compete with UPS Freight. On the conference call, Hall appealed to them to hold their fire and "trust us."
Organizing by locals at UPS Freight terminals could start by the end of the year, if the UPS national contract and the pension fund break-out are approved. The "card check" deal has a three-year duration, so our union has that period to sign up the majority at as many terminals as possible. Many locals are eager to take a crack at bringing some of the 15,000 UPS Freight workers into the Teamster fold.
Attempted Decertification in Reno
A potential sour note in the organizing effort was struck a week earlier at the Reno Nevada UPS Freight terminal. This is one of a few UPS Freight terminals under Teamster contract; it was formerly Motor Cargo, a company bought by Overnite, which later became UPS Freight.
On Sept. 25 a vote was held to decertify the Teamsters and go nonunion. Fortunately the union won 32-31, but there are three challenged ballots to be resolved. Hopefully Local 533 will hold onto that Teamster unit.