I am a road driver. Some of the places we bed down are ridiculous. I wouldn’t make my dog lay in them. What rights do I have besides grieve and wait? When we find our own rooms, we get threatened with disciplinary actions. Under Article 49 in the contract, it says the company has to pay $40. Why can’t we get some relief?
- Ornery at the Road Rash Inn, Local 200, USF Holland, Milwaukee
Members are preparing to vote on a better offer from UPS that restores 30 & Out benefits to $3,600 a month-without key givebacks that were included in the first offer.
The Local 804 Executive Board unanimously endorsed the company's first offer which would have eliminated 25 & Out pensions for new hires and diverted 10 cents in members' wages to subsidize UPS's pension costs.
Money in Your Wallet
To sell the concessionary first offer, UPS and Local 804 officials threatened that if members did not ratify the deal then the Local 804 Pension Fund would maintain a 30 percent cut in pension accruals for years to come.
By voting No, members got UPS to put an offer on the table that raises the pension accrual to pre-cut levels, protects 25 & Out benefits, and puts the 10¢ back into members' wages.
Restoring the 10¢ wage diversion will put $1,500 in the pocket of every Local 804 full-timer over the life of the deal.
"I'm very proud that Local 804 members voted against the givebacks that the company and our own union tried to shove down our throats. We never should have been voting on that offer in the first place," said Jim Reynolds, an alternate steward and one of the leaders of the Local 804 Make UPS Deliver network.
"We didn't win the contract we deserve, but by standing united at least we got ourselves out of the hole our negotiators dug for us," Reynolds said.
The new contract offer also maintains a bonus for drivers-called "coffee pay" in New York. UPS automatically pays drivers an extra 15 minutes whenever they work more than 8½ hours. The company's first offer would have eliminated coffee pay for current part-timers who go driving -reducing their pay by nearly $2,000 a year.
Defending Our Legacy
Local 804 won 25 & Out long before most Teamster locals. It took a thirteen week strike to do it. Local 804 member Ed Dougherty was run over and killed on the picket line in the struggle to win that benefit. To this day, the Local 804 scholarship fund is named in Brother Dougherty's honor.
"We felt very strongly that our Executive Board did not have the right to negotiate away a benefit that a Teamster brother sacrificed his life to win," said Tim Sylvester, a shop steward and one of the leaders of the Vote No movement.
Local 804 is organizing a shop stewards' meeting and then preparing to send out ratification ballots with the goal of securing a new agreement before January 1.
"The Local 804 membership made ourselves heard. Whatever we got, we won by sticking together and voting No," said Bill Reynolds, a package car driver in the Suffolk building. "Make UPS Deliver was a big part of it. Ultimately it was up to the rank-and-file."
December 5, 2007: UPS Teamsters were not able to defeat givebacks this time. An analysis of voting results shows what it will take for us to succeed in the future.
UPS entered contract talks making record profits of more than $4 billion and under pressure from stockholders to settle the contract early.
Our chief negotiators James Hoffa and Ken Hall had the leverage to make UPS deliver. Instead, they gave the company the early deal it wanted—plus the biggest concessions in 25 years.
Concerned UPS Teamsters mobilized to Vote No. Although we were not able to defeat the contract, an analysis of the voting results shows what it will take for us to succeed in the future.
Informed Voters Challenged the Givebacks
The balloting results show that Teamsters can make a difference when we take coordinated action. In the locals where members mounted an organized campaign to distribute Make UPS Deliver information, the contract was challenged and sometimes defeated.
Members voted down the contract in many large UPS locals, including Kansas City, St. Louis, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Omaha, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Allentown, Harrisburg, Worcester, Syracuse, and Knoxville, among others.
In New York Local 804, the largest UPS local in the East, 7,000 Teamsters overwhelmingly rejected the contract by a three to one margin.
In locals where Make UPS Deliver materials weren’t distributed and members only heard the company and union sales job, the vote was a lopsided—with ten to one margins and worse.
The lopsided yes votes in locals where members heard only the IBT-UPS sales job helped to account for the overall 65 percent ratification margin.
Why the Contract Passed Nationally
The biggest obstacle to defeating the concessionary contract nationally was the sheer size of the Teamster-UPS sales job.
The company and the union reached every UPS Teamster with their Vote Yes campaign. Most UPS Teamsters received multiple mailings—including six separate mailings in the Central and Southern regions.
In contrast, our Vote No campaign relied on member-to-member communication. The fast track contract vote gave us limited time to expand our network.
The lesson is clear: working Teamsters at UPS can’t wait until there’s a crisis to get organized. If we want to stop future givebacks and enforce our contract, we need a bigger, stronger network of UPS stewards and members. And that means building a stronger TDU.
Hoffa-Hall Surrender on Central States Pension
The Hoffa administration’s miserable failure to defend Teamster pensions was another major factor in the contract vote.
First, Teamster pensions were cut in the Central States and elsewhere after Hoffa and Hall promised they would be protected by the 2002 contract.
Then our union failed to advance any positive plan for improving pensions without giving in to the UPS pension grab in the Central States.
With Hoffa and Hall offering no plan, no hope and no leadership, it is not surprising that the contract passed by a wide margin in the Central States areas.
Many Teamsters in other areas saw the givebacks in the contract as the price members had to pay to “solve” the Central States pension problem.
It’s hard for members to stand up against UPS’s concessions when our own leaders are lying down for the company.
The contract results showed the influence of local officials—and the need to organize for local union reform.
In a few key locals where local officers actively spoke out against the contract, they made a big difference, fueling the defeat of the supplements in Central and Western Pennsylvania—and nearly overturning the supplement in Northern California.
Unfortunately, the majority of local union officials and business agents showed that they would rather go along with Hoffa than make a stand for the members they are supposed to represent.
Many sent letters to their local union membership pushing a Yes vote—adding to the flood of mail and recorded calls from the International and the company. Many UPS Teamsters are already looking down the road to their next local union election.
With the contract approved in most parts of the country, UPS Teamsters are left with two choices: give up or get organized.
The company will continue to attack our pensions and benefits—and undermine the contract every chance they get.
It is up to concerned UPS stewards and members to inform our co-workers, enforce our contract, and hold our union leaders accountable.
That’s why Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) launched the Make UPS Deliver website.
We plan on keeping it going. But we want to do more than just share information in cyberspace.
TDU’s goal is to build a network that can link UPS stewards and members in every hub and building.
Be a part of making that happen. Join TDU today. Click here to join.
December 5, 2007: With the new 2008 contract, Hoffa and Hall gave back to UPS the key gains of our historic 1997 strike: strong Teamster pensions, 10,000 full-time jobs, and more. This happened in no small part because Hoffa and Hall gave up on the contract campaign strategy that made those gains possible.
In 1997, our International Union launched a year-long campaign that gave information and power to our members. Every UPS Teamster had a stake in our contract because we were fighting for members in every job classification: higher pensions, 10,000 full-time jobs, restrictions on subcontracting, and higher wages, including record increases for part-timers. United, we won on every one of these issues.
Hoffa and Hall abandoned this proven contract campaign model and replaced it with an information Brownout. Unifying demands were replaced with a givebacks that pit members against each other: part-time versus full-time, Central States versus others, current employees versus the next generation of UPS Teamsters.
When Hoffa and Hall finally unleashed our union’s power it wasn’t to take on the company, but to mount a historic sales job on the members. Fast-track balloting. PR mailings. Pre-recorded phone calls.
Instead of pressuring the company, Hoffa and Hall put the squeeze on the members: telling us that the contract had to be passed by January 1.
The International Union pulled out every stop to push through record concessions ten months before our contract even expired.
Hoffa and Hall got a majority to pass their concessionary deal. But unlike 1997, a new contract won’t mean a stronger union.
December 5, 2007: As freight talks resume on Dec. 5, the information blackout continues and rumors are flying high. Members are left wondering what our goals are.
Freight negotiations between the International Union and Yellow Roadway resume in early December, with attention shifting from the supplements to the master contract. The information blackout continues, leaving rumors flying high and members wondering what the bargaining goals are.
Negotiations with ABF are on a slow track, waiting for YRC to set the pattern. The Hoffa administration has taken negotiations with DHL out of the Freight Division, and given them to Brad Slawson, who is determined to give DHL concessions, including part-timers.
The supplemental negotiations reportedly have yielded mixed results. Some areas report progress. Others are more deadlocked.
UPS Freight Sets Low Bar
The UPS Freight contract signed by the International Union at one terminal in Indianapolis hangs like a cloud over the bargaining table, negotiators report.
It allows unlimited casuals, part-timers, a much cheaper pension commitment by the company, and requires Teamsters to pay $150 per month to get family health coverage.
YRC is looking to get “operational flexibility” such as the UPS Freight contract allows. One danger is that the “utility driver” rules given in the last contract for Premium Service will spread to cover the whole contract.
Negotiations for the national master officially opened in mid-November. Teamsters have plenty of improvements in mind to win in this round, including ending the low starting wage, winning a catch-up wage increase, and safeguarding all jobs in the event of a merger down the road of Yellow and Roadway.
It appears that YRC will accept the benefit pattern set by the UPS contract of a $1 per hour increase each year, 35¢ to H&W, and 65¢ to pension.
In the first year, Central States Health and Welfare gets an extra 20¢ of that dollar, and will partially restore retiree health benefits. In the UPS contract, retirees over 55 can get coverage for $200 per month or $400 per month for a retiree and spouse. This is far worse than the $50 charge we had in 2003, but some improvement. We expect this is what freight Teamsters will get as well.
Freight Teamsters have every right—and a Teamster duty—to hold our leaders accountable to win a strong contract, with overdue improvements.
The UPS Freight contract should not be an excuse for any concessions whatsoever—why should the tail wag the dog? If we win a good NMFA, we can use that pattern to apply at other UPS Freight terminals that get organized into our union.
December 5, 2007: Thousands of DHL Teamsters are facing a threat to their future jobs and our union’s strength, as their chief negotiator has stated his view that “part-timers will be in the contract” because “DHL is demanding them.”
The good news is that most DHL Teamsters are ready to say No to that concession, and No to concessions in general.
Expanding the use of part-timers—to destroy good full-time Teamster jobs and take away members’ overtime—should be a line no Teamster will cross.
Brad Slawson, Hoffa’s chief negotiator with DHL, made the bold admission that when the company demands, he goes along, on a Nov. 11 rank-and-file conference call.
DHL says it wants part-timers, just like UPS. Members on the call pointed out that comparisons with the UPS contract are off the mark—UPS Teamsters make $6 more per hour, and that gap is growing. Slawson had no comment in response.
Slawson is bargaining “operational supplements” on a national basis, where the good language of the National Master Freight Agreement can be watered down. This process makes the local and regional supplements almost irrelevant. Some supplemental negotiations have not even started—and how can they, with Slawson negotiating his own “supplements” and keeping members and local officers in the dark.
The answer is for DHL Teamsters to be prepared—and send that signal now—to reject any agreement containing concessions.
There are plenty of other issues on the table as well. One that needs to be dealt with is our loss of work due to the home delivery deal with the post office. This deal originally was made as a start-up, with the promise that as business grew, the delivery work would return to DHL. A committee was set up to monitor it, and a formula was agreed to for the recapture of our work. It never happened.
It’s time to end that deal and bring the work back to DHL Teamsters.
December 5, 2007: Billionaire investor Ron Burkle says he has an “exclusive” deal with the Teamsters for concessions at Interstate Bakeries.
But the billionaire investor and our top officials aren’t telling the details of their plans for a takeover of the bankrupt Teamster employer.
On Nov. 30, a federal bankruptcy judge denied IBC management’s request for the details of Burkle’s secret deal with the Teamsters.
Over 9,500 Teamsters make, deliver, and sell Hostess Twinkies, Wonder Bread, and other products for the bakery. The Teamsters agreed to concessions when the company first went into bankruptcy in 2004. Now the current management says it needs even more cuts.
The IBT announced in early November that Yucaipa, an investment firm led by Burkle, and Bimbo Bakeries, a bakery based in Mexico, are moving to take over IBC with the help of the Teamsters.
“We’ve got to watch the company, and we’ve got to watch Hoffa to make sure we don’t get stabbed in the back,” said Loretta Devasier, an IBC Teamster from Louisville Local 89.
Current IBC management wants to cut wages, force members to pay $20 a week for healthcare, and implement a “path to market” distribution system that could eliminate many Teamster jobs and change work rules.
Teamster Bakery Director Rich Volpe has admitted that Yucaipa will ask for concessions in the current Teamster contracts—but no one is saying what these cuts will be.
December 5, 2007: The removal of 44,000 UPS full-time Teamsters from Central States opens the door to lower pensions for all Teamsters down the road—not just in the Central States.
UPS is set to save billions of dollars with the deal.
Whatever your pension plan, members need to understand why UPS wanted this deal and what it means for you.
Lowest Pension in the U.S.
The new UPS plan that replaces Central States will pay members a lower pension than every other Teamster plan for UPSers—with current benefits of $3,000 a month for 30 and out.
That means nearly half of UPS’s full-time workforce will be getting a substandard pension.
Teamsters in the West, in Chicago Local 705, in Local 710 (Illinois and Indiana), in New England, Washington, D.C., New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Virginia and every other plan all get a better pension.
That alone tells you why management is so happy with the new contract.
But UPS got more than low pension benefits out of this deal. They also got a tool for capping pensions in other plans in the future.
No Set Contributions
The new UPS pension fund will save UPS billions on future pension contributions because the contract no longer requires the company to make specific hourly payments to this pension fund.
This is unlike every other pension plan for UPS Teamsters.
In every other pension fund, UPS will pay pension contributions of more than $10 per hour by the end of the contract. That’s $21,000 each year per employee into every other Teamster pension plan.
In the new UPS pension plan, UPS has no such obligation. Instead of making UPS pay an hourly contribution, the new contract only says that UPS must fund its plan as required by law, no more.
The law only requires that the company keep enough money in the fund to pay for the current benefit level. This means, over time, the company will pay far less for pensions in the new plan covering the Central and South—the lower the benefit, the greater the savings to the corporation.
Dragging Down Pensions
By the next contract in 2013, the benefit level in the new UPS plan will be the lowest in the country and have been frozen for 16 years—and the pressure will be on to raise pensions in the Central and South.
UPS may offer Central and Southern members a higher pension while putting the squeeze on every other fund. The new contract gives them a tool to do just that. Article 34 of the master agreements defines exactly what the benefit level is in the new UPS pension plan. Because that benefit level is not tied to any hourly contribution, UPS would be able to offer to raise the pension in the Central and South without increasing its hourly contributions in other areas by a dime.
In the new contract, UPS increased its pension contributions by $3.25 an hour. Expect them to offer less next time.
Without higher hourly pension contributions, Teamsters in every other pension fund cannot protect and increase their benefits.
Defending Our Pensions
UPS is already thinking about the next bargaining round and how they can control benefit costs by keeping a lid on hourly pension contributions.
We cannot allow that to happen.
Lower pension contributions would not just affect UPS Teamsters.
UPS sets the pattern for the benefits of hundreds of thousands of other Teamsters. It is highly likely that the freight contract covering 80,000 Teamsters will mirror the pension contribution just negotiated at UPS.
Our entire union suffered a loss when the International caved in to UPS’s pension grab in the Central States.
We now need to adjust to the new situation, and make sure the problem does not spread to other funds, or undermine our good Teamster pension benefits.
December 5, 2007: Against the advice of the International, UPS Teamsters in Pennsylvania voted to reject the national contract and the Central Pennsylvania and Western Pennsylvania supplements.
Their No Vote got UPS to put better offers on the table—which are being put to a vote now.
The improvements in the new offer are limited—and many members feel more could have been won.
After the contract, UPS and the International Union put on a full court press to settle the rejected supplements by Jan. 1. Within one week of the contract rejections, new ballots were in the mail to UPS Teamsters in Central and Western Pennsylvania.
“After we voted our supplement down, no meeting was ever held to ask members what we want. When we submitted proposals for changes, they were not even submitted to the negotiators,” said Jeff Fretz, a package car shop steward in Allentown Local 773.
“Our supplement is substandard and we were denied any voice in improving it. That’s what bugs me the most,” Fretz said.
Under the new offer in Central Pennsylvania: no part-timer will take a pay cut when they work as a cover driver; members will earn a third week of vacation after nine years instead of ten; and part-time start times must be posted weekly—among other minor improvements.
Teamsters in Western Pennsylvania won small changes that are designed to reduce the frequency of package car drivers involuntarily covering areas outside of their bid area—including language to expedite grievance hearings on this issue and the creation of fifteen new full-time package driver jobs.
Hoffa and Hall told UPS Teamsters that they had made the company put its best offer on the table ten months before our contract even expires.
But 15,000 UPS Teamsters in three supplemental areas proved them wrong. By demonstrating more backbone than our International Union leaders, they have all won improvements in just a couple weeks.
Think of what more could have been won if our union had been standing up for improvements instead of selling the company’s givebacks.
December 5, 2007: The national UPS contract may soon be settled if the rejected supplements gain approval after being improved. But nearly 20,000 UPSers work under local contracts that are independent of the national agreement—and far from settled.
UPS Teamsters throughout Indiana, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa are covered by the Local 705 contract (Chicago area) or the Local 710 contract (covering the rest of Illinois, much of Indiana, and Davenport).
Neither of these contracts is near settlement. Local 705 has not begun bargaining as Convoy goes to press. Many Chicago UPS Teamsters have made it clear they are not happy with the concessions in the national agreement—including no new full-time combo jobs, various two-tier concessions, and weak language on excessive overtime, supervisors working and other problems.
Their goal is to avoid these givebacks in their contract.
At recent Local 705 meetings, local leaders have reported that they are negotiating with UPS over major grievances, after threatening to strike over the company’s failure to comply with past grievance decisions and assignment of work outside the bargaining unit.
The local has passed out bulletins to UPS Teamsters notifying them of a potential strike and copy of the strike notice given to management.
Under the Local 705 contract, the union can strike if management fails to comply with grievance decisions.