December 4, 2009: UPS Freight drivers and dockworkers had high hopes when they signed on with the Teamsters. Now, a couple years later, they’re looking at what needs to be improved.
UPS Freight Teamsters got a national contract, and some grievances have been won. But in key areas like subcontracting and written work rules, grievances have been filed but little progress has been made. The company is having its way, something that the UPS corporation is good at.
“A big issue at the South Holland terminal is the amount of subcontracting going on,” commented Rick La Fever, a road driver out of Chicago Local 710. “The company has cut so many runs, giving the work to Covenant, Bison and Transport America. We could probably add 6-12 bids between Chicago and Minneapolis if we could get rid of the subcontracting.”
“I hear it’s going on other places so this is a serious problem. I know there are grievances filed but they’re bogged down in the process. So the company gets its way while good Teamsters are on layoff”
Subcontracting of union work destroys jobs and weakens our union. But the IBT seems asleep at the wheel.
Other UPS Freight Teamsters report work rules are an issue. The contract states that within 60 days of ratification, the company and the union were supposed to establish a Joint Committee to document agreed upon work rules and practices in existence at the terminals. Any disputes were to be referred to the chairs of the company and union negotiating committees. It’s been nearly two years and no language is in place.
Management wants rules by region. Members and their stewards want work rules by terminal. Local officers say any decision on a procedure for establishing work rules needs to be resolved nationally. Ken Hall, the union chair of the committee, has said nothing.
In fact, the International Union has had little to say about UPS Freight since the ratification of the contract.
“The IBT made a lot of noise about bringing us into the union,” said La Fever, “but they haven’t shown much fire power in standing up for us. I’m a second generation Teamster so I know our union is more than the officers. It will take the membership getting organized in the terminals if we’re going to make UPS Freight live up to the contract and get what we deserve.”
If you’re a UPS Freight Teamster that has more to say about these issues or others facing your co-workers and our union, contact TDU: www.tdu.org or 313 842-2600.