The IBT Freight Division has signed contracts with USF Bestway, a division of Yellow Roadway, in Missouri and Texas that put Teamsters there into the Western Conference Pension Fund. Missouri and Texas are in the heart of the territory of the Central States Fund, so what gives?
Apparently the corporation prefers the Western Fund, because it doesn’t have to carry unfunded liability on its books. What about protecting our Central States Fund by putting Teamsters into it, not stealing them out of it?
Yellow Roadway recently dissolved Bestway into its Reddaway and Holland subsidiaries, so now this problem passes to those carriers.
Subcontracting Layoffs At Ohio Yellow Terminal
Back on Nov. 8, 2006, Yellow management decided to start using a local nonunion cartage company to deliver commercial and residential shipments to customers who required lift-gate and straight truck equipment. When Local 407 members found out about it, they immediately filed grievances under Article 32 of the NMFA (subcontracting), and objected because seven city drivers had been laid off on Nov. 5. Two layoffs later, 14 were out of work.
It took two months for the city and clerical grievances just to be heard at the local level. The clerical grievances for the subcontracting of setting the appointments were settled, but the drivers’ grievances were deadlocked to the Cleveland City panel. Rumor has it that they will deadlock them to the Ohio state panel.
Let’s hope that these panels put a stop to the subcontracting of Teamster jobs to nonunion companies just because management won’t provide the equipment to make deliveries.
Yellow Making Changes
Management at YRC has been busy as 2007 rolls in. First, they announced they were folding USF Bestway operations into USF Holland and Reddaway. Holland is taking over terminals in Little Rock, Wichita, and Jackson, Miss. Two weeks later, they announced that Yellow and Roadway would operate under a united management: YRC National Transportation. In commenting on the realignment, CEO Bill Zollars said, “Creating a single management team will allow the company to go after the next round of cost reductions.”
Meanwhile, new changes of operation will probably be implemented at both Roadway and Yellow following January hearings.
DHL Plans Border Expansion; IBT Needs Organizing Success Now
DHL will spend $100 million over the next five years to expand cross-border services. The company plans to establish terminals in the Mexican border cities of Tijuana, Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa and Matamoros, as well as expand U.S.-Canada operations. This is in addition to previously announced plans for a $1.2 billion expansion of their U.S. ground delivery network. All this investment occurs as the IBT attempts to organize nonunion DHL terminals and DHL’s contractors. We need a muscular organizing plan that will organize DHL before their nonunion expansion makes it harder. We’ve had the PR, now we need results.
Black Boxes on the Way
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed a new rule regarding electronic on-board recorders (EOBR) that would encourage industry-wide use. The FMCSA would provide incentives to carriers for voluntary use, though specifics were not reported. The proposal would require EOBRs to record basic information needed to track driver identity, duty status, date, time and location of the commercial vehicle. Most importantly, it would record distance traveled. It would also include a GPS function as a means to enforce hours of service regulations. Truck and bus companies with a history of serious hours-of-service violations may be required to install the EOBRs in their fleets.
Court Hears Arguments on Hours-of-Service
Last December saw another day in court over hours-of-service rules. Public Citizen and other safety groups presented arguments for rejecting the January 2006 rewrite of the regs. At stake is whether issues of driver health and road safety have really been addressed by the recent rule changes. A three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals is expected to rule within months.
Yellow’s proposed Office Change of Operations reared its head again and will be heard just days after this is printed, on Dec. 7 in Kansas City. The proposal would move work to Sioux Falls, but not move a single Teamster.
It was first slated to be heard in September, but postponed after a barrage of questions and protests from members, stewards and locals. Teamsters are concerned that the real goal of the proposal is to relieve management from paying grievances when Teamsters wrongfully lose their office work.
Once again stewards and concerned local leaders plan to speak out against it, and call for it to be withdrawn or denied.
Tonnage Down, YRC Profits Up
The economy appears to be slowing if freight industry figures are the indicator. Teamster drivers agree, based on their experiences this fall. Most carriers reported declines in tonnage in the third quarter and weren’t predicting significant improvements in the fourth quarter peak season. Net profits at ABF slipped 22 percent. Bob Davidson, chairman of Arkansas Best, stated that “Something unusual is taking place and I don’t pretend to understand it.” Yellow Roadway CEO Bill Zollars is optimistic and said that “This doesn’t feel anything like the 2000 time frame as we were going into a recession.” YRC profits rose 12.4 percent in the third quarter to a record $95.9 million. He expects profits to grow more in 2007.
FedEx Freight Expands in Canada
According to Patrick Reed, Chief Operating Officer of FedEx Freight, “within three-to-five years we want to be a major player in Canadian LTL.” FedEx plans to use its recent purchase of Watkins Motor Lines as a springboard. Watkins, now FedEx National LTL, will be known to the north as FedEx Freight Canada. FedEx may start using truck-rail intermodal transportation in Canada—something they have shied away from in the US because of service issues. FedEx Freight (non-union) ranks second to YRC (union) among North American LTL carriers.
DHL Won’t See Profits Until 2009
In a recent report to shareholders and analysts, the Deutsche Post chief financial officer reported that DHL won’t reach profitability until 2009. He did say DHL “achieved a trend reversal” this year. When DHL bought Airborne Express the company predicted profits by 2006.
Democrats Take Lead in Congress
Representative James Oberstar (D-MN) is slated to become chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in January. Oberstar is vocal in his opposition to triples. He has also called for more vigorous enforcement of the hours-of-service regulations. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) is expected to chair the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. That panel oversees the Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
February 26, 2007: In this report, Stephens Inc., an investment banking firm, looks at the effect the Bush administration's new policy on Mexico-domiciled trucks will have on truckload carriers in the US.
January 26, 2007: In a recent statement on UPS national contract talks, IBT Parcel Division Director Ken Hall announced he would also continue bargaining with UPS Freight on a contract covering 125 employees at the Indianapolis terminal—the only UPS Freight barn represented by our union.
The outcome of the simultaneous contract talks will determine the future of benefits and contract standards for UPS and freight Teamsters alike for years to come.
- Will our union use our bargaining leverage at UPS to win the right to organize UPS Freight company-wide without interference from management?
u Will the UPS Freight contract protect Teamster standards—or will it undercut the UPS and National Master Freight agreements?
- Will we strengthen our benefits by including UPS Freight in our Teamster funds—or will Hoffa give in to UPS management’s designs to undermine our benefits and break out of the funds?
Our union leaders have sent mixed signals about where they stand. With the future on the line, Teamster members need to demand that our negotiators hold the line and protect our future.
Standing with Hall and Freight Director Tyson Johnson on the podium at the Teamster Convention, Hoffa announced, “A historic card-check agreement will soon bring 12,000 UPS Freight employees under IBT contract.”
Later it was revealed that the card-check agreement only covered 125 employees at one terminal, just one percent of the company’s workforce.
Now top Teamster officials are openly saying that UPS Freight Teamsters may be kept out of our union pension plans. Brad Slawson, General Secretary-Treasurer Tom Keegel’s right-hand man and an International rep in the Freight Division, announced at a union meeting that any contract with UPS Freight will probably not include the Central States Pension Plan.
If Slawson is right, that would be a disaster to Teamster efforts to reverse our benefit cuts. UPS Freight would add $180 million in contributions to Teamster pension plans every year—strengthening our benefits and protecting our funds for the future.
A UPS Freight contract that fails to include the Central States Pension, and other Teamster pension plans, should be rejected by the Freight Division and the IBT.
Organizing UPS Freight Wall to Wall
The simultaneous negotiations with UPS and UPS Freight increase our bargaining power and give us the leverage we need to win a company-wide contract at UPS Freight that meets or beats NMFA standards.
Yellow Roadway CEO Bill Zollars has already announced that any deal between the Teamsters and UPS Freight will “set precedent” for the National Master Freight Agreement. Zollars has also expressed interest in early bargaining. Translation: if our union settles short at UPS Freight, Yellow Roadway wants early talks to bargain the same concessions.
The UPS Freight contract will also set the standard for other nonunion freight competitors we need to organize. A weak UPS Freight agreement would also give UPS the incentive to siphon away work done by UPS feeder drivers.
The IBT needs to put the power of 215,000 UPS Teamsters behind the 125 Teamsters at UPS Freight.
UPS management is hungry to settle early. If our union is going to give UPS an early deal, we need to win a company-wide UPS Freight agreement that meets the standards set by the NMFA and UPS contracts, including strong Teamster benefits.
President Hoffa and our union negotiators need to make it clear to the company and to Teamster members that we will settle for nothing less. If and when he does, Teamster members need to get behind him in this fight.
Because Hoffa’s card check and neutrality agreement covered only one terminal and is now void, Zollars expects any contract that UPS Freight would accept will fall far short of the NMFA, and will not allow the employees into the Central States Teamster Pension Plan. Hence Zollars’ interest in using the deal as a precedent to gain concessions in the NMFA.
Yellow Roadway Wants Early Bargaining Too
“We’d be interested in doing that,’” Yellow Roadway’s CEO William Zollars told the Akron Beacon Journal on July 28, referring to opening early bargaining with the Teamsters to dodge any possible strike threat.
Yellow Roadway Corporation employs 50,000 Teamsters under the National Master Freight Agreement at Yellow, Roadway, Holland, New Penn, Bestway and Reddaway. Since the UPS and freight contracts do not expire for two years, the union has less bargaining power this far in advance. The Beacon Journal reported that is the reason that “UPS decided to move up the start of talks.”
Hoffa claims that he “forced UPS into early negotiations” but it is clear that the big Teamster employers are eager for the chance to bargain when the no-strike contract clause binds the union and decreases union leverage.
Yellow’s Zollars says he will approach the Teamsters about early bargaining, but no date is set yet.
October 18, 2006. The neutrality agreement with UPS Freight, announced by James Hoffa in dramatic fashion in Las Vegas this June is now officially over. UPS Freight spokesman Ira Rosenfeld emphasized to Traffic World that the Teamsters would be bargaining for “one location only” and that the neutrality deal is now void.
A “neutrality and card check” agreement with a company allows our union to organize without company opposition, and when a majority of workers join the Teamsters, the company agrees to bargain. Hoffa claimed that he had such a deal with UPS Freight (formerly Overnite), but it later was revealed that it covered only one terminal, with less than one percent of UPS Freight’s workers.
The International targeted UPS Freight in Indianapolis, quickly got a majority of cards signed, and will start negotiations with UPS Freight Indianapolis in September.
Bargaining with one terminal out of 200 with UPS will not be easy. When the Teamsters organized 37 Overnite terminals, Hoffa could not bargain a contract.
The neutrality and card check deal will revive only if the IBT wins it (along with an acceptable union contract that does not undercut our national UPS and freight contracts) in a signed agreement with UPS Freight in Indianapolis. UPS members have also raised the issue in contract proposal meetings that neutrality be won not only for UPS Freight, but all UPS nonunion operations.
October 18, 2006. Tom Griffith was a freight driver before he was elected president of Harrisburg, Pa. Local 776 a little over 20 years ago. He was Eastern Region Freight Director for several years. He knows the Hoffa administration from the inside and talked about the reason he retired. The following is adapted from his address to the TDU Convention.
I started working at the IBT, it didn’t take me long to realize that this was not going to work. I guess the best way to sum it up is that when officials under me were bickering about their positions and how much they were all gonna get paid, Hoffa sat me down and said, “Remember one thing–it’s always about the money.” That, I believe, was the turning point in my career, because I always thought it was about the members.
International Vice President Phil Young told me Hoffa was upset I was leaving, so I went to see him. “Listen,” Hoffa said. “You’re not allowed to retire, I’ll give you more money.”
I said, “Jimmy, remember when you set me on the couch at the Pennsylvania Conference and you said ‘It’s always about the money?’ ” He said yes, and I said, “It’s not about the money”—and then I left.
I thought about a slogan that fits Hoffa: It’s not what I can do for the union, it’s what the union can do for me. But I feel good about this election, a lot better than I felt about the last one.
I don’t believe people really had enough of a dose of Hoffa on the first round, but I’m pretty sure now, from the people I’ve talked to, that on the second dose, they’re ready for a change, and I feel real good about this election.
At the September 21 Multi-Region Change of Operations meeting in Chicago, Yellow Transportation’s VP of Labor Relations announced that the Yellow clerical Change of Operations was “withdrawn without prejudice” and that it would be “resubmitted before the end of the year.”
This was in response to a barrage of questions from Yellow’s Teamster clerical members at terminals across the country. They demanded more information from the company about the change, how it was calculated, and how their jobs would be protected from future layoffs. Teamsters from Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, and Kansas City led the way, and attended the hearing to make sure this was not a done deal. Earlier reports were that the IBT Freight Division supported the change, but rank and file members and stewards asked for clarifications. As a result, the company is reworking the change.
ABF Premium Service Change of Ops Approved
ABF got the green light in September to institute “premium service” bids throughout the Eastern, Southern and Central regions (NMFA Article 18). Their goal is to capture a bite of the lucrative one- and two-day express freight market. Some concerns were raised over details of how the new service will work. Local 728 in Atlanta won the right to have PSE freight staged in a designated area within the terminal. However, there was no agreement on how this freight would be marked so that members and stewards can monitor it to make sure the service is being used, and not abused. Presumably, there will be specific bar codes or labels that allow for daily or weekly reports. Hopefully the ABF change will actually create new work, as called for under the contract (Article 20, Section 4). That was how premium service was pitched at ratification meetings in 2003: to help grow the company and Teamster work.
Graveyard Shift for Road Drivers?
Men who alternate between daytime and nighttime shift work, rather than working a fixed schedule, have triple the normal rate of prostate cancer, according to a Japanese nationwide study, as reported in the Sept. 23 Science News. A variable shift schedule, such as some nurses work, had previously been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer in women. The new finding supports a longstanding expectation that disrupting the 24-hour biological rhythm can cause tumors in men, too.
Teamster members are not the only ones concerned that Hoffa would undercut the National Master Freight Agreement by negotiating a substandard deal at UPS Freight (Overnite).
The CEO of Yellow-Roadway, the largest employer of Freight Teamsters, recently warned that any deal between the Teamsters and UPS Freight, covering one terminal of 125 workers in Indianapolis, will 'set precedent' for the National Master Freight Agreement. Yellow Roadway employs 50,000 Teamsters.
Yellow-Roadway CEO William Zollars made this statement to Traffic World, a leading freight industry publication.
Because Hoffa's "card check and neutrality" agreement covers only one terminal, Zollars expects any contract that UPS Freight would accept will fall far short of the NMFA, and will not allow the employees into the Central States Teamster Pension Plan. That's why Yellow-Roadway plans to use it as precedent to gain concessions in the NMFA.
This scenario is what scares many Teamsters and leaders in the freight industry. Hoffa announced the "neutrality" agreement with great fanfare as part of his reelection effort, but bargaining with less than 1 percent of UPS Freight organized is from a position of weakness, not strength.
UPS Freight spokesman Ira Rosenfeld emphasized to Traffic World that the Teamsters would be bargaining for "one location only" and that the neutrality deal is then void.
“Reprinted from www.leedham2006.org”
July 17, 2006: Hoffa is playing politics with UPS Bargaining and Overnite/UPS Freight.
“We won it—card check, neutrality. UPS Freight. Wow!”
Hoffa kicked off his reelection drive at the Teamster Convention by announcing that our union had won a card check agreement to organize UPS Freight (Overnite).
Hoffa waved a document to the crowd and declared, “This agreement between the Teamsters and UPS Freight is a letter for card check and neutrality at Overnite.”
The delegates at the Convention cheered, and rightly so. Organizing UPS Freight must be a top priority of our union. An agreement that protects the right of UPS Freight employees to freely join the Teamsters without union-busting harassment would be something to celebrate.
Hoffa wasn’t telling the full story about his deal with UPS management.
Hoffa did not reveal that the card check and neutrality agreement applies to only one out of more than 200 UPS Freight terminals.
That is not what most Teamsters understood when Hoffa stood on the Convention podium and puffed, “We won it—card check, neutrality. UPS Freight. Wow!”
Our union must win this organizing battle. It is critical to the future of Teamster bargaining power at UPS and in the freight industry. Failure is not an option. Every Teamster must pledge full support to this effort.
But to win, our leadership has to level with the membership. When it comes to organizing Overnite, Teamster members don’t need spin. We need the truth and a plan to win.