March 2, 2009: UPS continues to haul in substantial profits despite the worst economy in 70 years.
Brown made $829 million from October to December 2008, according to fourth quarter financial numbers released by the company. Revenue went up 3.6 percent in 2008 to $51.5 billion. For the full year, UPS made an operating profit of $5.4 billion and after-tax profits of $3 billion.
The U.S. package operation alone made an operating profit of $932 million in the fourth quarter. International package made $366 million in profit. UPS Freight also made money despite the terrible conditions in the freight industry.
UPS Freight and the company’s logistics operations made $53 million in profit, before they took a write-off of $549 million for “goodwill impairment.” Impairment charges are an accounting write-off that allows a corporation to write off profits based on the falling value of its name or “goodwill.”
Declining Volume and Full-Time Job Creation
In the fourth quarter, total U.S. package volume fell by 4.4 percent. Ground volume was down 3.7 percent and Next Day Air volume dropped by 10.1 percent.
The company is using the drop in volume to try to justify its elimination of full-time jobs in violation of Article 22.3 of our contract. But management doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
UPS made the same claim after the 1997 strike. An arbitrator explicitly rejected management’s argument and ordered the company to create 22.3 full-time jobs regardless of volume.
March 2, 2009: A new keyless ignition and entry system is being installed on package cars in Georgia. After using Local 728 members as guinea pigs, UPS plans to go national with the system.
The technology works like this. One short push on the remote unit enables ignition. A second push on a separate dash-mounted unit actually starts the engine. Drivers toggle a switch up to start the engine and down to turn it off. A second push to the bottom opens the bulkhead door.
The remote unit can also be used to unlock and open the bulkhead door, which is on a spring system. One long push on the remote unit unlocks and opens the bulkhead door. Two short pushes unlocks, but doesn’t open, the rear door.
Drivers in the center where the new technology is being tested are being told it should take six and a half minutes off their day. Not that management is counting or anything.
March 2, 2009: In 1997, UPS Teamsters went on strike to tell the company, “Part-Time America Won’t Work.” And we won! Our contract requires UPS to combine 40,000 part-time jobs into full-time jobs—and to maintain 20,000 full-time combo jobs no matter what.
But the company is thousands of jobs short of the 20,000 quota—and management is eliminating more combo jobs every day.
Thousands of Teamsters are being denied full-time jobs that are required by the contract. Some combo Teamsters are even being forced back to part-time.
What the International Union Can Do
Up until now, the International Union has left it up to individual members and local unions to file Article 22.3 grievances. Management is simply deadlocking these grievances and buying time for more violations.
The International Union can end the stall tactics and enforce the contract by filing a national grievance. The International Union can back up this grievance by conducting a national audit.
The contract requires UPS to give the International Union a detailed list of the 20,000 jobs it must maintain under Article 22.3. The International should provide every local union with a copy of this list to document exactly how many more full-time combo jobs UPS has to create to come into compliance with the contract.
The International Union has power that no local has to win full-time job creation. It’s time to use it.
What You Can Do
UPS Teamsters from across the country have launched a national petition drive to make UPS create more full-time jobs.
The petition calls on the International Union to file a national grievance to make UPS create all 20,000 full-time jobs that members are owed under the contract. And it calls on the International Union to conduct a national audit.
Do your part to make UPS create more full-time jobs. Pass out leaflets so members are informed. Collect petition signatures so our International Union gets the message that it’s time to enforce our contract.
Go to www.makeUPSdeliver.org to download leaflets and petitions. Or call Teamsters for a Democratic Union at (313) 842-2600.
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“The company has designs on 22.3 jobs. We’ve had jobs eliminated because they’re not filled when they go vacant. If management can ‘move’ these jobs, or just outright eliminate them, they will. The lives of Teamsters who need full-time jobs hang in the balance. We’re petitioning so the International Union sees members care about this issue and want something done.”
Matt Taibi, Local 251
NEW YORK CITY
Full-time combo jobs have been destroyed because vacancies were never posted or filled.
“Part-time America does not work. It’s a disgrace to have so many work so hard for so few hours, for such a meager ‘salary.’ It’s no longer the working class but rather the working poor! Hoffa, Hall and Redmond should enforce the contract!”
William Riley Fernandez, Local 804
“When Article 22.3 positions have gone vacant in our building over the past year, they’ve just disappeared. We hear that they’ve been relocated, but we get no solid indication of what the International is doing to make sure the relocated jobs still exist. When members hear rumors, I want to be able to tell them, ‘Eliminating 22.3 jobs is against the contract. It will never happen.’ But it’s hard to say that when we can’t verify that it hasn’t already happened.”
Howard Hall, Local 384
“Management has refused to bid some vacant combo positions—eliminating full-time jobs. We’re getting members to sign the petition and take a stand for full-time jobs. We won these jobs by standing together, and that’s how we’ll protect them for the future.”
Bill Paul, Local 355
“As a part-timer, I know how hard it is to make ends meet at UPS. I’m working two jobs—and some of my co-workers are doing more. My Teamster brothers and sisters went on strike in 1997 to win more full-time job opportunities for members like me. I’m petitioning to do my part to make UPS deliver those full-time jobs.”
Antonio Jones, Part-Time Steward, Local 71
When 22.3 Teamsters have gone driving, their full-time combo positions are eliminated. Management claims to be “redistributing” the jobs but cannot explain where the positions have been moved. Combo positions have been reconfigured and one eliminated in Utica Local 182.
Four air/preload combo positions eliminated in Grand Rapids building in November.
“Our local got the list of combo jobs the company claims it is maintaining here as part of the 20,000 jobs required nationally. My steward alternate and I found 11 jobs on the list that exist only on paper in our work area alone. Other stewards could identify another dozen or more full-time jobs that have been destroyed in our building.”
Sam Bucalo, Elected Steward, Local 100
Twenty-two full-time combo positions eliminated through layoffs in Kansas City and Lenexa, Kan.
Members have a grievance over 23 full-time jobs that were eliminated because management never filled vacancies.
“Members in some cities have been told by management that their full-time combo jobs are being moved to Louisville. I can tell you that isn’t true. Under our local rider, the company is supposed to create 50 full-time combos this year. They haven’t created more jobs than that. Louisville can’t account for the combo jobs that have been eliminated elsewhere.”
Mark Huckleberry, Local 89
“I took two days off work to ask members to sign the petition to create more full-time jobs. Almost every member I asked signed the petition. Part-timers want more full-time job opportunities. And full-timers remember what our union won when we stuck together in the 1997 strike. I work at Roadway—not UPS. But I know that our union is stronger when we all stick together and do our part.”
Mike Schaffer, Roadway, Local 769
Management eliminated almost 40 full-time combo jobs last fall. The company agreed to return Teamsters to these positions but only after Local 174 rewrote the contract mid-term and gave up a multi-million arbitration award.
Six full-time combo jobs eliminated. Members forced back to part-time.
Fifty full-time jobs eliminated in West Sac building through unfilled vacancies. Other combo Teamsters have had their jobs reconfigured so they now perform 8 hours of loading and/or unloading. Seven more full-time jobs eliminated in the Rocklin building in January. Combo Teamsters forced to go driving or work 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. and then 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at part-time wages.
“The union seems to be putting no effort into 22.3 grievances. We’re tired of the company using the grievance procedure to stall while full-time jobs are destroyed. The International is the one that can get something done on this and it’s time to focus the pressure on them. The petition sends a clear message: it’s time to enforce the contract.”
Lee Michalek, Shop Steward, Local 150
Sixty-one unfilled Article 22.3 full-time jobs at Ontario Airport alone. Members have been waiting for these jobs for six months.
“Our local claims they’re fighting for full-time jobs and puffs out their chest, but all that comes out is hot air—no results. The bottom line is that our officials are more interested in going along with Hoffa than demanding that the International Union take action. So instead of full-time creation, we get grievances dying on the vine at the panel.”
Dan Kane, Local 63
More than twenty full-time combo positions eliminated through layoffs in Phoenix and Tempe, Ariz.
DALLAS / FT. WORTH
Management “dissolved” more than 100 full-time combo positions at DFW airport in February. Full-time combo jobs were broken into two part-time positions. Members forced to work sunrise and twilight shifts at part-time pay—a pay cut of $6 or more for many Teamsters.
“UPS is using the bad economy as an excuse to destroy full-time jobs. Management saw an opportunity and they’re taking it. Today, it’s huge pay cuts. Tomorrow, we could be losing our homes. There’s no excuse or reason for it other than corporate greed.”
Karen Berry, Local 767
The Central States Health and Welfare Fund has increased the cost for Teamsters who retire under age 60, and decreased it for those who retire after age 60. Once again, Central States is aiming to increase the average age of retirement.
Monthly premiums for 2009 for those who retire at age 57 are $360, or $720 for a couple. For those who retire at 62 or more, the retiree monthly payment is $100 ($200 per couple).
These changes do not affect UPS Teamsters who have Central States Health and Welfare; they pay $200 per month ($400 per couple) if they retire over age 55.
March 2, 2009: Teamster movers in New York Local 814 work for some of the deepest pockets in the city: Fortune 500 companies, Wall Street banks and the U.N. But you’d never know it by their recent contracts.
Read more about how “Local 814 Members Stopped a Decade of Givebacks and Won a Strong Contract."
Local 814 members have launched their own rank-and-file website. Check out www.voiceof814.com.
Givebacks have gutted members’ pay and benefits and divided the membership into tiers that are pitted against each other.
“Our contract negotiations next year are make or break for us. If we’re going to put an end to the concessions and return our union to sound footing, we’ve got to do things differently,” said Local 814 Teamster Walter Taylor.
That’s why Local 814 members have launched a campaign to win the right to elect their bargaining committee and institute other reforms that would change the way Local 814 negotiates contracts.
The new bylaws would:
- Give members the right to elect the rank-and-file members of the bargaining committee;
- Give members the right to information about what is happening in contract bargaining;
- Require Local 814 to mobilize the membership and support from the Teamsters and the public to win a strong contract;
- Give members time to review all changes to the contract in writing before we vote on it.
Last year, Local 814 members put these principles into place in a successful, year-long rank-and-file contract campaign at Sotheby’s Auction House. As a result, they put an end to concessions and won their best contract in more than a decade.
“The members at Sotheby’s have shown that it’s possible to reverse givebacks and win a strong contract when members prepare early and get organized,” Taylor said. “It’s time for us to do the same thing in moving and storage. This campaign to change the local union bylaws is a first step.”
Petitions supporting the changes will be submitted at the March membership meeting. A vote will be held at the fall meeting.
Make or Break
“Our contract negotiations next year are make or break for us. If we’re going to put an end to the concessions and return our union to sound footing, we’ve got to do things differently.”
Walter Taylor, Local 814
March 2, 2009: Local 743 Teamsters are standing together to fight layoffs at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Teamster Local 743 represents much of the non-nursing staff at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Management recently announced a major layoff of over 450 employees.
“I have no job, six kids and a $1,500 dollar rent payment,” said Sherri Taylor Kennedy, a Local 743 member. Until the layoff, she was a secretary serving two pediatric surgeons at the UC Medical Center.
Local 743 mobilized members with a picket and rally to protest the layoffs. They reached out to the community and University of Chicago students for support.
Members across the hospital emphasized the importance of patient care. “You can’t deliver the quality of service to all aspects of the hospital, to the labs, administrative, cleanliness of the facility with less people,” commented Leonard Charley, a Local 743 steward. “You can’t do the same quality job at the hospital with a much lower level of staffing.”
Melanie Cloghessy, a clerical employee at the University of Chicago continued, “The University hasn’t suffered losses, they’re projecting losses. Even so, they’re planning more research and more construction. They can do the same for the 450 people they just laid off. It’s not rocket science. They can all be returned to work if management applies good long-term planning and shows ordinary respect for the people who work here.”
Cloghessy concluded, “The University is the largest employer on the south side of Chicago. They don’t have a right to impoverish the community just to change their bottom line.”
March 2, 2009: At the same time he was the $150,000-a-year president of Chicago Local 743, one of the largest Teamster locals, Robert Walston was involved in a cocaine-trafficking scheme, according to an indictment unsealed on Jan. 22. Walston pleaded not guilty on Jan. 29.
On June 16, 2007, federal agents seized $135,000 in cash from Walston and Victor Matos, one of his alleged co-conspirators. Walston is accused of repeatedly driving and flying to Houston Texas with large sums of cash to purchase cocaine for distribution. He claimed he was going to use the cash to purchase trucks.
In August 2007, two months after federal agents seized the cash, Walston resigned from Teamster office.
He turned the reins of the local over to his associate Richard Lopez. Lopez and Walston were soon indicted for rigging the 2004 local union election by diverting hundreds of ballots to friends, including employers, and then casting them for the incumbents against the New Leadership Slate.
In October 2007, the U.S. Department of Labor oversaw a fair Local 743 election, which was won by the New Leadership Slate, headed by Richard Berg. That closed the book on this unfortunate chapter of corruption in the local union, and opened a hopeful one for Chicago Teamsters.
Ron Carey and the Right to Vote
In 1991, I beat my local officers and was elected on a slate of working Teamsters to represent my members as a delegate to the Teamsters Convention.
That year was the first time working Teamsters got a chance to represent our members on the convention floor. That was a right that we won through TDU—and we made good use of it.
We nominated Ron Carey. And we put the issue of 25-and-Out pensions on the table. After we elected Ron Carey, he made huge improvements in our pension benefits.
Now Hoffa is letting many of the accomplishments that we made with Ron slip away. But Ron Carey showed us what we can do when we put the real principles of unionism to work. We can honor his legacy by putting those principles back in action.
James McLeod, UPS
Local 71, Florence, S.C.
Either They Don’t Know or Don’t Care
In the UPS Teamster magazine for winter 2009, Teamster parcel director Ken Hall wrote, “No one is going to ignore that UPS is still profitable and no one is going to allow the company to use the current economic slump as an excuse to undermine the contract we negotiated.”
The truth of the matter is that we have union brothers, earning a salary from the dues of our members, who sit on panels and outright undermine the current language in our contracts.
Have you ever seen the movie Boyz n the Hood? At the end of the movie, one of the characters says “Either they don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care about what’s going on in the hood.”
Which is it for you Brother Hall? As a rank and filer, I hope and pray it is not the latter.
The division among the rank and file must end right now. We are in a mess and it doesn’t matter whom you supported in the last union election, it is time to come together and fight against the injustices that are going on “NOW”.
A Rank-and-File Member
Do you think our union is headed in the wrong direction?
Teamsters for a Democratic Union is made up of thousands of working Teamsters who are doing something about it.
Our movement is growing because members like you are doing their part to turn our union around.
You can help. Join TDU today.
Make UPS Deliver Full-Time Jobs
“I was on the picket line every day in 1997 holding a sign that said ‘Part Time America Won’t Work.’ I never dreamed the company would force me back to part-time. But it’s happened to me and many other Teamsters.
“Now we’re getting involved to make UPS create every full-time job they owe us under the contract.
“We organized a meeting with a TDU organizer that got members informed and united. We’re following up by joining the national petition drive to tell Hoffa that it’s time to enforce the contract.
“Union members need to stand up, make our voices heard and take our union back.”
Sandy Gustafson, UPS
Local 767 Shop Steward, Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport
Keep Union Principles Strong
“I found out about TDU from a buddy who said he thought TDU saved the Teamsters. I just recently began to get involved in the labor movement, and I was excited to learn more about what can be done in our union.
“I joined TDU to keep the core purpose of unionism alive.”
Cory Lucas, Allied Waste
Local 50, Belleville, Ill.
Time to Get Respect on the Job
“I’m tired of management doing whatever they want to do—and getting away with it. They don’t respect our contract or our rights.
“I joined TDU because I saw other TDU members in my local who were getting together and making management show them respect. That’s what can happen when we get informed and come together.”
Jose de la Torre, BFI
Local 396, Los Angeles
February 27, 2009: Negotiations for a new contract for some 400 Teamsters at the Pacific Northwest terminals of USF Reddaway were not going smoothly, as of late February.
Reddaway is a regional carrier owned by YRC.
Negotiations are ongoing; the contract expired Dec. 31, and Teamsters are working on an extension.
Management is reportedly demanding an immediate ten percent pay cut, in line with the negotiated cut at YRC’s other operations. But local union negotiators and members point out that the ten percent cut was agreed to after the NMFA was in place, which provides for benefit and wage increases each year till 2013.
Reddaway Teamsters make lower wages and have lesser pension benefits than NMFA levels. Their present wages are barely above YRC’s wages after the ten percent cut, so a ten percent cut would drop them to under $19 per hour.
Reddaway has nonunion terminals for about half of its operations in California, Arizona, Oregon and Washington. They have not lowered the wages by ten percent at these terminals, though they are free to do so at any time.