Because Hoffa’s card check and neutrality agreement covered only one terminal and is now void, Zollars expects any contract that UPS Freight would accept will fall far short of the NMFA, and will not allow the employees into the Central States Teamster Pension Plan. Hence Zollars’ interest in using the deal as a precedent to gain concessions in the NMFA.
Yellow Roadway Wants Early Bargaining Too
“We’d be interested in doing that,’” Yellow Roadway’s CEO William Zollars told the Akron Beacon Journal on July 28, referring to opening early bargaining with the Teamsters to dodge any possible strike threat.
Yellow Roadway Corporation employs 50,000 Teamsters under the National Master Freight Agreement at Yellow, Roadway, Holland, New Penn, Bestway and Reddaway. Since the UPS and freight contracts do not expire for two years, the union has less bargaining power this far in advance. The Beacon Journal reported that is the reason that “UPS decided to move up the start of talks.”
Hoffa claims that he “forced UPS into early negotiations” but it is clear that the big Teamster employers are eager for the chance to bargain when the no-strike contract clause binds the union and decreases union leverage.
Yellow’s Zollars says he will approach the Teamsters about early bargaining, but no date is set yet.
October 18, 2006. On Aug. 31, UPS’s 2,775 pilots narrowly ratified an eight-year contract which will give them immediate raises of 18 to 26 percent. The contract was ratified with 56 percent voting yes. UPS pilots belong to the Independent Pilots Association. They were in the Teamsters but left in the 1980s to form the IPA.
UPS pilots got a 29 percent raise over the life of their last seven-year contract. For the new contract, the union set its sights on winning an industry-leading agreement, given UPS’s excellent financial position.
Many pilots hoped to match a contract for Ohio-based cargo carrier ABX Air. Senior pilots for that carrier are paid a rate of $239 per flying hour (UPS pilots were previously at $190 per hour) and pilots with similar seniority at FedEx are paid $201 per hour (before their new contract).
Prior to this new contract, UPS pilots made an average of $175,000 per year.
In July, Brian Gaudet, a spokesman for the International Pilots Association, said that UPS pilots were looking at ABX’s $239 hourly rate as a benchmark in their own negotiations.
“We’re looking at that $239 rate, and FedEx is looking at it and every other major cargo pilots union is looking at it,” Gaudet said.
The new contract includes signing bonuses—UPS captains will get a bonus of $60,000, first officers $40,000, and second officers $34,000.
October 18, 2006. The neutrality agreement with UPS Freight, announced by James Hoffa in dramatic fashion in Las Vegas this June is now officially over. UPS Freight spokesman Ira Rosenfeld emphasized to Traffic World that the Teamsters would be bargaining for “one location only” and that the neutrality deal is now void.
A “neutrality and card check” agreement with a company allows our union to organize without company opposition, and when a majority of workers join the Teamsters, the company agrees to bargain. Hoffa claimed that he had such a deal with UPS Freight (formerly Overnite), but it later was revealed that it covered only one terminal, with less than one percent of UPS Freight’s workers.
The International targeted UPS Freight in Indianapolis, quickly got a majority of cards signed, and will start negotiations with UPS Freight Indianapolis in September.
Bargaining with one terminal out of 200 with UPS will not be easy. When the Teamsters organized 37 Overnite terminals, Hoffa could not bargain a contract.
The neutrality and card check deal will revive only if the IBT wins it (along with an acceptable union contract that does not undercut our national UPS and freight contracts) in a signed agreement with UPS Freight in Indianapolis. UPS members have also raised the issue in contract proposal meetings that neutrality be won not only for UPS Freight, but all UPS nonunion operations.
UPSers Clear on Improvements Needed
October 18, 2006. UPS Teamsters are clear on the improvements we need to win in the next contract on issues like benefits, overtime, fairness for combo workers, part-time wages, and restrictions on subcontracting and supervisors working. What’s less clear is how early bargaining will give us the leverage we need to win these improvements.
Since the announcement, UPS has basked in glowing reports in the business press. Early bargaining, after all, means that the contract may not get anywhere near a real deadline that could make shippers antsy enough to pressure UPS to settle. It also means that the contract could be wrapped up before another critical time for management—the 100th anniversary next August. Bargaining is scheduled to open on Sept. 19.
“It would be terrible to settle before the anniversary year, when we have the potential to really disrupt things—if the members were involved,” says UPS part-timer Dawn Stanger in Vermont.
And while the IBT keeps busy with press releases, UPS management is getting supervisors into contract mode, preparing to swamp members with their take on issues and events.
A strong campaign is needed to counter management’s pressure, but so far that hasn’t happened. Recent contract proposal meetings were a case in point. Hoffa gave locals just two weeks notice for holding the proposal meetings in August, not exactly the best month for union meetings.
Turnout at contract meetings was lower than ever before. Some locals, like Local 384 in Philadelphia, didn’t even bother to hold meetings. Most went through the motions but failed to inspire confidence in UPS Teamsters.
“Some of the members came prepared with good ideas,” says Al Hildestad from Des Moines Local 90. “But a lot of people are skeptical whether any of the proposals will really get to the bargaining table.”
In spite of the skepticism, member opinions on issues are crystal clear. Benefits, overtime, part-time wages, subcontracting and supervisors working were raised as top issues.
“One thing is for sure,” Louisville Local 89 steward David Thornsberry said about the contract, “any UPS contract is going down in the vote if it does not make major improvements in the areas where we have gotten burned so badly by UPS and Hoffa.”
Victory Is Part of Trend towards Democracy in Rail
October 18, 2006. For the second time in three months, railroad engineers and conductors have scored a victory for the right to vote.
On Aug. 21, ballots were counted and the members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) voted to change their bylaws to require direct election of the top three national officers. The result was overwhelming, with 88 percent supporting the change.
Two months earlier, Teamster engineers and conductors in the United States also approved a system of one-member, one vote by a landslide. In 2005, delegates to the convention of the Maintenance of Way Division of the TCRC also changed their constitution to provide for direct elections.
Gerry Ranson of Division 320 in Vancouver first circulated the Canadian proposal in May. Within two months, divisions representing over 25 percent of the membership had passed resolutions endorsing it. Under the TCRC bylaws, this triggered a referendum where all members voted on whether to accept the change. Now it’s official; TCRC members get the right to vote.
“Having the right to vote was one of the big reasons we joined the Teamsters in the first place,” says Ranson. “Every Teamster power point presentation and flier talked about that. So we felt it made sense to have this same right with respect to our national officers.”
Additional Changes Sought
Delegates from divisions that supported this reform are also considering additional changes that could be made to the TCRC constitution this September. The one that may be dearest to many members’ hearts is a proposal to have direct elections at the General Committee level as well. A similar proposal was defeated by U.S. delegates at their convention in June. TCRC activists say that whether the delegates pass this reform or not, it is still the right thing to do.
“The General Chairmen are the ones who actually bargain our contracts, so we feel it’s extremely important to hold them directly accountable to the membership,” says Div. 320 member Craig Brown. “When they bargain our contracts they don’t say ‘look what we got,’ they say ‘look what we didn’t give away.’ That’s got to stop.”
TCRC delegates have the chance to hold these leaders accountable by supporting direct elections for General Chairs. If they fail to take that step, the membership may well mobilize for the change using another initiative to keep the trend rolling towards democracy.
In late 2003, Rome Aloise, secretary-treasurer of Local 853 and special assistant to James Hoffa, broke ranks with a bargaining coalition of unions to settle short with the newspaper. Aloise agreed to a seven-year agreement containing concessions, including the loss of Teamster jurisdiction for drivers outside city limits.
According to Anthony Price, president of Local 4-N, the worst thing Aloise did was to give up the right to strike: he agreed to a clause that requires Teamster drivers to cross picket lines of any union that doesn’t cave in to similar job-killing concessions.
“Since Aloise agreed to send members across picket lines, most of the other unions at the Chronicle have felt compelled to accept concessions,” says Price. “Now it’s only us and one other union still fighting to preserve industry standards.”
Employer Goes for Blood, Where Is Union Solidarity?
Enter Frank Vega, the notorious hatchet man who provoked and prolonged the Detroit Newspaper Strike in the late 1990s. Vega took over operations at the Chronicle in 2005 and has shown that he is not interested in bargaining, he is only interested in surrender.
Local 4-N has been fighting to keep bargaining alive since their contract expired in July, but the Chronicle has now declared impasse. 4-N members must vote on whether to accept their employer’s “last, best, and final” offer that would permit outsourcing, cut staffing to unsafe levels, and greatly weaken overtime standards by paying straight time for the first nine hours of a shift.
But it’s unclear what the options would be if the members reject the offer.
George Tedeschi, president of the Teamsters Graphic Communications Conference, has refused to grant strike sanction and has not even bothered to reply to two letters the local sent him requesting assistance. Aloise has bragged that he can use his status as general assistant to President Hoffa to make sure that the 4-N will never be allowed to put up a picket line. In a conference call with 4-N leaders, Aloise said that management had purchased bulletproof vests for Local 853 members just in case there was a strike.
“What an organizing tool,” said 43-year 4-N member Bruce Carlton. “You can join the Teamsters and you get a bulletproof vest to go through picket lines!”
In spite of the obstacles, 4-N members continue to resist the employer demands. In early August they held a large rally in front of the Chronicle building. Because the North American Newspaper Trades Conference was in town, fellow newspaper workers from across the continent turned out in support. But Tedeschi? He skipped the rally and instead used the opportunity to meet with Vega without any 4-N representatives present.
Aloise was a no-show and shortly thereafter Aloise issued a letter reminding Chronicle drivers that their jobs were on the line if they were to show “blind support” for a 4-N picket line. “I will make my feelings known informing you as to whether or not the situation deserves your support,” he told them.
Big Implications in Newspaper Trades
Jim Holtyn, a retired officer from Local 23-N at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, says the employers are pushing hard all across the country to eliminate jobs. “In the past, many newspaper unions bargained a lifetime job guarantee at the company. But now that promise is being completely forgotten. The companies say ‘It’s nice that you pushed 1,500 pound rolls and lifted lead plates for all those years, but we don’t need you any more.’”
Without coordinated strategies, there is nothing to stop Vega and other union busters from continuing their strategy of divide and conquer. As long as the International allows Aloise and others to settle out from under other Teamsters, the union busters will gain ground.
But Holtyn believes the merger of his union into the Teamsters presents an opportunity to wage a powerful fight against the newspaper giants. He says the GCC model of an informed and militant membership can be an example of how to fight on the shop floor; and he believes that the International Teamsters have the resources and ability to mount nationwide corporate campaigns that the newspaper trades have rarely seen. What is needed is the will to make it happen.
Ø Amount collected in new money from the July 2002 dues hike in four years: $638 million
Ø Amount of that money spent on organizing by the International Union per year: $14 million
Ø Percentage increase in the International Union's income because of the dues hike (most of the dues hike went to the International): 75% increase
Ø Percentage increase in amount paid by International for multiple salaries to officials: 764% increase in pay to multiple salaries
Ø Amount of dues money saved if top officials accepted $150,000, and multiple salaries paid to International appointees were eliminated: $8.7 million per year
Ø Number of new Teamster organizers that would pay: 124 new organizers
Ø Net loss of Teamster members since Hoffa took office, not counting mergers: 150,000 members lost
Ø Number of multiple salaries paid by the International in 1998, just prior to Hoffa taking office: 16
Ø Number of multiple salaries paid by the International Union in 2005: 164
Ø Amount that the International paid in multiple salaries in 2005: $8.4 million
Ø Amount of Teamster dues paid to Hoffa consultants Richard Leebove and Greg Tarpinian in 2005: $773,000
Ø Days that Tarpinian and Leebove ever worked as Teamsters: 0
Ø Amount that International Vice President Chuck Mack, his brother Steve Mack, and brother-in-law Rome Aloise received in multiple union salaries in 2005: $618,444
Ø Amount that Rome Aloise was caught by the Election Supervisor in August laundering from dues money into the Hoffa-Mack campaign: $15,720
Ø Amount of the daily International staff meal allowance, after it was raised in June: $100/day
Ø Number of Big Macs that daily meal allowance will buy: 37
Click here for the 2006 $100,000 Club
Click here for Bloated Salaries Again on the Rise
Click here for How the $100,000 Club and TDU Have Changed Teamster History
TDU, Members Beat Dues Waste, Build Power
October 18, 2006. TDU began publishing the “$100,000 Club” 27 years ago. Armed with this information, and the Right to Vote, Teamsters have demanded financial reforms and won them.
In 1987, Teamster President Jackie presser bagged $609,984 in multiple salaries. In today’s dollars (adjusted for inflation), that would be over $1 million. International Vice President Arnie Weinmeister made $443,612 that year. Others, like Weldon Mathis, took home $305,914. They used union-owned jets to go to golf resorts.
In 1989, Teamsters won the Right to Vote after TDU’s plan was adopted as part of the consent order to settle the racketeering suit against top Teamster leaders. Thanks to TDU, Teamsters had a tool for holding top Teamster officers accountable for their outrageous dues waste. That changed everything. Incumbents like Mathis and Weinmeister were forced to drop out of the race for International Office. Members were not going to elect those millionaires.
The incumbent slate, in an attempt to win the election, even adopted part of TDU’s platform! At the 1991 IBT Convention, they capped the General President’s salary at $225,000 plus an unlimited cost of living clause. No International officer or rep is allowed to use multiple salaries to make more than the General President.
Fat cats Were On the Run.
TDU’s platform was gaining ground. Then it took a leap forward.
In December 1991, Ron Carey won the General President position and took decisive action to change the fat cat life style. The union limo and jet planes were sold. He lowered his own salary to $150,000 and began to phase out multiple salaries. TDU continued to publish the $100,000 Club and press for more reforms.
In 1993, Ron Carey abolished the “Area Conferences” which were a useless layer of bureaucracy. In one day, 65 multiple salaries were eliminated, and millions of dues dollars returned to local unions.
By 1996, even James Hoffa had to support TDU’s financial reforms—at least in his campaign platform. Hoffa promised to “cut n cap” with no International officer allowed to make over $150,000 by using multiple salaries.
When Hoffa won office in late 1998, he abandoned the platform. He raised his own salary, brought back multiple salaries, and pays himself and Tom Keegel a lucrative “housing allowance” to pad their income more.
Despite the setbacks and renewed waste under Hoffa, TDU’s hard-won reforms still have staying power.
Look at the $150,000 Club today. No one is bagging the kind of money they used to get – the members just won’t tolerate it. Our union is more democratic, thanks to the Right to Vote and the fact that TDU is there to get the facts out.
The result is less financial waste and more money for strike benefits and organizing. Can we do better? You bet. But where would our Teamsters Union be without TDU and the $100,000 Club?
Click here for the 2006 $100,000 Club
Click here for Teamster Spending by the Numbers
Click here for Bloated Salaries Again on the Rise
After Reformers Curbed the Worst Excesses...
October 18, 2006. Reform Teamsters, spearheaded by TDU, have succeeded in directing members’ dues money away from fat-cat salaries and into programs that build union power.
But millions of dollars in members’ dues are still wasted every year on bloated salaries and a patronage scheme of multiple salaries that the Hoffa administration pays to buy political loyalty.
Those are the findings of this year’s analysis of Teamster financial reports by the Teamster Rank and File Education and Legal Defense Foundation. For 27 years, TDU has published these findings in our annual $100,000 Club.
TDU publishes the facts. No sugar-coating and no partisanship: we publish the name of every Teamster official who makes over the limit, regardless of whether they are a friend or foe of TDU, committed Teamster or do-nothing fat-cat.
As a direct result of TDU’s work to cut dues waste and cap outrageous salaries, millions of dues dollars have been saved. Last year, Hoffa’s total compensation was $297,772. At one time, the Teamster General President’s multiple salaries, adjusted for inflation, added up to more than $1 million. (To find out who that president was, see page 7.)
While the salaries of our union’s fat-cats have fallen, 78 Teamster officials still make more than $150,000 a year, and 24 make more than $200,000 a year. Nineteen people on the Hoffa Slate are already in the $150,000 Club and 13 have salaries over $200,000.
Hoffa Buying Votes With Your Dues?
This year’s $100,000 Club raises serious questions about whether Hoffa is using members’ dues to try to buy this fall’s election.
Last year, your dues paid $773,000 to two political consultants, Greg Tarpinian and Richard Leebove, both key Hoffa Campaign consultants.
Hoffa doled out an incredible $8.4 million last year to 164 Teamster officials who already earn at least one other union salary. Multiple salaries have skyrocketed by 764 percent since Hoffa took office. These salaries function as a patronage system to officers who are expected to turn out the vote for Hoffa in return.
Mobilizing for Change
For three decades, TDU has pushed for financial reforms to cut dues waste and build union power. How has the $100,000 Club changed our Teamsters Union? What progress has been made? What remains to be done?
Click here for the complete $150,000 and $100,000 Club listings. (adobe acrobat required)
Click here for Teamster Spending by the Numbers
Click here for How the $100K Club and TDU Have Changed Teamster History
October 18, 2006: For years the Central Pennsylvania Teamsters Fund was plagued with questionable administration and benefits inferior to many other Teamster Funds.
Fed up with this state of affairs, members formed the Central PA Reform Committee.
In 2002, three members filed a lawsuit against the fund. Initially they did the legal work on their own, but then attracted experienced pension attorney Ann Curry Thompson, who enlisted Alan Sandals, another experienced pension litigator, to serve as co-counsel with her to help the plaintiffs carry the case forward.
The suit cited breaches in fiduciary duty on the part of fund trustees and managers. Although fiduciary breach suits are difficult, the committee and their legal counsel poured through thousands of documents in order to build a strong case.
In 2005, the fund and its insurance carrier agreed to enter into settlement talks. In March 2006, both sides reached agreement on measures that will bring greater oversight and accountability to the fund. Additionally, a monetary settlement was reached for $1.75 million
Approximately $280,000 of the settlement was reserved to fund a comprehensive review of fund operations and investment management over the next four years by an outside consultant, Independent Fiduciary Services. The balance after fees and costs was restored directly to the Central PA Fund.
The agreement includes accountability measures that Teamsters in other funds have long argued for.
The comprehensive independent studies that will review all aspects of the fund’s performance will be made available to plan participants, as will any responses from the trustees.
The fund will also have to make detailed information publice that funds normally hide from participants, including:
- The annual actuarial valuations for the plan and any amendments or revisions.
- Actuarial reports relating to plan amendments.
- Quarterly reports on the fund’s investment performance from 2006 and into the future.
- Summaries of formal actions taken by trustees.
“Before, fund decisions and their impact were kept hidden,” said Drake Saxton, one of the plaintiffs. “This giant spotlight shining on the fund will provide the pressure needed to maintain policies that will protect and improve member benefits.”
Teamsters in other areas would like to see the same level of transparency from their funds. So far, Hoffa and fund trustees have opposed greater accountability.