AugustThe Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a new regulation effective August 25 that allows for “observed collections of urine samples.” Direct observation is required for all prior positives currently requiring testing and includes all return to duty and follow-up drug testing. This does not affect normal random testing.
The new regulation also lists new refusals to test in addition to those already existing. They include “confrontational behavior during testing,” “failure to follow instructions on raising and lowering clothing and permission to observe,” “refusal to wash hands after being directed to do so,” “use of a prosthetic device or other device that could be used to interfere with the collection process,” or “the employee admits that he or she adulterated or substituted their specimen.” A refusal to test is considered and treated the same as a positive test.
August 1, 2008: Less than two months after members ratified a concessionary contract that IBT officials touted as saving jobs, DHL has implemented layoffs, which could be permanent cuts.
Those with sufficient seniority are being offered the option to bid on part time positions, which the new contract allows.
It seems clear DHL got what they wanted from those negotiations.
August 1, 2008: A new report speculates that Anheuser-Busch management may seek an early contract before the InBev takeover even takes effect.
The Teamster contract covers 7,000 Teamsters at A-B, and it expires on March 1, 2009.
Talks on the new contract are scheduled for this August in Cincinnati.
A-B Teamsters are still reeling from the news that their company is being bought by Brazilian-Belgian brewing giant InBev.
The new company will be the largest brewing company in the world.
$1.5 Billion in Cuts
InBev CEO Carlos Brito has a reputation for brutal cost-cutting. The company has announced that they plan to shave A-B’s expenses by $1.5 billion by 2011.
Most of the early cuts will hit management and administration. The new owners have pledged they will not shut down any of A-B’s twelve North American breweries.
But unions in Belgium, Canada, and Brazil warn that InBev takes a tough approach at the bargaining table. Canadian brewery workers who work for Labatt found themselves under the gun thirteen years ago when InBev bought the Canadian brewer Labatt.
In response, they formed an alliance of unions, the Canadian Brewery Workers Alliance (CBWA). This was necessary to build unity and strength among the seven different unions at the seven Labatt breweries across Canada.
U.S. Teamster locals at Anheuser-Busch and the IBT have a good ally and information source on InBev in this alliance.
Talks in August
The InBev takeover will not go through before negotiations start, and our union will still be dealing with current A-B management.
A report in the St. Louis Beacon talked to several industry and labor experts who expect A-B to push for an early deal.
Some members hope that an early deal, before the takeover is completed, would keep InBev management out of talks. The Beacon report quotes other experts who expect InBev to play a big role at talks, even if it’s not at the table.
It’s up to the International to get members information about the union and company proposals. We need to be informed and united.
The International has launched a new website to keep members informed about the takeover, and they reached out to other brewery unions in other countries.
TDU will do its part to make sure that members get all the information they need to be involved and win a strong contract.
What do you think? Call TDU at (313) 842-2600 or send an email to info [at] tdu.org and share your comments.
August 12, 2008: TDU members and supporters have raised over $15,000 for the Teamster reform movement this year at house parties and get-togethers in Boston, New York, and Chicago.
More events are being planned now.
The fundraising events bring together Teamster members with other unionists, labor educators, community activists and other supporters of the Teamster reform movement.
“Our meeting was positive, upbeat—and a real success. We got together in a bar, ate good food, and shared our vision for the labor movement with other Teamsters, friends from other unions, labor lawyers, and teachers,” said Gary Brooks, a member of the TDU Steering Committee and Chicago Local 705, who helped organize the July 10 Chicago event. “We were building support and crossing boundaries with people who believe in the cause—fighting for working men and women.
“It was great to see how inspiring the work of TDU is to members in other parts of the labor movement.”
The Chicago event, our most recent fundraiser, took in over $4,000. Invitations to attend were signed by author Studs Terkel.
Funds from the events help support the Teamster Rank and File Education and Legal Defense Foundation (TRF), the educational and legal arm of the Teamster reform movement.
TDU members and friends are planning more local fundraisers in the coming months, starting with a California Bay Area get-together in September. If you’re interested in setting up an event in your area, call (313) 842-2600 or email info [at] tdu.org.
August 1, 2008: More than 80 Teamsters wear TDU T-shirts to work every Thursday at the UPS hub in Manhattan.
Our message? We are informed and united Teamsters working together to enforce our rights and rebuild union power.
There is a question being asked by the Local 804 rank and file at the 43rd Street Hub and the question is: “What happened to the local that we were once proud of?”
The recent giveback contract cemented our feelings on this question. My opinion is that Local 804 has become too much of a private club and members are not invited to join. Sure, our officials still handle grievances. However, I find it amusing when they win a grievance and then they obligate a member or members to take a photo with check in hand to show how magnanimous they are.
We once had a union that we were proud of, but let’s face it: the Hoffa crowd at Local 804, as well as in the International Union, has lost their moral compass.
That is why I decided to join Teamsters for a Democratic Union. This organization of proud Teamsters and union organizers has given us information and facts while those whom we have placed our trust in have not!
A Sea of Solidarity
I find it quite interesting that UPS management and local officials, who were recently touting how great our contract was, were once again united in fear and anger when they started seeing more than 80 rank-and-file Teamsters wearing 100% cotton pre-shrunk t-shirts at the 43rd Street Hub every Thursday.
Could it be the large TDU logo on the back of the shirts? You bet! And I wear it with pride.
I can understand why UPS management reacts when they see a sea of Teamsters uniting in solidarity. That is what UPS fears the most.
But why the negativity from our local officials? The slogan of the Local 804 Members United movement is: Informed and United Teamsters Building a Strong Local 804. Which part of that equation does our Executive Board have a problem with?
We are not “dividers,” nor are we “troublemakers.” We are proud and powerful rank-and-file Teamsters—men and women—who are uniting and working together to enforce our rights and rebuild our union’s power.
Our involvement is paying off. In the last eight months, we have voted down contract givebacks, beaten pension cuts, passed bylaws that require our Executive Board to give members real information about our benefit funds and during contract negotiations, and exposed the loss of $18 million in assets by our Local 804 Health Fund.
The power of our once proud union is on the decline. But it doesn’t have to be that way. At the 43rd Street hub, we are doing what we can to put the movement back in the labor movement.
By William Riley, UPS
Local 804, New York
Wear Your TDU Pride! To buy a TDU t-shirt, available in sizes S-4XL, click here.
August 11, 2008: In the ‘90s, TDU built a nationwide movement to get pension improvements.
Without TDU’s organizing efforts, those improvements would not have been possible. I’m proud to say I was a part of that movement.
Having a network of members in our area is vital. I got to know a lot of feeder drivers in every barn. I would get copies of flyers and Convoys to them, and in turn, they would pass them out.
I didn’t stop with UPS. I also knew a lot of freight drivers and expanded my reach through them, and also some of the white paper barns, too.
You definitely need a good network in any campaign. TDU did a great job of building them nationally and a lot of members did a good job getting the message out.
I find it very hard to believe that after the fight a lot of us members waged to win better contracts and pensions throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, the company and union are taking away what we earned, just like that.
Members should know just what TDU has won for them over the years. I hope that TDU will win back the IBT for the members—and for that to happen we will need a very strong network.
We’ve done it before, and we can do it again.
Local 391, UPS Retired
July 29, 2008: Bobby Hogan, the former secretary-treasurer of Chicago Local 714, has lashed out at IBT President James Hoffa.
Hogan has called out Hoffa for his “cowardly abdication of leadership, a betrayal of basic union democracy and of long-time supporters.”
In a July 17 letter, Hogan accuses Hoffa of becoming a tool of the Independent Review Board (IRB).
The letter is noteworthy because the Hogan family members have been major political supporters of Hoffa. Billy Hogan, Bobby’s father, was Hoffa’s original running mate in 1996 on the Hoffa-Hogan ticket. Hogan was later dropped from the slate when the IRB, the anti-corruption body which makes recommendations to the union, started investigating Hogan and Local 714.
Hogan also criticizes the IRB's filing of charges against Teamsters for having personal associations with former Teamsters who have been expelled from the union.
In June, Hoffa placed Local 714 in trusteeship, following a recommendation of the IRB to do so. Hoffa’s statement of reasons for the trusteeship included serious charges that the union was run for the benefit of the Hogan family.
Click here to see a copy of Hogan’s letter to Hoffa.
July 29, 2008: In the quote of the week, a CNBC host told viewers that UPS “pantsed” and “pummeled” the Teamsters in the new contract.
Here is what Jim Cramer, the host of Mad Money on CNBC, had to say:
“The company got a new labor agreement with the Teamsters, effective August 1, that will let UPS pay new drivers less than it does veterans. This is a classic example of a union hosing people who aren’t members yet, and one that could save UPS $640 million over the next five years.
“I cannot overemphasize the importance of this contract to UPS. Personally, of course, I love unions. But professionally, I love companies that have crushed unions. And UPS, you know what they just did? They pantsed the Teamsters! Jimmy Hoffa must be rolling over in his Giants Stadium grave!’”
Click here to watch the video of Cramer on Mad Money. Fast forward to the six-minute mark to hear Cramer go off on the givebacks negotiated by Jim Hoffa and Ken Hall.