February 26, 2010: Teamsters are worried about our pensions.
New legislation could help save our benefits. But it won’t be won without strong union action.
Special Pension Coverage• Teamsters, YRC Team Up on Pension Legislation
Wall Street banks got their bailout and are back to making record profits. But Teamster pensions are still reeling from the hurt these banks put on the stock market, the economy, and on our benefit funds.
Our union has a chance to strengthen our benefits now and for the future. It’s time to act.
Legislation has been introduced in Congress that would strengthen union benefits. Under House Bill 3936, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) would help finance the pensions of retirees whose companies have gone out of business.
The International Union supports this legislation and is saying the right things on the Teamster website. But it’s time to move from talk to action.
Pension security legislation won’t be free. Politicians will only pass it if they are pressured to do so. And, there is the possibility that other legislation will be put forward, which would cut the pensions of so-called “orphan” retirees whose former employers are out of business. We need to be prepared to fight.
More than ten million Americans are covered by multi-employer pension plans.
The base of support is there to build a coalition for workers’ retirement security. But that base needs to be mobilized.
Teamsters Can Take the Lead
Our union can take the lead in this fight and join forces with other unions, pension funds, AARP, and other allies.
If necessary, we need to be ready to march on Washington.
The Hoffa administration has delivered the worst pension cuts in Teamster history. Teamster members and retirees have paid the price.
It’s time for the International Union to take action to fight for the future of our pensions. Working Teamsters need to be ready to do our part.
Retirement security is a fight that can be won. But not if we sit on the sidelines.
What do you think? Click here to contact TDU's rank-and-file pension network.
March 8, 2010: Have you ever tried to get information from the new “IBT-UPS Pension Plan” that covers all full time UPS Teamsters in the Central and Southern Regions and the Carolinas?
If not, consider yourself lucky, because it’s not easy.
Members with questions for the IBT-UPS Pension Plan are meeting an information Brownout. Consider these Teamsters:
- A part-timer with three years of service in Columbus, Ohio Local 413 who plans to go full-time wrote a letter to Atlanta asking if there was a reciprocal agreement between the UPS Part-Time Plan and the new full-timer plan. He got a one-page, unsigned letter that didn’t answer the question. The fund also stapled a sheet to their non-answer suggesting that he should inquire again after he has “22 years of vesting.”
- A 30-year Teamster in Iowa wrote to the IBT-UPS fund and asked what the impact on his pension would be if he were elected or appointed to a full-time position as a Teamster officer. He also got a one page, unsigned letter that didn’t answer the question.
Maybe either one of these Teamsters could go to the IBT-UPS plan’s website to get the information. But there isn’t one.
A pension plan covering 44,000 Teamsters has no website and a no-name staff. The address is simply UPS corporation headquarters.
Some Teamsters report that they get a friendly voice by calling the UPS pension number (800-643-4442), but they are just sent a form to fill out to request what benefits they have earned.
Would you believe this is supposedly a Teamster plan, with four Teamster trustees, as well as four management?
Of course none of those four Teamster trustees are actually in this plan. They are covered by multiple, lucrative pensions. Two of them—Ken Hall and Ken Wood—are in the $200,000 Club.
Members are raising critical questions and they have the right to know the answers.
Consider the question about whether there is a reciprocal agreement between UPS’s own two plans, for part-timers and full-timers. Perhaps UPS refuses to answer because the answer is NO.
In that case, every part-timer who goes full-time in the future would start over from scratch, without being able to combine part-time and full-time years to achieve 30-and-out. Combining part-time and full-time years to get to 30 years was the norm prior to this new plan in 2008.
Have Hoffa and Hall given this right away? Do our union trustees plan to get this fixed?
Consider the Kentucky Teamster who wrote to the plan, with 25 full-time years, most of them in the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Plan, and now in the IBT-UPS plan.
Guess what? His 20-plus years in the Western Teamster plan count for nothing but his vested rights, so he will get half a pension at best.
Are the Teamster trustees planning to fix that?
Can UPSers Run for Union Office?
Consider the question of becoming a union representative. Most Teamsters will never become a business rep or union president, but having qualified UPS Teamsters able to take those positions is mighty important to UPS Teamsters and our union.
The IBT-UPS plan’s anonymous management staffer refused to answer that question, because if you take a union rep job, you leave the IBT-UPS plan! You return to the Central States Plan, apparently to start over again.
Why can’t a Teamster who becomes a union rep stay in the plan? Is this a deal to keep UPS Teamsters from running for office? Maybe our Teamster trustees will explain it to us.
How Much Does the Plan Cost?
Here’s another question Teamster trustees might want to tell the rank and file. How much does this plan cost UPS?
Right now, the only information on this comes to local unions who have to pick up pension fund contributions when one of their members takes a temporary union position, such as working on an organizing drive.
When that happens, local unions pay the UPS plan $25 per day in pension contributions.
Why only $25 ($3.12 per hour)? Is that all this IBT-UPS pension plan costs?
That would help explain why UPS was in such a hurry to get out of Central States and into a company plan. UPS contributes more than $7 an hour to Teamster funds—the exact amount varies depending on the plan. If UPS is saving hundreds of millions per year, that is important information.
Teamster members are entitled to answers. And we’re entitled to get what Hoffa and Ken Hall promised: a fair pension plan.
You can bet that Teamsters for a Democratic Union will work with Teamster members to make it happen.
Answer Our Questions
“Members have questions for the UPS Teamster Pension that go beyond our benefit numbers. We need to know that somebody’s minding the store and knows what’s going on when it comes to Teamster questions and concerns.
“The Teamster side trustees—Ken Hall, Ken Wood, Dave Robinson and Mike Stapleton—need to make sure that while UPS runs the operation, it’s as open and accessible on information as it can be.”
Michael Savwoir, UPS, Local 41, Kansas City
February 26, 2010: Did the International cut a secret deal to let UPS eliminate thousands of full-time 22.3 jobs?
In a tough economy, good full-time jobs with union benefits are at a premium. But the Hoffa administration has let UPS eliminate thousands of good full-time jobs that they are required to maintain by the contract.
Article 22.3 of the national master agreement requires UPS to maintain the 20,000 full-time combo jobs won as a result of the 1997 strike. Hundreds of grievances have been filed on this issue by members, stewards and local unions. Not a single one has been heard by the national grievance panel.
The complete lack of enforcement—and the information brownout from our union on the issue—has fueled rumors that the Hoffa administration has made a secret “handshake agreement” with UPS not to push the issue until volume increases.
The contract language is crystal clear and it makes no exception for volume. Article 22.3 says: “The number of full-time jobs created under Article 22, Section 3 of the 1997-2002 and the 2002-2008 contracts shall not be reduced.” Period.
After the 1997 strike, the company refused to create the first batch of 22.3 jobs. Our union took the issue to arbitration where the company relied on a sentence in the contract that declared the company’s obligations under Article 22.3 would be “null and void” if “there is a reduction in volume causing layoffs.”
UPS lost that arbitration and was forced to create the jobs and pay back wages. Then that language—and any reference to volume—was eliminated from the 2002 and 2008 contracts. It is hard to see what the company’s argument could be at this point.
The first national grievance panel of the year is scheduled for March 1 to 5 in Fort Lauderdale. Twenty locals have Article 22.3 grievances on the docket—including locals in every region. Many other grievances are being held up while the company stonewalls on the issue.
Thousands of Teamster members have signed a petition calling on the International Union to process a national grievance on the issue that would enforce the rights of every affected Teamster.
The International Union has the power to enforce the contract and make UPS deliver all 20,000 full-time combo jobs, with backpay, that we went on strike to win. It’s time to use it.
By David Loyd, UPS Freight, Local 150, Sacramento, Calif.
We here in the South Sacramento service center need to be added to the report on UPS Freight subcontracting. In the past seven months we have lost 10 road jobs.
Prior to June, 2008, our terminal had three sleeper teams scheduled to Harrisburg, Penn., two to Kansas City, Kan. (making a turn and a half), and two to Dallas (also making a turn and a half).
The Harrisburg and Dallas teams are now doing halfway meets with teams from those service centers. That’s close to a 50 percent cut in pay. The rest of the freight we used to move on teams is being moved by Landspan, CRST, or by rail. Our Kansas City schedules are now being moved directly by Landspan and CRST.
Our Denver freight is being moved by HVH out of Denver. We had extra board runs going to Portland, Ore. every other day—one starting on Monday morning and the other on Tuesday. Now that so-called “overflow” freight is being put on Werner trailers. That’s eliminated at least two jobs a week from the extra board.
We asked management about losing the runs and were told they can do this because there’s no return freight. That’s not true. With the sleeper work, when we had scheduled runs, we had freight going both ways. We grieved on it but it’s been 16 months and no word on any decision.
It’s clear from the reports from other service centers that what we face in South Sacramento is just about the same as everywhere. Management is dispatching to reduce or eliminate our union jobs. This has been unfolding almost since the ratification of our contract. It’s time for the IBT to show us what they mean by union power and that starts with challenging UPS freight on subcontracting.
What's going on in your terminal? Click here to tell TDU about subcontracting and other violations, and get advice from a TDU organizer.
February 26, 2010: UPS Freight Teamsters have filed over 40 national grievances to close the loophole on subcontracting at UPS Freight.
Will the IBT take action to protect Teamster jobs?
UPS Freight management is using the one-way loophole in Article 44 and driving load after load right through it. Teamster drivers are laid-off while subcontractors are hauling our loads.
Now the IBT has a chance to stop it.
UPS Freight SubcontractingRead TDU's report, see the map, and tell us about violations in your area.
A National Problem
Members and local unions have filed over 40 national subcontracting grievances. These grievances are on the docket to be heard at the UPS Freight national panel, March 3-5 in Ft. Lauderdale.
Members and local officers have filed grievances in Nashville, Dallas, Alabama, Florida, Columbus, Chicago, North Carolina, New York, Arizona, Las Vegas, Seattle, Reno, and more.
It’s clear that UPS Freight management is getting away with subcontracting across the country.
Click here to download the docket for the March panel.
Time to Take a Stand
Back at the national panel in July, the union and the company deadlocked subcontracting grievances from Dallas to arbitration.
That same panel ruled that there was no contract violation when the company used subcontractors in Lexington, Ky.
Eight subcontracting grievances were delayed at the last panel and carried over to this panel.
Members need IBT officials to start sending a stronger message to UPS management.
Our union has the power to take action and stop UPS Freight management from violating our contract. The March panel is the time to take a stand.
Inform. Organize. Act.
TDU is helping working Teamsters form a UPS Freight network to share information, mobilize for change, and enforce the contract.
Members plan to organize conference calls, email alerts, hand bills and other initiatives to address issues at UPS Freight.
To get involved in the UPS Freight network, call (313) 842-2600 or click here to send us a message.
Stay in the loop. Click here to get email updates from Teamsters for a Democratic Union.
Read the report on subcontracting at UPS Freight.
Tell us about contract violations in your area. A TDU organizer will contact you with advice.
February 26, 2010: Commercial movers in New York are mobilizing to end decades of contract givebacks and save their pensions and healthcare.
New York Local 814 moves New York—literally. The local represents the commercial movers who 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. Givebacks have gutted members’ pay and benefits and divided the membership into tiers of higher and lower-paid workers.
Last year, members voted by 72 percent to dump the old Local 814 officers and elected the 814 New Directions team.
The New York Moving and Storage contract expires on April 30. Local 814 is mobilizing to win a contract that reverses the trends that have undermined good union jobs and benefits in the industry.
Sold Short for Years
Under the current contract, moving companies don’t have to pay any contributions for casuals. But they’re supposed to hire at least one industry worker for every casual. That’s called the “one-to-one ratio.”
For years, the employers violated the ratio and shorted the benefit funds, with disastrous results for the members. The Local 814 pension fund could go into the Red Zone at the end of March, and the health fund needs increased contributions to get back on its feet.
Standing Up for Good Jobs
On Feb. 9, over 150 movers turned out to launch the local’s new contract campaign.
At their meeting, members and the new leaders set out a platform for winning a good contract:
- Save the pension and benefit funds
- Make employers pay benefit contributions for all movers, including casuals.
- Reduce the pay gap between tiers
“The runaway abuse of casuals is killing us,” said Andy Diclemente, a mover at Globe Storage and Moving. “I’m going around and telling the members that we need to fight for contributions for all movers.”
The Fight Starts Now
Members are already turning up the heat on employers who violate the contract.
In January, 25 members met and formed the Local 814 Enforcement Committee.
Now the committee is out on the streets, checking jobs, signing up new members, and enforcing the one-to-one ratio.
The union discovered that Clancy-Cullen Moving and Storage had been using a hidden team of nonunion workers for years. Now the company owes over $800,000 to the benefit funds, and they’ve had to start using Local 814 members.
The committee is bringing new members into the union, getting more work for industry workers, and making employers pay more into members’ pensions and healthcare.
“We know we’re not going to solve all our problems in one contract,” said Diclemente. “But we’re determined to fight for improvements that move us in the right direction.”
Moving in a New Direction
“The runaway abuse of casuals is killing us. I’m going around and telling the members that we need to fight for contributions for all movers.
“We know we’re not going to solve all our problems in one contract.
But we’re determined to fight for improvements that move us in the right direction.”
Andy Diclemente, Globe Storage & Moving Local 814, New York
February 26, 2010: As the January Teamster Voice reported, subcontracting is a big issue at UPS Freight. But it’s not the only issue.
Members from around the country reported in on a range of problems in response to our initial survey on subcontracting.
Subcontracting remains a big concern and there are other issues, but members report a small victory. A grievance was won on the right to request single vacation days. Teamsters must give the company at least seven days prior notice of the request but there is no longer a “window” for making the request in writing no more than a week in advance.
Vacation time is an issue. Management limits the city board to one vacation bid per week with a second at their discretion. This year, over half the board didn’t get any summer vacation bids. A grievance was filed and found for the company. UPS Freight offers the same overall number of weeks per year—just not when Teamster members most need them. The contract needs language stipulating a percentage of the board per week may be off for vacation. Even though it’s in both the national UPS and master freight contracts, it didn’t make it into the UPS Freight language.
The road board has been halved over the past year. The only guaranteed runs are to South Holland (Chicago) and that’s only a 216-mile turn. Drivers get time on the dock but have seen their pay significantly reduced from years past.
Still no work rules—just like every other terminal we’ve heard from. Recently, a Local 135 representative told a meeting of UPS Freight Teamsters that they wouldn’t want what the company is proposing, but he wouldn’t show them anything either. He had no answer for where things stood and why work rules weren’t being bargained. The contract calls for work rules within 60 days of ratification.
San Leandro, Calif.
Members report operations have changed significantly over the past couple of years. They recall a number of sleeper team runs to Harrisburg, Penn. and other Eastern points that no longer exist. Some of that work is now on loads for “meet-up” runs with Harrisburg drivers in Nebraska. But they know if there’s more freight coming out of the east heading into Northern California. And they know they’ve lost work to the rail (multiple trailers per day) and seen lay-offs and reduced earnings for those working.
What's going on in your terminal? Click here to tell TDU about subcontracting and other violations, and get advice from a TDU organizer.
February 26, 2010: UPS is fighting a grievance all the way to the national panel over a supervisor who urinated in the back of a package car during a driver’s OJS.
Is this sup not up to speed on UPS methods? Or does anything go if it helps hike up a driver’s SPORH? You be the judge.
The first national grievance panel of the year is March 1 to 5 in Ft. Lauderdale.
TDU makes the docket and minutes of national grievance panels available. Click here to see them.
February 26, 2010: UPS raked in $757 million in profits in the Fourth Quarter—nearly tripling its profits over the same period last year. Overall, Brown made $2.15 billion in profits in 2009. That’s after taxes.
The company’s revenue is down from the Fourth Quarter last year—$12.4 billion compared to $12.7 billion. But profits are up because of “cost-cutting” according to press reports, including Teamster layoffs. Brown is squeezing higher profits out of fewer employees.
“UPS has emerged from the worst recession in decades leaner and more focused,” said CEO Scott Davis.
Too bad UPS Teamsters can’t say the same about our union, which has grown soft on enforcing our contract and protecting our job security.
Production harassment, 22.3 full-time job elimination, 9.5 violations, and other contract violations are up. And so are UPS’s profits.
February 26, 2010: For years, Local 854 members in New York City have had substandard wages and working conditions compared to other school bus unions in the city. Now Teamster drivers and escorts are coming together to enforce their rights and demand better contracts and union representation.
Teamsters Local 854 represents some 2,500 school bus drivers and escorts (bus assistants in charge of student safety). For years, the local was controlled by the Gambino crime family.
An internal Teamster report commissioned by the Hoffa administration documented how corrupt Local 854 officials negotiated substandard contracts to help their employer friends “effect considerable cost savings by paying lower wages and fewer benefits” compared to the contracts negotiated by ATU Local 1181—a union run controlled by the Genovese crime family.
The mobsters who ran Local 854 have been barred from the union. But Local 854 members continue to work under substandard contracts which are routinely violated by employers.
Some Local 854 members have had enough. They are taking on pay and overtime violations and preparing for upcoming contract negotiations.
“We want our Teamsters contract to be as good as the Local 1181 contract. We do the same work in the same industry and we deserve equal pay and equal rights,” said Juan Carlos Rodriguez, a TDU member at Consolidated Bus Transit (CBT).
Local 1181 members make higher wages. They make overtime after ten hours work. Depending on the contract, Local 854 members can work over a ten to twelve hour spread before they get overtime pay.
Enforcing Our Rights
Local 854 members are joining TDU and holding workshops on how to enforce their contracts and demand stronger union representation. Now they’re taking action.
CBT Drivers filed a group grievance demanding that the company pay members all of the hours and overtime pay they are entitled to. The contract requires CBT to start paying drivers at their report time. Some drivers are instructed to report to work as early as 6 a.m. but the company does not start paying them until 6:30 a.m.
At Empire Bus Transit, members are also standing up against nonpayment of wages and overtime. The company has refused to pay some drivers a contractually-mandated wage increase since September. At first, the drivers’ shop steward told them they weren’t entitled to the money. But the drivers stuck together and demanded their rights. Now the issue is in arbitration.
Empire drivers have also filed a grievance to enforce all members’ rights to overtime pay. The contract requires overtime pay whenever drivers and escorts work more than eight hours during an 11-hour spread. But the company has not been paying overtime even when employees work more than the 11 hour limit.
“There is a lot of fear and intimidation in this industry and a lot of members don’t know where to turn,” said Pierre Jerome, a driver at Empire. “TDU gives us the information and the support we need to enforce our rights.”
Equal Pay for Equal Work
“We want our Teamsters contract to be as good as the Local 1181 contract. We do the same work in the same industry and we deserve equal pay and equal rights.”
Juan Carlos Rodriguez, Consolidated Bus Transit, Local 854, New York