September 25, 2014: Despite growing volume, UPS has shrunk the Teamster workforce.
When the recession hit in 2008, UPS went lean and mean. They reduced hiring, implemented new technology, increased harassment, and eliminated full-time jobs.
Management’s goal was to boost profits by squeezing more work from fewer workers. They’ve succeeded.
Last year, UPS Teamsters delivered 1.4 million more packages every day compared to 2009. And we did it, with one thousand fewer UPS Teamsters on the payroll, according to the company’s own annual reports.
A review of Teamster pension fund data shows the biggest shrinkage came in full-time jobs. Package drivers weren’t replaced when they retired; full-time 22.3 jobs were eliminated altogether.
UPS Teamsters filed hundreds of grievances on 22.3 job elimination, but the Hoffa administration refused to enforce the contract.
“Frankly, it’s not the right time,” to enforce Article 22.3 Package Division Director Ken Hall said. “Even though we think we’re right, we don’t want to roll the dice with an arbitrator.”
UPS management got the message. From 2009 to 2011, UPS shed 9,000 Teamsters from the payroll. Ground volume grew by 3 percent during the same period.
The wheels finally came off the truck at peak last year. Understaffed and underprepared management suffered a very public meltdown.
That debacle and growing pressure from Amazon and other e-commerce customers is finally making UPS do what Hoffa and Hall would not: create more full-time jobs.
After years of little to no hiring, members are moving into the package and feeder ranks.
Hall tried to take credit for the hiring in a press release, saying that UPS made the move “in the face of strong Teamster enforcement of the new National Master UPS Agreement.” Yeah, right.
If Hall is really in the mood for “strong, contract enforcement,” maybe he will finally require UPS to turn over a report of all 20,000 fulltime 22.3 jobs the company owes under the contract—and share that information with every local union.
UPS is required to maintain over 20,000 full-time 22.3 jobs nationally. Without that report, members have no way of knowing how many of the 22.3 jobs have been created and no way of enforcing the contract.
To gear up for peak, UPS is hiring a record 95,000 seasonal employees.
In an unusual move, Teamster retirees have been given the green light by the IBT-UPS Pension Fund, the New England Pension Fund, the Local 688 Pension Fund and others to come back to work as seasonal feeder drivers while collecting pension benefits at the same time.
UPS will be ready for peak. They can’t afford another rerun of last year. But what comes next?
Under Hoffa and Hall, UPS is delivering more packages with less Teamsters—and fewer full-time jobs. It’s time for a u-turn.