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.
New I.D. Card Coming Soon
Officials from the Department of Homeland Security are making plans for issuing transportation worker identity cards. The requirement may be in place as early as 2007, depending on Congressional action. The program will be modeled along the lines of how the Transportation Security Administration handles hazmat endorsements.
Safety Expert Challenges New Crash StudyA recent study issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration determined driver error or other failure by passenger vehicle was the “critical reason” in 56 percent of two-vehicle crashes, with trucks responsible for 44 percent. However, Jerry Donaldson, senior research director for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, disputes the findings. “The study violates everything that is known as peer accepted principles of good research design and data collection,” according to Donaldson. Donaldson contends appropriate research would have required using a control group and objectively gathered data. The FMCSA study relied predominantly on interviews retroactively examining individual crashes. Donaldson asserts this creates a “hindsight bias.” He added, “for the $20 million (the study cost), the public has gotten a virtually scientifically worthless piece of work.” Challenges to the current regulations covering hours of service are based on separate, previous safety research on trucker fatigue.
The May 16 acquisition of Overnite by UPS means that our biggest nonunion competition now has the deepest pockets in the freight industry.
UPS has the means to undercut union carriers to increase Overnite’s market share and you can bet they plan to do it. FedEx has turned its own LTL carrier into a $3 billion player.
To compete with FedEx, UPS intends to double Overnite’s size.Unless we act decisively, Overnite’s increased market share will come at Teamster members’ expense.
The IBT doesn’t seem to get this. On the day of the purchase, the Hoffa administration issued a press release saying, “If this purchase helps UPS to continue to successfully compete in the global marketplace in the long run, it will increase our members’ job security.”
How is a stronger nonunion Overnite going to increase freight Teamsters’ job security? That kind of talk has members asking if the Hoffa administration has given up on freight altogether.
Threat and Opportunity
For freight Teamsters, the UPS purchase of Overnite is a major threat. But it’s also our best opportunity to organize Overnite once and for all.
Our Teamsters union represents the vast majority of employees at UPS-Overnite. The question is, will the IBT use this leverage to organize Overnite? Or will the Hoffa administration stand by and watch as UPS grows its nonunion freight division?
The early signs are not good. Hoffa’s statement on the acquisition said only that the IBT will “monitor” the situation. The arch union-buster of freight is now backed by the biggest bank account in the transportation industry and the best that Hoffa can do is promise to “monitor” developments?
Teamster representation at UPS gives us new leverage over Overnite. We’ve got to use it to bring the 10,000 drivers and dock workers at Overnite into our union and into our Teamster benefit plans.
The national freight grievance panel ruled on April 28 that former Red Star employees are entitled to be hired at the new USF Holland terminals in the East. The workers learned in May that the company has to back-date their seniority to when they should have been hired, but not provide back pay.
Thanks to a grievance filed by members of Philadelphia Local 107, the panel ruled that USF Holland failed to hire the former USF Red Star employees in order of seniority. The right to preferential hiring was part of an earlier agreement worked out between the IBT and USF last July, following the shutdown of Red Star and USF Holland’s decision to open terminals in the northeast.
Angered by the fact that USF has not lived up to the agreement, and the IBT has done little about it, Philly Teamsters filed the grievance and also filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board.
These Teamsters lost their jobs in the USF Red Star fiasco and now have been denied even new-hire jobs at USF Holland. The decision also allows for yet more stalling. The panel established a subcommittee of Dan Virtue for the union, and Leonard Waldo for the company, “to review the applications.” After all these months, this should not be needed. Since there is no backpay in the decision, the company can stall all it wants if the IBT continues to allow it.
After the decision, USF Holland advertised for drivers and dock workers in an ad in the May 22 Buffalo News, apparently still intending to deny jobs to Teamsters.
It’s been many months, and it’s time for the union to stand behind the people the union put on strike. USF (and Yellow) need to understand that they will face consequences up to strike action if they don’t comply with the agreement.
Yellow has announced that its USF Dugan subsidiary will close. This is after our union spent two years, millions of dollars, and countless hours of Teamster labor to organize Dugan. After USF attacked our union a year ago by shutting down its unionized Red Star division during an ill-fated strike, some 1500 good Red Star Teamsters lost their jobs, with little to no response from the International Union.
The closing of Dugan and the consolidation of USF’s remaining subsidiaries under the label YRC Regional Transportation raise questions for our union leadership.
Are we going to use this opportunity to make Yellow-Roadway a wall-to-wall Teamster company, or will Hoffa once again issue a press release parroting the company and saying he will “monitor the situation.”
USF Holland, Yellow’s biggest and most profitable regional, will grow by picking up Dugan business in the southeast and midwest, where the two operations overlap. Since Holland is under the national freight contract, this is the positive part of the story.
But that’s not the whole story. YRC Regional, now headed by former Roadway CEO Jim Staley, is rebranding 21 terminals with the Bestway or Reddaway label, and only three (all in Missouri) as Holland. Some Reddaway and Bestway terminals are union, with white paper contracts, and most are non-union. You can bet your lunch money that Yellow is not planning to have those 21 terminals go Teamster, unless we make it clear they will not operate profitably unless it happens.
We can go back to square one and start organizing them, one at a time, or we can supplement that effort with a strategic campaign to force Yellow to let its employees choose to unionize without any intimidation, with a neutrality agreement and with card check.
Yellow Roadway — like UPS-Overnite — is on the move. Consolidating, expanding, and making a major investment in China. Will the Teamster leadership get on the move to make this a fully unionized corporation? Now is the time.
January 6, 2006: Greenville's Roadway Express facility is losing a significant number of jobs as the company realigns its business to better reflect traffic patterns and reduce transit times, said Michael J. Smid, the company's president and chief executive officer. Although Smid declined to say how many positions would be affected, a local union official put the number at more than 200 jobs.
Skip Barnett, a Teamsters Local Union No. 28 business agent who works with freight contracts, said the union expects to whittle that number to about 200 positions and added that union employees would be allowed to move with the work.
"This is a lot of middle-class jobs for the Upstate to lose," Barnett said.
Salaries for Roadway's long-haul drivers -- among those affected -- average between $60,000 and $85,000 annually, Smid said.
"If you take this by itself, it's bad, but you can handle it," said Bill Pendleton, area manager of the state Employment Security Commission's Greenville office. "If you look at the big picture -- what's been happening for the past year or two -- it's concerning. But as tough as we have it, we're still below the state average" when it comes to unemployment.
Greenville County reported an unemployment rate of 5.8 percent in November, compared with 7.1 percent joblessness for the state as a whole.
Roadway's Greenville facility, which presently has more than 300 employees, has both a consolidation and distribution unit and a local delivery unit, Smid said. Roadway Express is eliminating the consolidation and distribution function in Greenville.
Barnett said between 80 and 85 employees represented by the union would remain at the facility. A few office workers and supervisors not covered by the union contract also would continue to work there.
"Greenville is part of a change in our national transportation network," Smid said. "The change is an effort to improve the speed, the reliability and the efficiency" of the company's service and to reduce the amount of cargo handling.
The greatest impact of realignment would be felt at the company's terminals in Hagerstown, Md., and Greenville. They will "continue being facilities and operations, but their scale will change," Smid told TrafficWorld, an industry-related magazine.
More than 1,000 people nationwide will be affected by the changes, he said. Affected employees in Greenville include drivers, freight-handling professionals, supervisory personnel and support personnel.
"In each change of operations, we are repositioning our people, our resources and our assets to match changes we have seen in traffic patterns," Smid said.
Roadway plans to reduce freight handling in the Northeast and deliver to distances of 1,000 miles in two days or less. Coast-to-coast deliveries will be made in no more than four days. Deliveries from the central part of the country to the West Coast will take three days.
Although no changes have been implemented yet, the restructuring will be completed in the first quarter, Smid said.
He said the realignment will not reduce the size of the overall work force, and Barnett said the company probably would hire about 40 additional drivers. About 30 locations will gain employees as work is moved to there.
"Anybody who is working under a contract is being allowed to follow their work if they wish," Barnett said, who added the company would pay moving expenses.
Smid said that employees also have the option to move to the local delivery unit if jobs are available.
Barnett said workers who choose not to leave Greenville would be placed on layoff and are eligible for recall for five years. He said any of those employees also would be eligible to be hired at other unionized carriers in the area and must be considered before other applicants.
Smid said the company's work agreement does not include a severance package because the employees are subject to recall.
Barnett said he believes that anyone who wants similar work in the region would be able to find it even though trucking is a little slow this time of year.
Although some union members are upset about the Roadway restructuring, about half of Greenville's work came to the area the same way years ago, he said.
Roadway Express has initiated the required legal notifications to the Teamsters Union and state agencies, Smid said.
Pendleton said the state Department of Commerce's Rapid Response Team has been notified by Roadway of the change of operations. Employment Security Commission personnel hope to meet with employees soon to explain unemployment insurance benefits, other services and what they can expect in the job market here.
The job situation is not as good as it could be, he said.
"I hope we will see a better 2006 than 2005," Pendleton said."
Reprinted from The Greenville News, January 6, 2006
By Jenny Munro
/jmunro [at] greenvillenews.com">jmunro [at] greenvillenews.com
Roadway Express has proposed a massive change of operations, which would cause 955 Teamsters to relocate. They are seeking a union hearing on February 9 and implementation by March 12. The breakbulk terminals in Greenville, SC and Hagerstown, Maryland would close, as would the road driver relay in North Lima, Ohio.
Roadway management is selling the change as necessary to maintain and improve service; they are slower than other carriers on some lanes. They also highlight that the proposed change would maintain the same number of Teamster jobs and would convert 168 sleeper jobs to solo jobs.
It is likely that there will be a lot of holes to fill with new hires, especially on the dock.
Click here: for the entire management proposal for the change of operations. (Adobe Acrobat needed.)
(NOTICE: This is a large document. For users with dial-up it may take a few minutes or more to download.)
Seven million dollars is on the table as the proposed WARN Act settlement to pay off Teamsters put out of work when USF Red Star closed its doors last year.
This figure was reached in negotiations with Yellow Roadway, USF’s new owner. The settlement means roughly a minimum payment of $3,200 for each Teamster who worked in a terminal of 50 or more employees and about $1,000 for each Teamster who worked in a smaller Red Star facility. It’s about 40 percent of the amount owed under the WARN Act.
For over a year, a diligent group of former Red Star Teamsters has organized to win justice. Without this effort, it’s doubtful any WARN Act suit would have been filed. These rank and filers have fought for their day in court and it comes on Sept. 22 when a Philadelphia judge will determine whether or not the $7 million settlement is appropriate.
Activists are encouraging former Red Star Teamsters to attend this “fairness hearing.” They see this as an opportunity to speak out on Yellow’s settlement as unjust. Teamsters are circulating a petition to deliver to the court. They believe the 1,700 Teamsters deserve more, especially considering the millions former Red Star management honchos took with their golden parachutes.
Members also continue to press unfair labor practice charges regarding their lost jobs. USF Holland has re-opened terminals in many of the areas formerly serviced by USF Red Star. The IBT worked out an agreement where former Red Star Teamsters would get an opportunity to work for USF Holland, but at reduced wages. A number of Teamsters have hired in at USF Holland but contend that they are doing the same work they did prior to the USF Red Star closure. Many are concerned that the WARN Act settlement may cause the dismissal of these charges.
You can learn more about how former Red Star Teamsters have organized at www.redstarteamsters.com
I would like to thank TDU and Convoy Dispatch for the opportunity to get a very important message out to my Teamster brothers and sisters. I am not currently a member of TDU but I do certainly sympathize and support anyone who aspires to make the Teamsters a more democratic union.
I am one of the lead plaintiffs in the WARN Act lawsuit that the rank and file was forced to bring against USF. I say forced because three months after USF shut down Red Star, Jimmy Hoffa appeared to do little more then accommodate the company’s every whim. I was incredulous when I saw the September edition of the “Teamster Freight News.” The headline touts; “Union wins $7 million Red Star settlement. “ I can’t begin to tell you how untrue that is. In fact, not a single IBT representative bothered to show up at the recent fairness hearing that was held regarding the WARN Act lawsuit.
USF Red Star no longer exists because of years of apparent mismanagement, and a “strike” that the IBT claims Hoffa didn’t authorize. Immediately after the shut down a member wrote to Hoffa and asked; “Why didn’t you call off the strike?” Hoffa didn’t bother to respond, but IBT rep Gordon Sweeton did. He wrote, “General President Hoffa was out of town on other business when this strike was called.”
That statement is incredible, if true. Is it possible that the president of the Teamsters is not in possession of a cell phone? Do we really want to trust our future to a man who would be either this negligent, or inaccessible? We lost close to 2,000 Teamster jobs that day and have recouped less than 20 percent of them at Holland.
USF claims that Red Star could not survive after what amounted to be a one-day strike. A strike that the rank and file was never informed of until the walkout actually happened.
Incidentally, USF announced its reemergence in the East a mere month later. USF dumped Red Star, and they supplanted our contract with USF Holland’s workrules, which are substandard. It seemed that the IBT was more attentive to the company’s expansion desires than the needs of their members. Taking all of this into consideration, the rank and file had to step up and take action into our own hands. The IBT did eventually file a WARN Act lawsuit against USF. It was on the eve of the six-month deadline, and a week after they couldn’t coerce me into dropping our lawsuit. Since then they have ridden our coat tails and have taken credit for any success the rank and file has achieved.
Our attorneys, not the IBT lawyers, were designated by the court to represent the “class” and they worked out the proposed settlement. In fact, the IBT refused to help the members’ attorneys. I thought we deserved more than the negotiated settlement, and said so in court. To paraphrase, “I believe that USF’s callous mistreatment of all its former Red Star employees throughout this ordeal is tantamount to that of Enron’s. USF needs to know its heartless actions towards tenured employees, who happen to be unionized, is unacceptable. This is a fairness hearing and what we ask for is what is fair and just. We believe the $7 million offer is woefully inadequate. USF purports to be a $2.3 billion dollar company. Yellow/Roadway purchased USF and now claims to be a $10 billion operation. When USF shut down Red Star, they claimed to have set aside $70 million for possible litigation. Where is it now? I respectfully request the court to consider voiding this settlement so that there might be more money offered to a class that has endured so much at the hands of not only its former employer, but our union as well. A 50 percent increase in the settlement might just be the moral victory that his class needs to restore its faith that justice and restitution are attainable by the little guy.”
This fight took a lot of heart and determination. I’m proud to be a Teamster and a union man that stood up for my brothers and sisters. Any settlement we achieve is due to the fact that we stuck to our principles and united to win what was rightfully ours. We need a union leadership that will do the same.
Local 107, USF Holland