November 4, 2004: I am a long-time Menlo/Emery Teamster, and on first hearing of the UPS purchase of our company I thought about the potential positive aspects. The prospect of UPS management possibly being able to make the company grow is reason for celebration.
But on reflection, what will the relationship be?
On one hand, some of the hard times experienced by Menlo Teamsters could actually be an opportunity for the IBT. Many locations, including the Dayton hub, are non-union and could be ripe organizing targets. On the other hand, UPS has purchased a company that has downsized and also subcontracted to non-union labor in many areas.
For example, at one time Purolator (later bought by Emery, which then became Menlo) employed over a hundred drivers in Milwaukee. After management’s consistent efforts to shrink to profitability over the last decade, Menlo Worldwide Forwarding now employs 14 drivers for the Milwaukee area.
At least some of the following questions on behalf of Menlo and UPS Teamsters need to be answered, and soon:
- Menlo Worldwide is coming in as part of UPS Supply Chain Solutions, which is a non-union arm of UPS. We have been assured that they will honor current contracts, which is good, but what work will we be doing? Supply Chain Solutions and Fritz, which UPS bought not long ago, already use non-union subcontractors to move a large amount of air freight. Do they intend to give that work to us?
- Does UPS plan to honor its current contract in the parcel division by bringing us into it? Menlo picks up freight at many of the UPS high-volume accounts. Will there be an effort to combine the work from the UPS side, or from the Supply Chain side? If from the Supply Chain side, will this amount to double breasting like our old friends at CF/CNF? Would Supply Chain subcontractors or Menlo union drivers be assigned to pick up (for instance) pallets of parcels to be delivered to UPS terminals, in addition to the heavy freight?
- Is there any aggressive counter strategy to prevent a repeat of the CF/CNF debacle? The parent company of CF bled it dry over the years and diverted work and resources to its non-union Con-Way division. UPS has growing non-union divisions, like UPS Logistics.
Menlo and UPS employees would like to hear answers to these and other questions. What about it IBT? Meanwhile, we need to build the rank and file network and TDU among Menlo Teamsters, to be prepared for whatever is ahead.
Local 344, Menlo