September 18, 2007: On September 19, Brad Slawson (co-chair of the DHL negotiating committee) will meet with DHL management to set a schedule and location for bargaining. We are getting near to crunch time in the contract that will determine our Teamster future at DHL.
Meanwhile, another important set of negotiations is starting. On September 24, bargaining formally opens for the National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA). The Freight Division held a meeting for all affected locals on Sept. 13, where they announced they expect a fast bargaining pace, running through October. They also announced they will bargain with Yellow Roadway (Trucking Management Inc) first, and then hold ABF to the same contract. This is a good precedent for the approach we need at DHL.
It’s time for all DHL Teamsters to get informed, get involved, and get prepared.
Click here for Brad Slawson and Patricia Burke’s wedding pictures.
Click here for the latest informational bulletin of the DHL Teamsters United. DHL Teamsters United is the independent network of all DHL Teamsters who want a contract that mirrors NMFA standards.
Stay informed. Click here to get the latest updates on DHL from Teamsters for a Democratic Union.
What do you think? Click here to tell us what you think needs to be done to win a strong contract at DHL.
September 17, 2007: By Kevin Jones: The federal government is not being tough enough on trucking companies that are violating safety laws, says Rep. Jim Oberstar, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Oberstar, a Minnesota Democrat, on Friday cited a recently released report by the General Accounting Office, compiled at the committee’s request, that concluded the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is identifying high risk carriers, but not following through with tough fines mandated by law.
In a letter to FMCSA Administrator John Hill, Oberstar used the report findings to take the agency to task for not complying with specific enforcement mandates, calling the agency’s actions “indefensible and unacceptable.”
“I am deeply troubled by the GAO findings regarding FMCSA’s practice of assessing fines to motor carriers that repeatedly violate critical motor carrier safety statutes,” Oberstar wrote. “I strongly urge FMCSA to amend its policies immediately to be consistent with statutory requirements with respect to maximum penalties for repeat rule violators.”
FMCSA’s policy to assess maximum fines against serious rule violators is “essentially meaningless and violates the law,” Oberstar continued, quoting chapter and verse from the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.
The congressman pointed out the discrepancy between the number of carriers that were given the maximum fine (280 in 2006) versus the number that GOA contends should have been (1,320) if FMCSA had followed the law.
Oberstar asked to know, within 30 days, what specific actions FMCSA has taken to comply with the statutory requirements.
According to the GAO report, “by and large” FMCSA does a good job of identifying carriers that pose a high risk of crash risks — following up with more than 99 percent of 1,196 carriers that received proposed unsatisfactory safety ratings from compliance reviews completed in fiscal year 2005.
GAO did find, however, that that the agency does not, as it should, assess the maximum fines against carriers with a pattern of varied serious violations. Similarly, the agency’s “three strikes rule” is contrary to the GAO’s interpretation of the statute, which calls for maximum fines after the second instance of a violation.
The GAO recommended that FMCSA select certain high-risk carriers in the accident safety evaluation area for compliance reviews and revise its policy for assessing maximum fines.
The Department of Transportation said that it would “assess the efficacy” of the first recommendation, the GAO noted, but that it did not comment on the other recommendations.
In an FMCSA statement, Hill responded by saying the agency had met with the GAO in June to review the initial findings, as well as with the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General “on similar issues.”
“Our efforts to target high-risk carriers for compliance reviews has no doubt contributed to the 5 percent reduction in large truck-related fatalities last year, and we appreciate the GAO’s acknowledgement of our successful record on these matters,” said Hill. “We agreed to change our policy at that time to address the findings of both parties and are in the process of moving forward.”
The 72-page GAO report is available on the Web
Kevin Jones is a reporter for The Trucker.
It is certain that there will be at least a short delay in the change, because of a motion filed by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. The change back to 10 hours (and elimination of the 34-hour “restart” provision) cannot happen until at least seven days after the court rules on that motion and so far no hearing has been set.
The ATA has asked for an eight-month delay in implementing the change. Public Citizen, which successfully sued to strike down the regs, will oppose that kind of long delay.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) has not filed for a stay, but will enter their position by the time of the hearing.
Click here to read a report in TheTrucker.com
Click here to read commentary from Jim Hightower on the Hours of Service Regulations.
August 29, 2007: WASHINGTON, DC - Five groups sued today in federal court to block a Bush administration plan to allow Mexico-domiciled trucks to roam the country’s highways as soon as Saturday.
The suit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, maintains that the Bush administration’s pilot program, which authorizes up to 100 carriers based in Mexico to perform long-haul operations within the U.S., violates several key congressional requirements. The groups filing suit include Public Citizen; the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Sierra Club; Environmental Law Foundation; and the Brotherhood of Teamsters, Auto and Truck Drivers, Local 70. The groups filed an emergency motion asking the court to delay the pilot program before it goes into effect in a matter of days.
Mexico-domiciled motor carriers currently are permitted to operate in the U.S. only in specified commercial zones along the southern borders of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The Bush administration has for years been pushing to give Mexico-domiciled carriers access to all U.S. highways despite safety and environmental concerns expressed by public interest groups, unions representing truck drivers and lawmakers.
August 23, 2007: Freight wages have fallen drastically, measured against the cost of living, in the past ten years.
In April 1997, a freight Teamster (Central Supplement) made $18.11 per hour.
If that wage rate had just kept up with inflation, today it would be $23.55. The wage today is only $22.11. That’s a $1.44 per hour wage cut in your standard of living.
It’s time for some catch up.
August 23, 2007: We’re overdue for important contract improvements in wages, benefits and job protections.
Our freight wages have fallen, measured against inflation, since Hoffa took office. It’s time for some catchup. Major nonunion carriers pay almost as much.
It’s time for benefit improvements. In the Central States Fund, we need restoration of affordable retiree health care, and we need improvements across the board to protect and improve health and pension benefits.
It’s time for improvements in job security, protection against unnecessary changes of operations, and upgrading conditions in supplements to the highest level.
It’s time to eliminate some past concessions, like the tiered wage. Full wages for all freight Teamsters.
There is no excuse for any concession bargaining in this round. We’ve given more than enough. Yellow Roadway has consolidated its dominance in LTL long haul, and is moving to improve its position in short haul and premium service. ABF seems to have $650 million on hand that they want to pay to bust our Teamster pension funds. They can use that for contract improvements instead.
The IBT Contract Survey sent to all freight Teamsters didn’t seem to get this picture. Right up top, in question two, the survey asked which concession you would rather give: healthcare, pension, or wages! There was no choice of “none.”
It will be up to rank-and-file freight Teamsters to get informed, get involved and get ready. This is our contract.
August 23, 2007: DHL Teamsters are organizing nationally to defend the National Master Freight Agreement and win a good contract for all DHL Teamsters. They’ve already scored one major victory when they forced the Hoffa administration to scrap a “Draft National Agreement” that was riddled with concessions.
For months, some DHL Teamsters have heard about secret bargaining between DHL management and Brad Slawson, an assistant to James Hoffa. Then on July 25, the stinky stuff hit the fan when TDU obtained and posted on www.tdu.org the “Draft National Agreement,” all 77 pages of it. The dirty deal that would gut the NMFA was exposed.
DHL members started to network, by phone, email, in barn meetings, stewards meetings and through TDU’s network. Calls, postcards and petitions poured into IBT headquarters.
The rank-and-file campaign worked. The Hoffa administration has scrapped its “Draft National Agreement.” At a meeting in Detroit on Aug. 20, local unions were instructed to hold proposal meetings for DHL. Teamsters can use those meetings to put forward the DHL network’s demands:
- No surrender of the NMFA.
- Shop stewards should be on the bargaining committee.
- A union fight to upgrade all white paper contracts to the best level.
As more Teamsters learn what’s happening, they are coming on board. The DHL network is growing fast. DHL Teamsters United issued a national leaflet on Aug. 20. A first national conference call was held. A new web forum was opened. And this is just the beginning.
It shows what happens when Teamsters put any political or personal differences aside and get together to defend our national master contract.
Interested Teamsters can call TDU at (313) 842-2600 for the latest info and how to get involved.
August 23, 2007: In August, ABF pulled out of Trucking Management Inc. (TMI), which bargains the National Master Freight Agreement, to bargain separately.
ABF management has let it be known for some time that they would split. ABF CEO Bob Davidson earlier stated that he wants to pull out of Teamster pension plans and force ABF employees into a 401(k).
We need to let him know this isn’t going to happen: ABF always has been part of the NMFA and always will be.
In the past, other carriers have split off. Yellow Freight quit TMI and bargained separately in 1994, but signed exactly the same agreement. The union held them—and all split-off carriers—to the NMFA. This unity has always been Teamster policy, through many General Presidents. ABF needs to hear that this policy still stands.
Hoffa Signals Weakness
DHL management also informed the union that they would try to break from the NMFA. DHL Teamsters responded with unity and action—flooding IBT headquarters with petitions, postcards and phone calls.
This strong answer by the Teamster rank-and-file forced the Hoffa administration to scrap a draft sellout contract. But DHL has detected weakness at the top of our union and will no doubt keep the pressure on.
That’s what corporations do: they go after a weak leadership. ABF is no exception. It’s up to us to get show rank and file unity and strength.
What do you think our union should do to win a strong contract in 2008? Call TDU at (313) 842-2600, or go to www.tdu.org/powerinfreight.
August 23, 2007: Brothers and Sisters,
I am a DHL driver and union committeeman in Pittsburgh Local 249. DHL Teamsters in our local are STRONGLY opposed to any negotiations with the goal of taking DHL out of the NMFA. When we got word that this may be in the works, we shifted into high gear to organize against it.
Thankfully, we gathered a lot of support from other DHL Teamsters around the country who understand the importance of being in a national master contract. Our opposition was heard loud and clear in Washington and the substandard “draft language” was rejected as a starting point for negotiations. This was a great victory for DHL Teamsters.
But is this sham contract dead? DHL still has their bargaining agenda and we need ours. We won round one but now the next fight must be fought. Two things need to happen: Brad Slawson needs to be removed from the bargaining team and DHL stewards need to be in on the negotiations!
What does Brad Slawson know about DHL? He doesn’t even represent a station. He participated in talks with DHL for months with that terrible draft language as the basis for the meetings. That’s no lead negotiator.
Stewards can make a difference. They have the insight into the operations of DHL and know the day-to-day struggles of working Teamsters. They will keep the membership informed and unified.
We need DHL Teamsters to tell your local officials, reps, and Brother Hoffa:
- Keep us in the NMFA. Bring DHL white paper contracts into that agreement.
- Bring DHL stewards on to the bargaining team.
- Remove Brad Slawson as chief negotiator and name a local officer who represents DHL Teamsters under the NMFA.
A unified membership can win a fair and decent contract. That takes organization. Go to www.dhlteamsterforum.com and become part of the network. Together we can win our fair share from this billion-dollar corporation.
Keep the heat on!
Mark Woods, Local 249