April 2, 2010: IBT Vice President Ken Hall says that the UPS Freight National Panel is doing an “outstanding job.”
So why did our union only win five grievances at the March panel?
Teamsters at UPS Freight didn’t have much to cheer about when they reviewed the results of their national grievance panel.
Out of 27 grievances heard, the union won only five cases—and none dealing with subcontracting.
The UPS Freight National Panel met March 3-5 in Ft. Lauderdale. The union referred back five more grievances for the local to resolve with the company. The panel postponed or put on hold 36 more grievances.
The union has little to show for its time except for a few small monetary victories. The largest victory by far was in a case where the company will pay nine days of back pay.
The panel deadlocked an important Article 44 grievance from Dallas that challenges the use of rail. Now the union can choose to take that grievance to arbitration.
“The numbers from the panel don’t lie. I know our union can do a better job enforcing our contract. It starts with getting the members informed and involved. And then we’ve got to turn up the heat on management for real,” commented G.W. Owensby, a road driver from Kansas City Local 41.
“I know members are willing to do something because we’re getting run over by subcontractors.”
Over 40 subcontracting grievances were on the docket for this panel, but the union only took action in three cases involving rail, not cases of subcontracting involving nonunion carriers.
Fourteen subcontracting grievances were withdrawn, five were postponed, and 12 were put on committee hold. Three subcontracting grievances were scheduled on the docket “in error.”
At the end of the panel, the union announced that it will take a “lead case” on subcontracting from Dallas Local 745 to arbitration.
In a press release at the time of the national panel, Ken Hall, the International Vice President in charge of contract enforcement at UPS Freight, said the national grievance committee is doing “an outstanding job” on the issue and the lack of progress on reducing subcontracting is “absolutely not their fault.”
Who’s to Blame?
So whose fault is it? And more importantly, what’s the plan for reducing the practice and putting more Teamster members to work?
“Ken Hall says there is not sufficient documentation or facts to back up the grievances on subcontracting. We see the facts on the ground everyday. But we haven’t seen any information from the union on how to document these violations. And I know some stewards have really put together a lot of documentation,” said John Weir, a road driver from 533 in Reno, Nev. “We’re willing to do what it takes to get this problem solved.”
Members want contract enforcement and are ready to follow a plan that works.
“When TDU started shining a light on subcontracting at UPS Freight, I knew I had to get more involved. I ordered a bundle of the Teamster Voice and have been getting them out to other Teamsters. We’re building a network to get this contract enforced.”
David Loyd, UPS Freight, Local 150, Sacramento, Calif.
April 2, 2010: Amid all the debate on health care, many Teamsters are asking a nitty-gritty question—how will this affect my Teamster health coverage?
The answer is not much. Two things that go into effect this year which will benefit some Teamsters are:
- All plans must provide for coverage of dependent children up till age 26.
- No plan can impose a lifetime cap on benefits.
The first one benefits Teamsters who are supporting young-adult children who are out of school. Especially in the current depression, this is a large group of Teamster families.
The second will help Teamsters in plans with a lifetime cap, which can easily be exceeded in cases of treatment for cancer, for example.
For Teamsters with employer-paid health care, the new law will not have big impact, but will have some effects, especially indirect ones, as various parts of the law come into force in the next few years.
A timeline and summary of the various elements from the Detroit Free Press are available here.
A slide show regarding the impact, prepared by the AFL-CIO, which supported the legislation, is available here.
April 2, 2010: The Teamsters Union, like all major unions, raises voluntary political donations from members (the DRIVE program), and uses the resources to inform voters and influence legislative and regulatory measures affecting Teamster members.
Unions can never match corporate money, but do spend a fair amount. The best bang for our buck is when our union mobilizes members to join in campaigns to protect our pensions and pass laws to protect workers’ rights.
Do you want to know where the Teamster money goes?
You can look-up which candidates got DRIVE funds in each election cycle here.
You can learn a little about Teamster lobbying efforts here.
This same website can help you learn about corporate money and its vast influence, and the “revolving door” between key government officers and the lobbyists and consultants.
This information is compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), which is a nonpartisan research group based in Washington, D.C. that tracks money in politics and the effect of money and lobbying activity on elections and public policy.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) is the reform movement of Teamsters working to make our union stronger and more democratic. TDU does not endorse political candidates office in federal, state or local elections.
Cut the Race Car and the Perks
The Teamsters are considering a pay cut at ABF. What needs to happen before we get screwed over is this: ABF needs to get rid of the race car and let the CEO and the other super over-paid suits skip their bonuses and commission for a year.
Then start getting rid of useless stuff like the company magazine I get every month or even cut it back to just black and white paper.
If I see any of these things happen, I might consider skipping a cost of living raise this year. But as far as capping a vacation, I have been busting my butt for seven years and my three week vacation will go into effect in September. I plan on spending the days with my four-year old son. DO NOT let ABF screw over its employees’ time off with our families.
Nathan Runion, ABF Local 391, North Carolina
Multiple Pensions and Equal Sacrifice
Isn’t Tyson Johnson the same guy that is selling a pay concession to the ABF guys? How many paychecks and pensions do these guys need before they let everyone have theirs at 100 percent?
There should be only ONE paycheck or pension available to any one member. Pick the ONE you want, and forfeit the rest. Equal sacrifice for all parties, isn’t that what Tyson said on that conference call?
Nunzio Italia, ABF Local 710, Chicago
Don’t Roll Over at ABF
ABF Teamsters should not be lumped into the YRC pool of concessions. Our company is different in many ways and different financially.
To just throw out the same pay cut as YRC is not fair practice. The Master Freight Agreement has been broken since the YRC went on their own concession agreement.
Don’t just roll over and say Yes to everything that the company wants. Let’s investigate what will help the employees and the company together. What sacrifices does everyone have to take? It should be a collective effort from everyone.
Steve Young, ABF Local 695, Madison, Wis.
UPS Freight Subcontracting
In Fontana, Calif., they have been using subcontractors for two years—and for two years cutting runs on every holiday, including Good Friday and shipping it by rail.
You are telling me that a company that can’t plan anything two hours ahead, already knows two or three days ahead that there is no freight coming back?
It is the fault of the union for letting them get away with subcontracting in the beginning. THIS IS BULL.
Terry McFarland, UPS Freight Local 63, Fontana, Calif.
Caution on Pension Bills
TDU should not support any pension reform bill until we know more about how it will protect Teamster retirees and their spouses. This language about partitioning and “orphans” has me really worried.
I opted for the surviving spouse option so I already take a reduced pension benefit. What do we know about how the new pension legislation will protect my wife when I die? How do we know the government will continue to pay the same benefits that the New York State Teamster Fund promised me when I signed on for my benefits?
Don’t be so quick to jump on the bandwagon until we have all the facts.
Donald Piatek, CF (retired) Local 449, Buffalo, N.Y.