September 15, 2011: Local 396 Teamsters at Waste Management in Santa Ana and Irvine, Calif. are in bargaining now for their next contract—and it’s off to a bad start.
The notorious anti-union company is demanding that members pay more for their medical benefits and a pension contribution freeze.
Members are complaining that Local 396 is keeping them in the dark.
It’s a familiar story for waste Teamsters in Southern California: members going up against the biggest waste company in the U.S. are left by their local and the International Union to fend for themselves garage-by-garage.
And it sets a bad precedent: Next year the local will bargain new contracts at Waste Management covering members in Corona, Chino, and L.A. County.
September 15, 2011: The Hoffa administration has looked the other way while UPS has accelerated its SurePost program—a new service that allows UPS to deliver some residential shipments through the post office instead of package car Teamsters.
The SurePost programs targets online shippers with residential shipments that weigh less than 10 pounds. UPS Teamsters pick up and sort their packages. But final delivery is done by the Post Office.
The program is a boon for the company. The vast bulk of the work is handled by the cheapest labor at UPS—part-time sorters and hub workers. Meanwhile, package car drivers are largely cut out of the loop.
Package jobs are the majority of full-time jobs at UPS—and they are the backbone of every Teamster pension and benefit fund.
More Profits, But More Jobs?
UPS claims that SurePost is needed to help the company compete with FedEx’s SmartPost program.
The Hoffa administration has parroted the company line. Package Director Ken Hall has repeatedly defended the program saying it allows UPS Teamsters to handle “tag-along volume”—packages from shippers that enter the regular UPS system because they don’t qualify for the SurePost program.
UPS bragged in a recent management document that these tag-along packages include “the more profitable commercial ground, residential ground, air, freight and international volume.”
SurePost boosts UPS profits—but does it really protect Teamster jobs? Drivers across the country report the company is cutting and combining routes and package drivers are sitting at home.
Hoffa-Hall Go Along
At the Teamster Convention in June, Package Director Ken Hall said the union would not go to arbitration to fight SurePost because that would mean “letting the jobs go elsewhere.”
So Hoffa and Hall have given SurePost the green light without even leveraging a single concession from management or any brake on management’s runaway contract violations.
Hall says the International will “monitor the situation.”
In the meantime, the company continues to walk all over the contract. And Teamster drivers continue to drop off giant bags of packages for delivery by the Post Office.
September 15, 2011: Letter to Package Division Director Ken Hall from Local 243 Package Car Driver Martin Labut. Report on how SurePost is affecting Teamsters in your area here.
Surepost and UPS Basic to the Post Office is eliminating full-time jobs. We have drivers laid off for the first time I can remember in the summer max vacation period. Every day, routes are cut and combined. We lose about three routes a day out of 30 some routes in our center. We are delivering over 1,000 packages to the post office a week.
Here is a list of companies using SurePost and Basic that I have compiled from my routes delivery to a very small Post Office over about a week and a half: LTD, Gevalia, Lands End, JCP, Kohls, Women Within, Zully, New Balance, Shoes for Crews, Gotham, Bits and Pieces, The Paragon, Danbury Mint, Romans, Radiancy Inc, Dr Newton’s Naturals, Maidenform, HSN, GNC, ACC, M&C, Shop4Tech, SG Company, DTE Energy, Really Good Stuff, 1Saleaday.com, Lakeside Collection, Venus, FRGN, IVL, Bloomingdales, DC Fulfillment Center of CO Springs, Return Mail Ctr of Joppa MD, Cust Service Ctr of Lexington MA, and Casual Male.
I along with my Teamster brothers and sisters used to deliver many of these packages. Now a part timer is bagging these and three drivers sit home.
UPS is running package car drivers into the ground. UPS harassment is at an all-time high. Production pressure and false standards, 9.5s are being totally ignored even after grievances. Full time combo jobs are not being created.
The least you can do for the members is stop this SurePost and Basic garbage that is killing my brothers and sisters livelihoods.
Discouraged and Disgusted, your brother,
Martin Labut, 22-Year Teamster, Local 243, Detroit
September 15, 2011: Nearly 240,000 Teamsters work at UPS. Our votes can elect the next General President—but only if we’re organized.
The majority of Teamsters at UPS are voting for Sandy Pope. Half of UPS Teamsters voted for Sandy when she ran for the #2 spot in the last International Union election. Since then, her support has grown and Hoffa’s has plummeted.
It will take 150,000 votes to win this election. There are more Teamsters at UPS than that alone! But many Teamsters throw their vote away. An incredible 80 percent of Teamsters did not return their mail ballot in the last election.
UPS Teamsters can make the difference in the election. But we have to get out the vote.
Here are five things you can do to Get Out the Vote and help win this election.
- Spread the word with leaflets—especially the Sample Ballot. Leaflets on UPS issues can be downloaded at www.SandyPope2011.org including a special leaflet on part-timer issues.
Sample ballot leaflets are available too—and these are especially important. Sandy Pope is running as an Independent for General President. Any vote for a slate will cancel out the vote Sandy. Tell members: One Vote for Sandy Pope!
Bring a copy of your ballot to work and show members how to mark their ballot.
- Send Text Messages. Send a text message to everyone in your Center or hub to remind them to vote. And keep sending these messages to Get Out the Vote.
- Help Members Get Replacement Ballots. If a member doesn’t get a ballot, have them call (877) 317-2011 and request a replacement ballot. The best way to do this is to dial the number yourself on your cell phone and give it to the member to put in their replacement ballot request.
- Put Up Pole Stickers. Order Sandy Pope stickers and pole stickers and put them up outside your UPS building to keep up a constant campaign presence and remind members to vote. You can order your stickers at www.SandyPope2011.org or by calling 718-282-0282.
- Reach Out Beyond UPS. Spread the word to other Teamsters—at freight barns, grocery warehouses, soft drink companies and other Teamster employers near you. TDU can get you a list of Teamster worksites in your area.
UPS Teamsters can’t afford another five years of Hoffa. But change comes at a price. If we want to win this election, we’ve got to talk member to member and turn out every Teamster vote we can.
September 15, 2011: “We need a President that will stand up to UPS. Hoffa is letting the company walk all over the contract.
The grievance panels are a joke. Sandy Pope is our only choice for real change.”
Willie Ford, Local 71 Florence, South Carolina
Surrender on SurePost?
“UPS is sending our work via SurePost to the Post Office while Teamster drivers are being sent home. We need a General President who will fight for Teamster jobs and enforce our contract.”
Mark Day, Local 705, Chicago
Fight for Part-Timers and Inside Workers
“Hoffa and Hall have let UPS destroy full-time 22.3 jobs. They sold out part-timers in the contract by freezing starting pay, splitting raises, and making them wait a year for health benefits. We need a President that will fight for us.”
Lawrence Cruz, Local 396 Los Angeles
A Candidate Who Can Win
“Sandy Pope is the only candidate that can beat Hoffa—and that’s what we need. UPS Teamsters aren’t going to waste their vote on Gegare, a candidate who destroyed Teamster pensions and can’t win this election.”
David Thornsberry, Local 89 Louisville, Ky.
“Production harassment and unfair discipline are at an all-time high. Hoffa is playing politics with the issue, but this is no game. We need change. I’m voting Sandy Pope.”
Keith Gary, Local 804, New York
“Hoffa has had 13 years to do something about subcontracting out our feeder jobs, and it’s just gotten worse. Now at election time, they’re making more empty promises? Feeder drivers who want real leadership can help spread the word for Sandy Pope."
John Youngermann, Local 688 St. Louis
Teamsters have united in a grassroots army to elect Sandy Pope as our next Teamster General President.
The Sandy Pope campaign is bigger than TDU. But TDU members have helped lead the way every step of the campaign. Educating members, raising funds, building the campaign army, and turning out the votes we need to win.
For 35 years, TDU has brought together working Teamsters to have a voice and make a difference in our union on the job, in our locals, and in national elections.
Winning the Right to Vote
Before TDU, members didn’t have the right to vote for our union’s top officers.
TDU members led a decade-long campaign to win the right to vote. Thanks to TDU, members won that right in 1989.
A New Direction for Our Union
TDU members put that right to use in the first ever one-member one-vote election for IBT General President in 1991. TDU helped vote the old guard out of office and elected Ron Carey, our union’s first democratically elected president. Under new leadership, our union reversed a 16-year decline in membership. Mobilized members won the 1997 UPS strike—labor’s biggest victory in decades.
Taking on Hoffa
After 13 years of Hoffa, Teamster Power is once again on the decline. But TDU members haven’t given up—TDU has helped expose the failures of the Hoffa administration and united members to say no to concessions and benefit cuts. Now we’re at the front of the movement to dump Hoffa and elect Sandy Pope.
After the Ballots are Counted
The job of turning our union around won’t stop when the ballots are counted.
TDU brings together members who want to make a difference for the long haul. That’s what we’ve been doing for 35 years. If you’re ready to do your part, you belong in TDU.
Countdown to Victory TDU Membership Offer
Join TDU before the ballots are counted for just $25 for your first year.
September 20, 2011: Some pretty weird things happen in election campaigns. But how about a “tough” official in the Hoffa camp inventing a story that he was mauled by the wife of a Teamster member and needs police protection?
Los Angeles Local 396 president Jay Phillips did just that. The Election Supervisor investigated a protest by David Hoffa and ruled that the charges are a hoax, then issued a fine against Phillips for the fabrication.
Lesson for the Hoffa campaign: don’t lie when your actions have been caught on videotape.
The incident happened at Bally’s Casino, during the Las Vegas Teamster Convention on June 28. Phillips claimed to the Election Supervisor and in court documents that he was jumped, clawed, jumped on his back, his arms were bent back, his head was pulled and repeatedly slapped, he was held by the neck—all by one Teamster wife!
He even falsely claimed that two Local 396 business agents had to come to his rescue and pry this attack-lady off of him before he was seriously mauled.
Unfortunately for Phillips and for the Hoffa protest, casinos have lots of cameras, and multiple camera angles caught the incident, proving that none of those things happened. Actually, the woman, who has known Phillips for years, grabbed his arm to get his attention, then they exchanged angry words.
The Election Supervisor fined Phillips $500 for false charges and required Local 396 to post a notice of the fabrication on all its bulletin board.
Phillips, who is a lawyer, when confronted with the video evidence by the Election Supervisor, continued to try to maintain his lies. Phillips filed a lawsuit, ran to the Vegas police to get a restraining order (does he really cower in fear of her?), and involved the two business agents in submitting sworn affidavits which are false.
In Vegas, you are supposed to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em!
To see the whole fantasy of the imaginary attack wife, you can read the Election Supervisor’s decision regarding the Hoffa protest here.
David Hoffa has appealed the decision to the Election Appeals Master. In his Sept. 13 appeal, Hoffa claims that having a female grab Phillips’ arm in the casino was such a “terrifying, bewildering, confusing event” that he made up all those stories and affidavits and court filings, and he didn’t mean to lie or perjure himself.
Judge Conboy, the Election Appeals Master, promptly threw out Hoffa's appeal. He stated in his BRIEF DECISION "the less said about this deplorable case the better."
September 15, 2011: After the dramatic UPS strike victory of 1997, the Teamsters stood at the forefront of the labor movement. Teamster power was being reborn. But there were tough times ahead.
The coming years would see Ron Carey’s reform efforts ended, and the coming to power of James Hoffa and the old-guard officials around him.
Some people predicted TDU would die. But TDU stayed the course through difficult times, kept our principles, and built the Teamster reform movement.
TDU has been the watchdog organization that members could trust to tell the truth, when all they got from Hoffa was PR.
Hoffa Takes Power
Hoffa made big promises to win office in late 1998. His slate was called the “Jim Hoffa No Corruption, No Dues Increase, 25-and-Out Slate.” It was up to TDU to hold the Hoffa administration accountable to members.
Within a year of taking office, Hoffa added 137 multiple salaries to the IBT payroll. He used multiple salaries as part of a “carrot-and-stick” strategy to get support among officials. Get on board, get a check. Those who spoke out often found a “Personal Representative” assigned to their local to undermine them.
Hoffa broke all his promises. No dues increase? He held a special three-hour convention in Las Vegas to raise members’ dues from 2 to 2.5 hours, with the International taking most of the increase. The income of the International was doubled.
No corruption? He hired former U.S. Attorney Ed Stier to combat corruption, but Stier resigned in 2004 and stated that “The problem is Hoffa” regarding Teamster corruption.
25-and-out? His administration ended that in major pension funds, and his disastrous 2007 decision to cave in to UPS has put the Central States Pension Fund on life support.
TDU and the Future
Through the Hoffa years, rank-and-file Teamsters who support TDU have provided an alternative voice and alternative vision.
TDU has been there, to support candidates in 2001 and 2006 so that Hoffa has to face an election, and be accountable to the members. He won those elections, but TDU preserved Teamster democracy. Without TDU, there would have been no elections at all.
TDU has been there, to help members reform locals, learn how to negotiate contracts, enforce our legal rights, and more.
Some national contracts negotiated by Hoffa have been rejected, including the recent one for United Airline mechanics. Hoffa’s power to run roughshod over locals and members has been held in check.
As we approach the 2011 election, members again have a choice. They can vote for five more years of Hoffa, or they can elect Sandy Pope for a new day and a new direction.
TDU members can take pride in being the driving force in making that choice possible.
Just a word of thanks to Dave Thornsberry and the men and women like him at the Teamsters Convention.
I was a proud Teamster in the ‘97 strike and it makes me sick to watch this great union going down the toilet the last decade under this so-called leadership.
I may not be able to vote. But I can give my time, and I would like to challenge all the other retirees to contact someone in their area and volunteer.
Let’s elect Sandy Pope, a real Teamster, to lead us forward! Don’t wait till it’s too late.
Wayne Sharp Local 89, Retired Louisville, Ky.
On June 24, I rallied with 25,000 union activists against anti-union legislation in New Jersey. Governor Chris Christie denied all the unions the right to negotiate pensions and health benefits for all state, county, and municipal union workers.
I am writing you with great disappointment. I went with another retired Teamster—and we were both shocked and disappointed that out of 25,000 union activists, we saw only one other Teamster, and he was from a New York local.
The Teamsters represent hundreds if not thousands of public sector workers in New Jersey.
I can only hope that Sandy Pope can change the image of our great union and in the future be a force to be reckoned with.
Frank Klem Local 701, Retired New Jersey
The last issue of Teamster Voice incorrectly quoted brother Curtiss Zeolla. His quote should have read: “We’ve got to get out there to support Sandy Pope, and the TDU Convention is where we’ll plan the final push to win. I was so encouraged to meet all the great Teamsters at my first convention last year. I’ll see you in Cleveland.”