While other UPS Teamsters were fighting concessions, Local 804 members won a $400 pension increase, 150 new full-time jobs and grievance procedure reform.
Local 804 launched a contract campaign a year before contract negotiations began.
They formed a Contract Action Team of stewards and volunteers tasked with keeping members informed and involved—with regular contract bulletins, parking lot meetings, and rallies. Members wore stickers and posted placards in their windshields.
The majority of the Local 804 bargaining committee were stewards and members and they participated in all negotiations.
More than 3,000 members filled out a contract survey that the Contract Action Team distributed in parking lot meetings at every building. The local organized sticker days, parking lot meetings, contract rallies, and other actions.
It worked. In a record turnout for a contract vote, members approved their new UPS supplement and won a $400 pension increase, 150 new full-time jobs, a new grievance procedure and other contract improvements.
Click here to read about more Teamsters who made a difference in 2013.
October 17, 2013: With the UPS contract long expired and peak on the way, contracts and contract supplements or riders covering over 75,000 UPSers still remain to be negotiated.
The contracts, supplements and riders covering Teamster members in the Western Region, Louisville, Ohio, Indiana, Philadelphia, Western Pennsylvania, and New Jersey Local 177 all need to be voted a second or third time.
Two additional contracts covering all UPS Teamsters in Illinois and parts of Indiana and Iowa have barely started. Chicago Locals 705 and 710, covering some 15,000 Teamsters, each negotiate their own contracts separate from the national master agreement.
The Information Brownout at UPS gave way to an unprecedented sales job in the second round of voting in October.
Hoffa and Hall unleashed a million dollar PR campaign to push through rejected contract supplements.
The Central Region Supplement narrowly passed by 53.6 percent. UPS will be able to exploit the 17(i) loophole to fire Teamsters for the vague "other cardinal offenses" for another five years.
The Metropolitan Philadelphia supplement passed by an even skimpier 1,004 to 918 margin. Three of the four locals, covering all of the largest hubs, rejected it. But a 10-1 yes vote in Wilmington, Del. squeezed the supplement through.
Hoffa and Hall did not even try to re-vote some of the supplements, because they knew they would lose. The Western Pennsylvania Supplement, rejected by 6-1 in June, was held back along with others.
Philadelphia Local 623 members showed that Hoffa, Hall and UPS had reason to be afraid. They Voted No by 71 percent. UPS Teamsters in Ohio also rejected their Rider for a second time.
In a welcome exception to the concessions, UPS Teamsters in New York Local 804 won major improvements in their supplement, including a $400 pension increase, 150 full-time jobs, and grievance procedure reform.
Rank-and-File Solidarity Pays Off
Rank-and-file solidarity has paid off and changed the Teamsters Union for the better—even if the Vote No movement wasn’t able defeat the Central and Metro Philadelphia supplements.
Hoffa and Hall were forced to reverse many healthcare cuts and improve TeamCare benefits.
The new benefits are not what members wanted, but they are a whole lot better than what Hoffa, Hall and UPS tried to make members accept in the first contract vote.
The 2013 contract fight has awakened a sleeping giant—250,000 Teamsters at UPS and another 12,500 at UPS Freight—who can be the backbone of a movement for change in the Teamsters.
Members continue to organize for improvements in some 11 unsettled supplements and riders, plus the Chicago Local 705 and Local 710 contracts.
Philadelphia Local 623
UPS Teamsters shot down the Philadelphia Local 623 supplement by 71 percent in the second contract vote.
In addition to concerns about health benefits, Vote No leaders have pushed for improvements in their supplement, including more full-time jobs, and for rank-and-file Teamsters to be put on the negotiating committee.
Leaders of the Vote No movement are running for Local 623 office as the Integrity Slate.
Lousiville Local 89 Air Rider
A major headache for UPS management and Hoffa-Hall is the Louisville Air Rider.
Local 89 officers, stewards and members have stood united against the Hoffa-Hall concessions, voting by 88 percent against the Central Supplement in the second round.
The Air Rider itself has not even gone out for a first vote yet, because the company is stonewalling and has blocked serious bargaining.
The Air Rider covers 8,800 Teamsters. The last thing management wants is a strike vote taken at the Louisville Worldport.
Ken Hall will either have to back the local’s reasonable proposals for improvements or resort to more old guard methods, like an IBT takeover of contract negotiations.
Indiana / Ohio / Western Pennsylvania
The Ohio Rider has been rejected for a second time. The Indiana Local 135 Rider has not been re-voted yet. The Western Pennsylvania supplement hasn't either, after being rejected by a 6-1 margin.
Western Supplement / Southwest Rider
and New Jersey Local 177
The Western supplement and big Southwest Rider and the New Jersey Local 177 supplement all need to be voted.
Hoffa, Hall and Western officials saw the Southwest Rider, with over 20,000 Teamsters in California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, defeated by nearly a 3-1 margin back in June.
Members have been told for months that "soon" they would get a look at the new health care benefits they will be offered in a separate "carve-out" health fund. Will "soon" finally come in November?
Meanwhile, have IBT officials bargained any improvements on other important issues in the past four months? The brownout continues.
September 6, 2013: Hoffa-Hall have launched a PR offensive to try to pass the rejected supplements in the Central Region and Pennsylvania.
Ballots will be mailed Sept. 18 and counted Oct. 9 for a number of rejected supplements, including: the Central Region, Ohio Rider, Michigan Rider, Local 243 Rider, Metro Philly Supplement, Local 623 Supplement, and Western Pennsylvania Supplement.
Western locals and New Jersey Local 177 have also reached an agreement with UPS on their healthcare plan which they say will be equal to or better than the enhanced Central States TeamCare Plan.
After being forced by the Vote No movement to reverse many healthcare cuts, the International Union is pulling out all the stops to push for members to approve the rejected contract supplements.
The International Union is sending every UPS Teamster a contract mailing—and a promotional DVD. TeamCare representatives are fanning out to Local Union meetings over the next two weeks. TeamCare has a hotline for answering members' questions too at 1-800-323-5000.
Unlike the information Brownout that ruled over the contract negotiations, members will have a chance to get answers to their questions.
On a conference call with stewards from these rejected supplements, Ken Hall said "confusion over healthcare" led to the No Vote.
What exactly does Hall think members were confused about? Members voted No to stop healthcare cuts, protect their benefits and win improvements in their supplements.
Vote No Organizing Continues
For many members, the fight continues.
"I'm proud of what we won with Vote No power. But I'll never Vote Yes for less," said Bobby Curry, a leader of the Vote No movement in Philadelphia Local 623. "We don't want concessions when UPS made $4.5 billion last year. We're united for improvements, including more full-time jobs."
Teamsters in the Central Region are also gearing up for a second Vote No effort.
"The changes to TeamCare are a step in the right direction but don't come near to matching what we had before. There is nothing in the new contract that keeps the Central States trustees from cutting benefits or raising the cost for members. At this point I can't tell who Hoffa and Hall are working for but I am relatively sure it isn't me," said Roger Austin, a Local 215 package steward from Owensboro, Kentucky.
Many members aren't happy that the new TeamCare plan snuck in a deductible in the last year of the contract. UPS Teamsters who are already in TeamCare have an even worse deal. They will have to pay a deductible $100 ind./$200 family on Jan. 1.
If we're all in the same TeamCare health plan then we all deserve the same coverage.
The Central Region Supplement is home to other hot-button issues beyond healthcare.
To name just one, there's almost no change to the 17(i) loophole, which lets management fire employees for 'other serious offenses.' Other supplements don't have this dangerous loophole.
"The new offer in the Central is just a warmed-over version of the one we rejected," said Columbus Local 413 member Nick Perry. "We need to Vote No again and make them finish the job."
September 6, 2013: Ken Hall says "confusion over healthcare" caused members to Vote No and reject a record number of UPS contract supplements.
What exactly does Hall think members were confused about? Members voted No to stop healthcare cuts and fight to protect their benefits.
Hall made his statement on a conference call on Thursday night with shop stewards, saying, "I understand your supplements were voted down because of 'confusion about healthcare.'"
Hall claimed they planned to improve TeamCare all along, saying, "We anticipated but couldn't commit to" the TeamCare improvements until after the national contract was approved.
Some local officers have also started repeating this ridiculous claim. It's an insult to members' intelligence.
With UPS making $4.5 billion, Hoffa-Hall gave them concessions and agreed to healthcare cuts.
The Vote No movement forced them to reverse many of these cuts and improve TeamCare benefits.
Ken Hall is the one confused about TeamCare, not Teamster members.
September 6, 2013: Pension increases are on the line as contract talks continue in New York Local 804.
Local 804 members won a $400 pension increase in the new contract, with a $300 increase scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1—but pension trustees from UPS agreed to vote for these increases only after the supplement is ratified.
Under the Pension Protection Act, Local 804 members needs to ratify a contract by early October or the pension cannot be increased until 2015 or later.
The Local 804 Bargaining Committee, including shop stewards, is working to negotiate improvements and put out a new contract to vote in time for the October deadline for a pension increase.
September 4, 2013: The Vote No movement has reversed healthcare cuts and won better benefits. Remember when they said your healthcare benefits were negotiated in the national contract and could not be improved? Members have proven them wrong.
Ken Hall and TeamCare representatives unveiled new and improved TeamCare coverage at a national meeting of Teamster officers today in Chicago.
After repeatedly telling members that healthcare was a done deal, Hall reversed himself, improved the benefits and blamed himself for the healthcare debacle.
Other issues still remain to be addressed in the rejected supplements—including more full-time jobs at airport facilities and hubs, the 17(i) loophole in the Central, and other supplemental issues. Ballots on some renegotiated supplements could go out as soon as Sept. 18.
Central States TeamCare has put up a new website with information about the new plan. A mailing from Ken Hall on the new plan is available here. A summary of the TeamCare coverage that was rejected on the first vote is available here.
Members should study the new TeamCare coverage needs carefully and get answers to their questions at upcoming meetings with TeamCare representatives.
An initial review of the new coverage reveals that rank-and-file power and the Vote No movement have defeated most cuts and restored most of their healthcare coverage:
- Deductibles for the in-network PPO have been eliminated until the last year of the contract when there is a $100 per person / $200 per family deductible.
- Retiree healthcare coverage will be available for spouses and children who would have been denied coverage under the old plan. Spouses will be covered to age 65 or Medicare whichever comes first. Children will be covered to age 19, or to age 25 if a qualified student.
- Prescription co-pays have been eliminated for mail-order prescriptions and set at $5 for generic (or brand if no generic equivalent) from any pharmacy in the CVS Caremark network. The old TeamCare allowed up to $50 co-pays on prescriptions!
- Dental coverage has been improved and the $1,500 annual cap has been eliminated.
The Vote No movement has even won some improvements for members in the South, the Carolinas, and parts of the Central who were already covered by the old Central States TeamCare plan. Rank-and-file power pays off.
Tell Us What You Think
By organizing and Voting No members have stopped key benefit cuts and won better benefits—something Hoffa-Hall and many local officials said was impossible.
What do you think of the improved TeamCare coverage? What questions do you have? What does this say about rank-and-file power? And what should the Vote No movement and TDU's Make UPS Deliver network do next?
Click here to get a leaflet on those proposals. Copy and distribute widely.
Teamster officials now claim that in September they will reveal to members what healthcare benefits will be included in the next offer, and then will bargain with UPS over other vital issues.
We need to stay united and be prepared to Say No One More Time to win gains and protect our healthcare benefits.
August 30 Day of Action
Some UPS Teamsters in the Southwest are organizing rallies and gate-leafleting for tomorrow, August 30. This marks two full months since the historic No vote.
We encourage all UPS Teamsters to get the word out in the weeks to come.
August 21, 2013: Hoffa and Hall say it is impossible for UPS Teamsters to win a thing. They won't bargain to protect healthcare, and they won't bargain for real changes in the Central Supplement. We say UPS workers can win. Here's how...
First, if your supplemental negotiators are working to win gains, then back them, including the rank and filers on your negotiating committee. Get involved. That's Teamster solidarity.
But that is not the case in many of the supplements, including the largest ones. The Central Region Supplement has a second crappy deal (currently under wraps) they are going to try to sell. They waited two months, then settled it in one bargaining session with zero input from UPS Teamsters.
Download a Central Region Leaflet to distribute.
Ken Hall's Tactics
Hall is meeting with certain officers (not with working Teamsters!) telling them how to scare members into giving up. First, he says he will not bargain to reverse the health coverage concession. Second, he says if members vote no again, it raises the possibility of a strike vote on the supplement because the third vote could be a strike vote, per the Teamster constitution.
We say: that is exactly what gives the members power!
If the Central Region Supplement – with 50,000 UPS Teamsters – is voted down, UPS is going to change their bargaining to avoid a strike vote.
Hall and UPS are counting on members giving up and eating the crap they are serving up in the second offer.
We are counting on a network of dedicated Teamsters, with support from some local officers.
What We Can Win
Better health benefits can be won. UPS can put increased money into the TeamCare fund, to match and guarantee current benefit levels. They made $4.5 billion in profits paying those benefits last year, and they can do the same next year. Sadly, the second offer in the Central Region does nothing on this vital issue.
Why is the amount of UPS's contribution to TeamCare kept a secret from members? Why isn't the weekly dollar amount written in the contract, just as the contribution to all other Health and Welfare funds is listed in the various supplements? Because they don't want you to see how much UPS is saving on this concession!
We can also win reasonable gains in the supplemental agreements and correct other concessions.
What Will It Take?
The vote in the Central Region on the first offer was 11,491 No to 8,381 Yes.
Hall is counting on the No vote going down. But we know there are more Teamsters out there to reach – in every local. The No vote can go up, and that will send a strong signal to the bargaining table. One more big No vote will put the ball in UPS's court, or they will face a possible strike vote.
Do you want to be part of making it happen? Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) is looking for Teamsters who want to work together to win contract improvements with members who are making it happen. That's what TDU is all about.
Contact TDU's UPS Network at 313-842-2600 or click here to send us a message if you’d like to get involved or learn more.
August 19, 2013: On August 16, the IBT's Central Region Negotiating Committee quietly reached a deal with management to make just two minor "tweaks" to the rejected first offer. Apparently Hoffa-Hall will keep this stinky deal under wraps until their PR machine puts perfume on it.
Reportedly one change is a minor tweak in the notorious Article 17 (i), which allows Teamsters to be immediately fired for all "other serious offenses." This clause does not need a tweak, it needs to be deleted.
The other reported change in this proposal is to remove the Article 3.3 (e) language added in the first offer, regarding extending the seniority of workers who have reached their maximum medical improvement but still cannot perform their assigned job.
That's it?! Two months since the Central Supplement was heavily rejected and that's all Hoffa-Hall's Central Committee can do?
Nothing to protect the present level of health care benefits. No improvement worth mentioning in the supplement. Failure to eliminate Article 17 (i), which is the worst discharge language of any UPS supplement.
They can't sell this proposal honestly, so expect threats and lies coming at you. They are going to tell you it is impossible to stop the health care cuts, and other baloney.
It's time to crank up the Vote No action in the Central Region.
Interested in being part of that action? We are looking for Teamsters who want to work together to win contract improvements with members who are making it happen.
Contact TDU's UPS Network at 313-842-2600 or click here to send us a message online if you’d like to get involved or learn more.
|"We're not paying $90. We're not|
paying $9. We're not paying 9¢.
We're not paying premiums
for health insurance for a company
that made $4.389 billion."
— Ken Hall, Conference Call with
UPS Shop Stewards, Feb. 2, 2013
|"What we need to be doing is|
sending a message and making
sure that our members understand
that we're not going to be talking
about concessions, we're going
to be talking about improvements."
— Ken Hall
Speech on UPS Contract
June 30, 2011
August 9, 2013: The UPS and UPS Freight contract negotiations were supposed to be the opening act in Ken Hall’s bid to succeed Hoffa as Teamster General President. But the show did not go according to script.
Hall started out talking tough. He vowed, "We're not going to be talking about concessions." Hall added that he hoped UPS made $10 billion in profits because, "the more they make, the more we take."
Members were ready to follow his lead. They turned out in huge numbers at contract rallies across the country to oppose healthcare concessions where Hall led chants of, "No way, we won't pay."
How did all the tough talk turn to contract concessions so fast?
Smoke and Mirrors
From the beginning, both UPS management and the Hoffa administration knew that Teamster members were never going to accept paying healthcare premiums—not when UPS is making nearly $4.5 billion a year.
But the company wanted to cut healthcare costs and control them for the future—and Hall wanted a contract that he could use to run for General President.
So Ken Hall scripted a UPS contract campaign designed to make him come out looking like the hero who stopped co-pays by "forcing UPS" to put members into a union health plan: Teamcare.
But when Teamster members realized the deal would hike their healthcare costs, they refused to follow the script—voting to reject a record 18 contract supplements and nearly overturning the national contract.
Since then, Hall has gone from talking tough about management to getting tough on Teamster members—telling members that healthcare is a done deal and making a full-court press to push through the rejected supplements.
Lessons for the Future
Winning good contracts takes more than a scripted contract campaign. It takes a plan to mobilize the union's power and pressure the employer.
UPS is no pushover. But they depend on Teamsters to deliver their packages. They worry mightily about their public image and the threat of shippers bolting to nonunion competitors.
That gives UPSers leverage to win better contracts. But only if our union is willing to use it.
The UPS and UPS Freight contracts exposed the empty talk of Hoffa-Hall and other top Teamster leaders.
But the contract has also taught us something about ourselves.
Teamster members have shown we are ready to stand up to
contract concessions—more ready than the IBT.
Teamster members have shown the power of grassroots organizing—using leaflets, petitions, rallies, meetings, Facebook and the internet to share information and mobilize against givebacks.
And Teamster members have shown the power of linking up nationally. If we had voted down one or two supplements, this would all have been swept under the rug. Teaming up across the country gave members leverage and power.
That's why Hoffa-Hall are working so hard now to convince members they are powerless.
Rebuilding Union Power at UPS
Hoffa-Hall and UPS management want to put the contract behind them and get back to business-as-usual—big profits for UPS, and production harassment and weak contract enforcement for us.
UPS Teamsters can rebuild union power at UPS and the Vote No fight against concessions has shown us how.
TDU gives UPS Teamsters the tools to get organized locally and coordinate with concerned Teamsters across North America.
We don't have to be bystanders in our own union while Ken Hall performs his smoke and mirrors routine.
We can move to center stage and rebuild union power for the members.
TDU is looking for concerned Teamsters who want to work together to win contract improvements. Get involved today. Click here to contact the UPS Network. Contact the UPS Freight Network by clicking here.