May 22, 2012: Key contract negotiations are coming up and the International Union is gearing up for early bargaining. Members who want good contracts need to gear up too.
A quarter of our 1.3 million Teamsters are covered by national contracts which will be bargained in the coming year at UPS, UPS Freight, and the freight industry.
These contracts set Teamster standards, especially on health benefits and pensions, for hundreds of thousands of other Teamsters.
Employers want early bargaining and to settle the contracts before they expire. The Hoffa administration's strategy is to go along with early bargaining and try to get a reasonable contract offer in exchange for negotiating an early deal.
The problem is, employers only bargain reasonably when they see Teamster members are united and prepared to reject a bad contract offer and to win the contract improvements we deserve.
That's where Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) comes in.
TDU brings Teamsters together to send our employers a united message: we are willing to bargain early but we are not willing to settle short and mortgage our future.
TDU is building contract networks at UPS, in freight, at UPS Freight and in local contracts too.
Working Teamsters are getting involved by signing up for email updates, distributing contract bulletins, participating in conference calls, and using social media to share concerns and swap strategies.
At UPS, drivers are uniting to fight for their pensions and defend themselves from production harassment, excessive dispatch, and management abuse of technology and “dishonesty” language.
Part-timers and inside workers are organizing a national campaign to win higher pay and more full-time jobs.
Freight Teamsters at ABF, along with YRC, are organizing a campaign against any concessions in the next freight contract.
Important local contracts are coming up too, and TDU will lend a hand where Teamsters want to organize a local contract campaign.
Your contract is your future. Negotiations aren't a spectator sport. If you want to get something out, you've got to put something in.
Click here to contact TDU to find out how you can get involved.
May 22, 2012: Teamsters in the IBT-UPS plan get the lowest pensions of any UPSers in the country.
The next contract is our chance to win the higher pensions we deserve.
The cost of living is going up. But pensions for UPS Teamsters in the IBT-UPS plan are falling behind.
The IBT-UPS Pension Plan was established under the new contract when UPS pulled out of the Central States Pension Fund.
The new plan covers more UPS Teamsters than any other pension fund—48,000 full-time UPS Teamsters in the Central and Southern regions and the Carolinas.
It also delivers the worst pension benefits of any plan covering full-time UPSers—with benefits of $3,000/month for 30-and-out.
This is not a bad pension and affected UPSers have more retirement security than freight Teamsters and others in the Central States Fund.
But the fact remains that 48,000 full-timers are getting second class pensions compared to full-time UPSers across the country who do the same work we do but get to retire on much more.
Other UPS Teamsters get monthly pensions of $3,500, $4,000, and even more after 30 years.
UPSers in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York, New Jersey, New England, Pennsylvania and every state in the west get higher pensions.
All UPSers work under the same national contract. The 48,000 UPSers in the IBT-UPS plan should not have to retire on $500 to $2,000 less a month than other UPS Teamsters.
Pensions under the IBT-UPS plan cost the company just $25 a day, compared to approximately $70 per day for every other Teamster pension plan. At these cut rates, no wonder Teamsters in this plan are falling behind.
UPS makes billions in profits off Teamster members' hard work. It's time to make UPS deliver the pensions we deserve.
Click here to see the full UPS Pension Comparison chart.
May 22, 2012: Teamsters in the Central Region, the South and the Carolinas are uniting to make UPS deliver higher pensions.
The bad news is that the IBT-UPS Pension Plan has locked 48,000 Teamsters into the lowest pension benefits of any UPSers in the country.
The good news is that the upcoming contract negotiations provide a direct route to winning a pension increase.
For most UPS Teamsters, the contract only defines how much money the company will contribute to Teamster pension funds. Members' actual monthly pension benefits are then set by the pension fund trustees, not the contract.
But the 48,000 Teamsters in the IBT-UPS Pension Plan have pension benefit levels spelled out in black and white in Article 34 of the contract.
Our National Negotiating Committee can bargain an immediate hike in 25- 30- and 35-and-out benefits by changing Article 34 of the contract.
TDU's Make UPS Deliver network is bringing together Teamsters in the Central Region, South and the Carolinas who want to work together to put pressure on the International Union and the company to deliver a pension hike in the new contract.
We need to make it clear that we will vote to reject any early contract deal that does not deliver substantial pension increases that bring us in line with what other UPS Teamsters are getting in Teamster funds.
The 48,000 Teamsters in the IBT-UPS plan represent a powerful voting bloc, and have the numbers to reject a contract.
Are you tired of getting a second class pension? Are you willing to do something about it?
Click here to contact TDU today.
Click here to learn more about Make UPS Deliver and how you can join the effort to win a pension increase in the next UPS contract.
June 22, 2012: UPS always advised drivers with the safety tip to "keep their eyes on the big picture." I've learned that's really important when it comes to our pension and retirement.
Everybody talks about retiring after 30 years with a monthly pension check of $3,000. It's important to remember that federal and state taxes will come out of that. Then there's medical coverage including dental and vision if you need it (which most of us old-timers do). And while inflation may be relatively low now, it does add up over time. That $3,000 is locked in without a COLA so by the time we reach seventy or eighty, our pension check is going to be worth a lot less. So that $3,000 pension isn't worth what it once was when we won it in the '90s.
UPS pushed us to vote for getting out of the Central States because of our concerns for
retirement security. Teamsters now covered under the IBT-UPS Plan still need that peace of mind.
The best way to secure our retirement is to bargain for a larger pension contribution in the 2013 contract negotiations. UPS can afford it. More going into our pension fund means the Trustees can be pressed to raise that $3,000 monthly pension check. That's what Teamsters need to enjoy the retirement they earned.
By: Mark Dray
UPS Feeder Driver (Retired)
Local 638, Minnesota
May 22, 2012: The International Union and UPS will start contract negotiations this fall.
UPS Teamsters say if the company wants an early deal, they need to address the problems in the current contract.
Our union contract with UPS does not expire until July 31, 2013. But the International Union and UPS will start early negotiations on a new agreement this fall.
The last time the Hoffa administration settled early with UPS, they also settled short.
The company walked away with split wage increases, longer progressions, a new substandard pension for Teamsters in the Central Region and South and concessions that cut the cost of part-time labor.
But it wasn’t just the economics. The last contract included weak language that has made it harder to fight production harassment, excessive loads and unfair discipline.
The International Union agreed to a loophole in the technology language that allows UPS to fire employees on the first offense based solely on information received from GPS in cases of "dishonesty." (Article 6, Section 8.)
The company has exploited this loophole, and selectively enforced it, to unfairly discipline drivers.
The International Union also agreed to water down our 9.5 rights, not once but twice—first in the contract and then in a mid-contract side agreement. As a result, over-dispatch and production harassment are bigger problems than ever.
Hoffa and chief negotiator Ken Hall announced last October that the company had agreed to review its dispatches and hire more drivers to match the number of drivers employed when volume was previously at this level.
Clearly that verbal agreement didn’t work. It’s time to get it in writing.
Winning contract language that makes UPS hire more drivers to matching growing volume is the best way to take on the problem of over-dispatch.
Technology and the 'Dishonesty' Trap
"UPS is abusing loopholes in the technology language and stretching the meaning of ‘proven dishonesty’ beyond reason. The result is harassment, intimidation, and unfair discipline. We need stronger protections as part of any early contract settlement."
Matt Taibi, Local 251, Package Driver, Providence
"UPS piles more and more work and hours on to fewer and fewer drivers. Teamsters will do a fair day’s work but they also want a life with their families. The next contract has to force the company to hire more drivers."
Rich Langwasser, Local 413, Package Steward, Columbus
Improve Substandard Pensions
"The UPS-Teamster Plan in the Central Region and South has the lowest 30 year benefit in the country. With UPS making billions every year of the last contract, the money is there to increase the negotiated contributions and get a significant increase on the $3,000. One key demand in the next negotiations has to be to improve the pension."
Tom Glidden, Local 638, Package Driver, Minneapolis
May 22, 2012: UPS made just under a billion dollars in the first quarter of 2012. Brown reported profits of $970 million for the first three months of the year, up 6 percent from last year.
Who delivered most of these profits? Working Teamsters, that's who. UPS's domestic revenue was up 6.1 percent. UPS's International operations grew at a slow pace, just 2.3 percent, disappointing analysts.
UPS made $4.2 billion in profits after taxes in 2011. Profits may top $5 billion this year.
"I hope they make $10 billion," Ken Hall, the International Union's chief negotiator at UPS, told delegates at the Teamster Convention. "Because the more they make, the more we take when it comes to negotiations."
Theoretically, that should be true. But UPS was making record profits in 2008 when the International Union gave away record concessions, then failed to enforce the contract since then.
June 1, 2012: Part-timers and inside workers got sold out in the last contract.
This time, they're organizing to win higher wages, more full-time jobs and a contract that makes UPS deliver for every Teamster.
UPS part-timers and inside workers have launched a national petition drive to demand better pay, more full-time jobs and a contract that delivers for every UPS Teamster.
Click here to download the petition.
Click here to download the Contract Bulletin.
Click here to find out more and get involved in Make UPS Deliver.
The International Union is preparing to start contract negotiations with UPS this fall. The petition drive is part of a national effort to make sure that any early contract deal doesn’t leave out part-timers and inside workers.
In the last contract negotiations in 2008, the Hoffa administration gave UPS the early deal the company wanted. But part-timers and inside workers walked away empty-handed.
The early deal inked by the International Union froze starting pay for part-timers at $8.50 an hour (now below minimum wage in some areas), lengthened the time it takes new hires to get health benefits, and eliminated the language that makes the company create new full-time 22.3 jobs.
Instead of an annual wage increase, workers got split raises.
Part-timers and other inside workers are building a national contract network through Make UPS Deliver to put pressure on the International Union and the company to negotiate a contract that delivers for all Teamsters—full-time and part-time.
Any contract offer from UPS has to be put to a vote of the members.
"Part-timers and inside workers make up the majority of Teamsters employed at UPS. We have the power to vote down any contract offer that sells us out. But we only have that power if we're organized," said Nick Perry, a shop steward and part-timer in Columbus Local 413.
Perry and UPS stewards and workers from across the country have been meeting by conference call to launch a petition for a strong contract. They are recruiting member volunteers to collect signatures and spread the word where they work at UPS.
"Alone we can only do so much. But if we coordinate nationally and each of us does our part at our building or in our local, then we can be a powerful national voice," said Kamal Kaalund, a shop steward in New York Local 804.
"If UPS sees that we will vote to reject a contract that doesn't deliver for us, then they will be forced to put a better offer on the table."
"Our Right to Vote on the contract gives us power, but only if we use it," Kaalund said
Help Collect Signatures on the Contract Petition
- Close the Pay Gap Between Part-Timers and Full-Timers
- Higher Wages, More Guaranteed Hours and No Split Shift Language
- Raise Starting Pay for Part-Timers
- More Full-Time Jobs
- An End to Production Harassment
- No Givebacks
Click here to find out more at MakeUPSDeliver.org.
- Sign up for email updates
- Download the petition and collect signatures
- Become a contract committee contact for your building or local
"Part-timers and inside workers have to stand united from the West coast to the East coast to make our voices heard.
"We are getting organized to win a strong, fair contract for all Teamsters."
Alex Tenchavez, Local 396
Preload, Los Angeles
"I'm a driver but I'm 100% behind this petition drive by part-timers and inside workers. There's strength in unity.
"We've all got to stick together to win a good contract."
Derick Apatang, Local 690
Feeder Driver, Spokane, Wash.
"We need to win higher wages and stronger contract language to protect part-timers and inside workers, including stronger bidding and transfer rights based on seniority. If you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything."
Iona Gray, Local 804
Shop Steward, New York City
May 25, 2012: In May the Hoffa administration signed a national contract in the pipeline industry that lets all construction contractors pull out of the Central States fund.
The deal establishes a new company plan, just as Hoffa and Hall let UPS start a company plan in 2008.
Unlike other Teamsters, pipeline Teamsters don't have the right to vote on their contract. The IBT Constitution contains a loophole that lets local union leaders approve national contracts in this industry.
It has become clear that the Hoffa administration is giving up on the Teamster multi-employer pension funds, starting with the ones started by Hoffa's father—the Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Fund.
It's up to Teamster members and local union leaders to turn that around. Although so far the biggest attack—and union retreat—has focused on Central States, consider this: When the employers get their way with that fund, will they come after all our union pension funds?
For other pension news, visit the Pensions page.
May 22, 2012: Working Teamsters at UPS are working together through the Make UPS Deliver network to mobilize for a fair contract.
There's no reason to settle the contract with UPS early if it means settling short.
Any contract offer from UPS has to be put to a vote of the members. Our Right to Vote gives us leverage to win a better contract.
If UPS sees that we will vote to reject a bad contract, then the company will be forced to put a
better offer on the table.
Make UPS Deliver is a nationwide network of UPS stewards and members who share information on contract negotiations. We're mobilizing to win a contract that:
- Protects our benefits and wins better pensions
- Wins higher wages especially for part-timers
- Protects drivers from UPS abusing GPS & telematics technology
- Ends trumped up discipline for "dishonesty"
- Stops production harassment and excessive loads
- Creates more full-time jobs so part-timers can go full-time and drivers can get relief from excessive loads
- Stops subcontracting feeder work and packages to the Post Office
Do you agree with these contract goals? Got other ideas?
Click here to send us a message and join the Make UPS Deliver contract network.
May 22, 2012: In April, hundreds of thousands of Teamsters received an "Annual Funding Notice" from their Teamster pension plan.
For many, the news was not good. If you are concerned about your pension, read on.
For some—those in the Western Conference of Teamsters Plan—the notice stated that their fund is in the "green zone." But for the majority of others, the notice included the words "red zone" and "critical status." From some Teamsters, such as those in the Local 705 Fund, this is the first year that the fund is in the red zone.
What does it mean?
The answer to this question is complicated. In many cases, it does not mean any changes in benefits. But it could foreshadow such changes in the future.
If you would care to get more information about your fund, and the meaning of the funding notice, get in touch with TDU by calling 313-842-2600, emailing info [at] tdu.org or by clicking here, and indicate in the subject line that you have a pension question.