November 14, 2008: Employers are looking to trim costs and cut Teamster jobs in 2009.
Our union needs an action plan to protect our job security.
In 2008, Teamster employers got the Hoffa administration to agree to record concessions. The same employers are gearing up to cut Teamster jobs in 2009.
Yellow Roadway Corporation is consolidating its operations in a move that will eliminate thousands of Teamster jobs.
UPS has announced plans to “right-size” in 2009.
With the economy slowing down, our union needs an action plan to protect Teamster jobs.
Drawing the Line at UPS
Wall Street’s hangover and the economic slowdown have even hit UPS, where profits fell by 4.4 percent in the third quarter.
UPS still made $1.6 billion in after-tax profits for the quarter. Not too shabby. But that hasn’t stopped UPS from slashing full-time Teamster jobs—in a clear violation of the contract.
Our Teamster contract requires UPS to maintain 20,000 full-time “combo” jobs—full-time jobs that are created by combining two part-time jobs.
These are the jobs that our union won in the historic 1997 UPS strike.
But UPS is thousands of jobs short of the 20,000 full-time combo jobs required by the contract. And every day management is eliminating more of these jobs.
President Hoffa has bragged that our union has a “Hammer” to stop employers in egregious cases like this: the Right To Strike on deadlocked grievances.
No one needs a strike, especially before the holidays (including UPS). What we do need is to send a clear message to every Teamster employer that our union is serious about protecting members’ jobs.
Is it time to remind management that we’ve got the Hammer?
Forward in 2009
In tough times like these we need to defend our jobs and contracts. And we also need to look at where we can go on the offensive.
With a new President and Congress, the labor movement is going all out to win passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for workers to form a union.
Teamsters need to be in the front lines of this fight. And we need to hit the pavement in drives to organize the nonunion competition. That’s the best job security program of all.
November 14, 2008: Oak Harbor Freight is refusing to bargain in good faith.
Striking Teamsters are turning up the heat and making the company pay.
Over 600 drivers in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho have been on strike since Sept. 22 over unfair labor practices at the regional freight carrier.
Company revenue is down 35 percent since the beginning of the strike—and they have temporarily lost half their customers.
Striking drivers have sent roving pickets to follow Oak Harbor deliveries and picket their deliveries, and sympathetic Teamsters have honored their picket lines.
The union is also reaching out to community and student groups. Last month, strikers and United Students Against Sweatshops dropped a giant banner outside of The GAP’s corporate headquarters—one of Oak Harbor’s biggest customers.Oak Harbor Teamsters haven’t had a contract since October 2007.
Management continues bargaining in bad faith, refusing to respond to union proposals, and demanding the elimination of retiree healthcare coverage.
Teamster officials met with management on Nov. 7. But according to reports, the company rejected most of the union proposals and didn’t offer any counter-proposals.
The National Labor Relations Board is considering declaring the strike an unfair labor practice strike, which would prevent the company from permanently replacing strikers.
Take action. Click here to send a message to The GAP, Oak Harbor’s biggest customer.
November 14, 2008: Our union needs to protect Teamster jobs and seniority as Yellow and Roadway merge their operations.
In November, Yellow Roadway is merging about 60 city terminals, after the Teamster Change of Operations Committee approved the move on Nov. 11.
Now the two big changes, that will impact some 35,000 Teamsters, will soon follow.
Two More Phases
In December, YRC will submit its proposed change for the next phase, which will be the merger of almost all pick-up and delivery operations. Management wants to implement that change in January.
Then will come the final step, a proposed change that will merge the break bulks and road network. This is bound to be the most problematic, for the company and for the affected Teamsters. YRC wants implementation by March.
The first change established the rule that the dovetailed lists will include active and laid off Teamsters: the full seniority lists will be dovetailed, by classification of work.
The union leadership has been fully supportive of YRC’s merger and moves to trim costs, including the loss of some 4,000 Teamster jobs that YRC hopes to eliminate in the merger.
Now it is time for our union to carefully review the upcoming company proposals to protect Teamster jobs and seniority rights in the biggest trucking merger in history.
Needed: Strong Leadership
We all want to save good Teamster freight jobs and to see YRC prosper.
But YRC is going to look out for management’s interest. We need our union leadership to protect our jobs, seniority, and working conditions in these tough times.
Chuck Deaver, Yellow Local 174, Seattle
November 14, 2008: USF Holland got away with a contract change when the Teamster change of operations committee gave the green light to the company requiring road drivers to perform drop-and-hooks while yard personnel are on duty.
This provision was inserted into their Utility Change of Operations proposal, expanding the use of utility employees.
At 17 designated “Velocity Centers,” the company can now have road drivers cross-dock freight and use road drivers to do yard work, even while yard switchers are on duty.
Harrisburg Local 776, which includes one of the 17 terminals, objected to that part of the deal, because it violates their contract. It was approved over their objection.
Click here to read the USF Holland Change of Operations.
November 14, 2008: The worsening recession has claimed more victims, as the European transport giant DHL announced Nov. 10 that they are ending all domestic U.S. ground and air shipping. After January DHL will only pick up and deliver international shipments.
An estimated 80 percent of DHL Teamsters will lose their jobs. Many terminals already have 50 percent laid off. Hopefully UPS will pick up most of the DHL freight, rather than nonunion FedEx. But UPS has no obligation to hire the displaced DHL Teamsters.
The International Union is expected to meet with management in mid-November over the massive shutdown. The International Union gave DHL low-wage part-timers in the 2008 contract to help the company become profitable.
The pull-out from the U.S. domestic market is devastating to the Wilmington, Ohio, area, where DHL employs 7,000 people at its U.S. hub. That hub was built in 2005 with the help of $400 million in state and local incentives.
November 14, 2008: Mary Seumaala went on strike in 1997 to win a full-time job at UPS. Now UPS has taken her full-time job away.
It’s time to make UPS deliver for thousands of Teamsters who are being denied full-time jobs in violation of the contract.
Until recently, Mary Seumaala was working full-time at Boeing Field in Seattle. Today, this 18-year Teamster is working four hours or less a day.
With her son in the hospital, Mary was moved to an inferior company medical plan for part-timers.
And Mary is not alone. UPS has laid off forty Article 22.3 Teamsters in Seattle—and hundreds more across the country. In all, UPS is short-changing thousands of Teamsters out of full-time jobs.
Under the contract, UPS is required to maintain a minimum of 20,000 Article 22.3 full-time jobs nationwide. But many of these jobs were never created. Other positions were never posted or filled after they went vacant.
This nationwide contract violation requires a nationally coordinated response. Instead the many grievances that have been filed on this issue are being treated on a case by case basis—and getting bogged down in grievance panels.
As usual the company is using the grievance procedure to stall and delay—rather than resolve the problem.
Hoffa Has the Hammer to Nail Down Full-Time Jobs
Fortunately our International Union has a major weapon that can break through company stonewalling and make UPS deliver the 20,000 full-time jobs guaranteed by our contract.
In the Central Region, the union has the right to strike over deadlocked grievances. When a grievance in the Central Region is deadlocked, the union has the right to strike—and to extend picket lines across the country. (Article 5, Section 3 of the Central Region Supplement.)
President Hoffa has rightly said that the right to strike on grievances gives our union a “Hammer” when the company is violating the contract and deadlocking grievances to avoid resolving the problem. That is exactly what is happening now.
Earlier this year, Chicago Local 705 invoked a similar right in its contract—and put the company on a 72-hour strike notice. UPS immediately came to the table and agreed to create 200 package car jobs and curb future violations of supervisors working.
No strike was necessary. What mattered was that the company knew that Local 705 was prepared to take strike action if necessary. With thousands of Teamsters being denied full-time jobs, our International Union needs to send UPS the same message.
None of us wants to strike. Fortunately, it is extremely doubtful that strike action would be necessary. UPS is not going to provoke a strike at peak season. But management will continue to drag their feet on grievances and deny thousands of Teamsters full-time work—if our union lets them get away with it.
Deliver Justice for the Holidays
UPS is not just refusing to create full-time jobs; they are rubbing the issue in our union’s face.
Under the contract, the company had until February 2008 to give the International Union a complete list of the 20,000 Article 22.3 full-time jobs. It is almost 2009 and the list that UPS has given to the Package Division is incomplete and includes many full-time jobs that do not exist.
Meanwhile the company is laying off long-time Article 22.3 full-timers and forcing them back to part-time. Under the contract, UPS is prohibited from laying off combo Teamsters unless the company is maintaining 20,000 Article 22.3 full-time jobs nationally.
The holidays are here. A recession is on. And our union’s largest employer is denying full-time job opportunities to thousands of Teamsters who have a contractual right to a full-time job.
It’s time to remind top UPS management that we’ve got the hammer and we’re ready to use it.
I Need a Full-Time Job
“I’m a single mom with five kids. I need a full-time job.
“Under the contract, UPS has to maintain 20,000 full-time Article 22.3 jobs and they’re not doing it. In my hub alone, there are dozens of vacant full-time jobs that UPS refuses to fill.
“All we want is for the company to live up to the contract and create the full-time jobs we’re entitled to.
“UPS treats this like a game. But this is no game. These are our lives we’re talking about.”
Nicole Halliday, Local 150, Sacramento
November 28, 2008: Under the contract UPS had to give the International a list of the 20,000 Article 22.3 jobs the company claims it will maintain.
Our local union got a copy of that list from the IBT Package Division. My Steward Alternate and I found 11 jobs on the list that exist only on paper. That list includes workers that have moved to package car or feeder jobs. That list even includes workers that have quit or been fired.
These 11 jobs are in my work area alone. I expect that other stewards will identify another dozen or more unfilled Article 22.3 jobs in other shifts and buildings. These are full-time jobs that belong to working Teamsters.
Some of these full-time jobs have been vacant for more than a year. During the same period, UPS has double shifted about 30 part-time workers to help cover the vacant jobs.
UPS Teamsters across the country should be asking our locals to contact the International Union and get the list of full-time Article 22.3 jobs the company claims it has created in your area so we can document all the missing jobs.
We’ve got to push our locals and the International Union to make UPS deliver every one of the 20,000 full-time jobs we are owed under the contract.
Sam Bucalo, Elected Steward Local 100, Cincinnati
November 14, 2008: Enforcing our 9.5 protections against excessive overtime can save Teamster jobs in a recession.
UPS made after-tax profits of $1.6 billion in the third quarter. Brown is still the nation’s largest transportation company and still incredibly profitable, thanks to hard-working Teamsters.
But with the economy slowing down, UPS is looking to cut jobs and squeeze us even more.
After reporting a drop in volume for the third quarter, UPS’s Chief Financial Officer Kurt Kuehn told investor analysts, “We’re working hard to right-size our network for 2009.”
That’s corporate-speak for reducing jobs.
It’s happening already. UPS is cutting routes in some areas and forcing package car drivers to work unwanted excessive overtime.
Jobs on the Line
We don’t have the power to tell the UPS how to run its business. But we do have the right to hold the company to the contract.
Enforcing our 9.5 protections against excessive overtime is not just a matter of saving drivers’ sanity and family lives. In a recession, it’s a matter of saving members’ jobs.
Winning excessive overtime/9.5 grievances has become a major problem under the new contract. While some 9.5 grievances are being paid, the company is deadlocking many more at the grievance panels.
UPS is claiming all kinds of exceptions that were not bargained in the contract. Management says that “high mileage” and “high density” routes are exempt from Article 37 and that drivers on those routes cannot file 9.5 grievances.
In some areas, the company has tried to argue that they will only pay excessive overtime grievances on a small percentage of routes.
UPS’s goal in deadlocking grievances is to try to leverage new restrictions out of the 9.5 Committee—a joint company-union committee created by the contract that has the power to make new rules governing excessive overtime.
The 9.5 Committee met in San Diego at the national grievance panel. But nothing was resolved.
That suits the company just fine. By deadlocking and stalling, management has successfully bought time while they violate the contract. Now we’re in the November/December period when the 9.5 language does not apply.
New opt-in/opt-out lists are supposed to be posted for January when the issue of excessive overtime becomes even more serious. CEO Scott Davis told investor analysts that the company expects lower-than-usual volume next year.
In 2009, our union needs to be more effective holding the company to the 9.5 language they agreed to in the contract. Or drivers will be forced to work excessive overtime, while other drivers are laid off.
Coordinated rank-and-file action, including grievances, can protect Teamster jobs. A recent example from Local 804 in New York shows how.
UPS reduced the route of a senior package car Teamster and shifted his work to other drivers. On some days, the 18-year senior driver was forced to work as a cover driver.
“Drivers got together and agreed to file 9.5 grievances if we were forced to work excessive overtime because packages were diverted to our trucks. If a driver was swamped with overflow packages, other drivers didn’t volunteer to help out. If supervisors shuttled packages or made deliveries, we filed grievances on that,” said shop steward Liam Russertt.
As a result, management restored the driver’s route. By working together and filing 9.5 grievances, Teamster drivers can reduce layoffs and save Teamster jobs in 2009. But we need the backing of the International Union at the grievance panels.
If the International Union continues to let UPS stonewall 9.5 grievances, the price paid by working Teamsters won’t just be more hours in the truck. It will be more layoffs.
November 14, 2008: In its new contract with UPS, Chicago Local 705 won an additional optional day. Teamsters with more than 30 years also won an additional vacation week.
After giving some drivers the extra optional day, management tried to claim it had made an error and that drivers wouldn’t get the additional day until 2009.
Local 705 stood firm and the company backed down. Thousands of UPS Teamsters in Chicago are now enjoying extra time off this year.
November 14, 2008: UPS profits remain incredibly high—$1.6 billion in the third quarter—but volume is down. Ground package volume is down just 2.8 percent compared to the same quarter last year. Next Day Air volume in the third quarter fell by 9.8 percent.
Management is using the drop in Next Day Air volume as an excuse for eliminating Article 22.3 full-time jobs. Many of the positions that have been eliminated involve the air operation. But the company doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
The company tried to use the “loss of volume” argument to weasel out of creating full-time Article 22.3 jobs after the 1997 strike. Our union won that issue at arbitration and UPS not only had to create the jobs, they had to pay backpay too.
At that time, film director Michael Moore sent a debt collector to UPS to collect the full-time jobs on behalf of working Teamsters. Watch the video from The Awful Truth at www.makeUPSdeliver.org