May 24, 2013: The weak contracts at UPS and UPS Freight affect every Teamster.
After hauling in almost $4.5 billion in profits last year, UPS management has reaped another windfall: contract givebacks.
The weak contract deals affect every Teamster—not just the 250,000 members employed at UPS and UPS Freight.
How can Teamsters who work at struggling employers expect to win good contracts and defend our benfits when the International Union is rolling over and making givebacks at the most profitable transportation company in the world?
The UPS deal will save the company billions in reduced pension and healthcare costs. UP TDUSers were promised they would not have to pay for healthcare. But the contract will move more than 140,000 Teamsters into an inferior health plan and make them pay much more for healthcare.
The contract at UPS Freight introduces nonunion pay and conditions at the company that was supposed to help rebuild Teamster standards in freight.
Teamster Power Sidelined
Contract negotiations started on a high note. When UPS demanded that Teamsters pay for healthcare, members turned out by the thousands at union rallies to chant, "No way, we won't pay!"
Instead of continuing to unite and mobilize, the IBT kept members on the sidelines and in the dark with an information brownout.
Angry Teamsters at both UPS and UPS Freight are organizing a Vote No movement in many areas.
The UPS Freight contract is headed down in many big locals. UPS Teamsters—especially in the areas affected by the healthcare cuts—are passing out leaflets, wearing Vote No T-shirts, and have launched a "Vote No on UPS Contract" Facebook page.
The fight against contract concessions shows the spirit, creativity and energy of the Teamster rank and file. What happens now is up to the members who are leading the charge.
Hoffa and Hall want to push through the contracts, and for the Vote No rebels to get discouraged, cynical and inactive. They want members on the sidelines at contract time and all the time.
TDU stands for the opposite. We are a national grassroots movement of Teamsters organizing Teamsters.
We can win better contracts, defend our benefits and build a stronger union—but only if we get off the sidelines and work together. Information and organization equal power.
May 24, 2013: Do you have a story to share or an opinion to express? We want to hear from you. Send us a letter by email to letters [at] tdu.org or by mail to P.O. Box 10128, Detroit, MI 48210.
We absolutely need to stand together and vote no. The attempt to get a good contract that was apparently voted in favor of unanimously by our Teamster officials is baffling. We need to send a message to UPS that they may persuade the Teamster reps, but not us. This is our union and we need to keep it strong for others who depend on their unions. We need to say it loud and clear from all the UPS Freight terminals who are deciding to fight the fight and vote NO.
Local 957, Dayton, Ohio
How can we hope to have a strong organizing campaign and battle anti-union politicians for friendly labor legislation if we can't win a strong contract? Teamsters need strong leadership to do great things and enforceable contracts are at the heart of a strong union.
Local 30, Jeannette, Penn.
Remember five years ago when you turned in that card hoping for a better future? Well, what happened? Not even a 3 percent raise to cover cost of living. Mediocre healthcare plan. No new language in the grievance procedure. Smoke and mirror pension plan that will actually lose money over time because there is no variable for inflation. And to top it all off let's create a new classification so we can pay 42 cents a mile to do road work! What happened to equal pay for equal work? I foresee all of the same issues happening all over again and no efficient way to grieve them. It’s time the union stays true to their word and backs the union workers they are paid to represent. Please vote NO on this contract or we'll be opening a can of worms we cannot close for not only our company, but for other union freight companies as well.
Local 492, Albuquerque, N.M.
Proud to be TDU
Hey, just wanted to say thanks. I respect what you all do, and I’m signing up to become a member. Thanks brothers and sisters. I’m proud to be a new member. Keep up the good fight!
Local 637, Lancaster, Ohio
Mega Profits, Bad Deal
Our contract and our benefit improvements should be based on the billions of dollars in record profits UPS continues to make.
Full-timers make a good wage but claiming that $10 an hour is a substantial gain for part-timers is a joke. I'm also doubtful that anything having to do with Central States will give us peace of mind on our health insurance.
Local 688, St. Louis
Holding Hoffa Accountable
I am calling on Mr. Hoffa to do the right thing here. If YRCW has enough money to try to purchase ABF, and pay $250,000 a month for a man to oversee strategies looked at by YRCW's board, then they have enough to contribute to the pension fund.
Thanks, TDU, for keeping us up to speed on key freight issues.
Local 407, Cleveland
May 24, 2013: Teamsters around the country report the proposed UPS Freight contract fails to measure up. It doesn't even measure up to the first contract—one they found sorely lacking over the last five years.
The wage increase is $2.50 over five years—$1.50 less than the previous contract. The health insurance plan is modified and members are still expected to pay a premium. The current pension plan is frozen and a new version has been proposed. All this from a company that has cleared billions over the past five years.
|Mike Simberger and John Wisniewski at|
the St. Louis Local 600 Contract meeting.
A big issue is subcontracting that was killing jobs and undermining our union. For this, the deal proposes Line Haul Driver language that creates a lower tier wage rate and benefits package. It introduces nonunion pay and conditions to a highly profitable union company.
Paul Boegel, a Local 657 driver in Austin, Texas summed it up, "The proposed contract doesn't add up to enough to vote for it. I plan to vote NO and am organizing in Texas and via the internet to get UPS Freight Teamsters to turn it down. Help me make that happen in your terminal."
The officers and stewards at Local 89, Louisville, Kentucky agreed. They recommended a no vote to their members at UPS Freight.
Our Terminal's Voting NO
"The young pups on our board were showing an 'I don't care' attitude. After we got some info on the contract, they started asking more and more questions. We stewards and others are educating them as to the negative effects this proposal will have.
"We're definitely leaning majority NO in our terminal."
Greg Boyles, Alternate City Steward, Local 100, Cincinnati
Send Hall Back to the Table
"We're not being bamboozled this go around on the contract. The new line haul driver language offers nonunion rates and is bound to have a big impact on our dock workers, current road drivers, and our brothers and sisters in feeders at UPS Parcel.
"Lots of drivers showed up at our local meeting with 'Vote NO' T-shirts. We need to send Ken Hall back to the bargaining table to get us a contract worthy of the Teamster tradition. UPS Freight is not J.B. Hunt."
Todd Fenton, Local 600, St. Louis
Not Even Close
"This contract is not even close to where it needs to be. How can we as a union expect to organize other companies if we bargain contracts that take us backwards. This nation's wages continue to decline. Strong unions are our only option to reverse this trend. Unions must demand stronger contracts to revitalize organizing efforts. This fight has begun and we must toe the line as brothers and sisters."
Greg Myers, Local 957, Dayton, Ohio
May 24, 2013: For the first time in 49 years, there is no national master freight agreement.
There is an agreement with YRCW, and tentative agreements going to members at ABF and UPS Freight. Separate agreements for some 40,000 freight Teamsters, and none could possibly be considered a model contract.
Hoffa came into office on the slogan "The Hoffa name means power." His father's big accomplishment was the NMFA. Now he's been busy at his PR events while his assistants have allowed the NMFA to be dismantled.
Does our union have a future in trucking? We believe the answer is a definite yes. Those 40,000 Teamsters in freight, along with brothers and sisters in tankhaul, carhaul, private carriage and other trucking fields are the core to rebuilding Teamster power.
Teamster power is not about a famous name. It's about organizing in the distribution industry. That will take a leadership with the will and the plan to make it happen.
May 24, 2013: Ballots will be mailed to members in early June.
The union's brochure makes the case that concessions are needed for the health of the company. ABF management circulated an internal memo "for proactive, verbal use with Teamsters employees...if you vote no, the likelihood that YRC will consummate a deal grows higher." So threats are being used too.
Key changes in the proposed Tentative Agreement include:
- Immediate 7 percent wage reduction.
- 2 percent wage increases in the following three years; 2.5 percent in the last year of five-year contract.
- Loss of one week vacation across the board.
- A Memorandum of Agreement to allow subcontracting of road work ("Purchased Transportation") up 6 percent of total miles (if limit is enforceable).
- Health and welfare benefits maintained.
- Pension contributions only to the extent required to protect pension benefits (this means no increase in contributions to the Central States or Western Conference Funds for the next five years).
- Management may use audio, video, electronic tracking devices to fire employees for "stealing time," without corroboration and without a warning letter! (New section of Article 26).
- Cost of Living clause limited and with 5¢ maximum possible.
- Coffee breaks limited to 10 minutes (Addendum B).
- Working across classifications expanded (Addendum C; and supplements). Drop and hooks, etc.
- Supervisors can handle dock pick-ups if no dock worker is on duty (Article 3).
- Profit sharing bonus if operating ratio gets to 96 percent or better.
- Local grievance panels eliminated.
There are additional changes in the supplements.
Read the agreement. Discuss it with your fellow Teamsters. Cast your vote.
"The 7 percent wage cut reduces us to less than what a nonunion carrier is paying. They say we catch up over the life of the contract but that just gets us back to where we stand now. With the cost of living rising over the next five years, we gain nothing.
"And what about losing our work to subcontracting? That lost work will take a bite out of paychecks. And we lose a week's vacation and they're not paying any increase on the pension. I vote Hell No on this contract."
Emmet Ramsay, ABF Road Driver, Local 391, Winston-Salem, N.C.
"Every ABF Teamster needs to read the new language on audio, video and computer tracking in Article 26, Section 3. The company can use this info to discipline, including terminate, without corroborating observation. We all experience how faulty the technology can be on a daily basis. Now we're going to have to defend ourselves based on shoddy data. Why is the company asking for sacrifices and then wanting to beat us over the head with an unreliable Big Brother?"
Paul Host, ABF Local Cartage, Local 200, Milwaukee
May 24, 2013: YRCW board member Harry Wilson is getting paid $250,000 per month, since February 2013, and may get a lot more. Wilson was appointed to the YRCW Board by the Teamsters Union leadership.
We've all heard the expression "follow the money."
This information is tucked away in a February YRCW filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing states that, "On Feb. 20, 2013, we entered into an Advisory Agreement with MAEVA Group, LLC ("MAEVA"), a company owned and controlled by Harry Wilson and of which Mr. Wilson is Chairman and CEO. Mr. Wilson is a Series A Director of the Company appointed by IBT."
The filing goes on to state that, "The Advisory Agreement calls for MAEVA to provide advisory, analytical, consulting and other services to us in connection with one or more potential transactions and/or other strategic initiatives that we may elect to pursue from time to time." As compensation for its services, MAEVA is entitled to receive $250,000 per month (starting Feb. 1) for at least the next four months plus potential completion fees not to exceed $5.5 million in the aggregate.
We have not been able to learn what "strategic initiatives" Mr. Wilson is working on for this fee, but we note that YRCW's big "strategic initiative" in this period seems to be the clumsy bid to buy ABF for $461 million.
Since Wilson was appointed to the Board by the Hoffa administration, surely Hoffa can explain what this lucrative consulting is all about, and if it has any possible relationship to the plan for a company, which cannot live up to the Teamster contract, to go on a buying spree.
By Tim Pagel, Local 988, Houston, YRC City Driver
When the YRC, Zollars and Hoffa bank heist is finally completed in 2015, I will be out an estimated $57K in wages alone. Then there's the stolen breaks, cheated pension deal, and the lost vacations weeks. I'm looking at a lot more lost than just the 15 percent wage cut made by me and thousands of other Teamsters.
I gladly pay my dues and support my union. I always have, because I wanted my family to have a decent and rewarding life in return for the backbreaking work we do. My goal was not to make life better and richer for inept CEOs, banksters and our so-called union leaders.
Now YRC claims to have the money to go on a shopping spree and Hoffa, as usual, said he didn't have a clue. Well there's no surprise there. It's time for our rank and file to say that's enough. Make them pay us back before any new acquisitions or mergers and that includes getting us paid up at the Central States Pension Fund.
May 24, 2013: In April Hoffa's Carhaul Director, Roy Gross, blocked from going to arbitration a work preservation grievance which challenged Jack Cooper's new substandard division.
Instead the International and the employers routed the grievance—which was researched and filed by Local 89—to the national panel, where they can quietly bury it.
Why would our International union want to help Jack Cooper set up an owner-operator division that operates without terminals, assigns drivers in the Midwest to Local 251 in Rhode Island, and pays sub-contract pensions and rates?
Carhaulers and their local union reps should ask that question of Gross and Hoffa.
Jack Cooper Specialized Transport claims to be hiring 200 drivers, although they seem to have only succeeded in hiring a small number so far under the terms they are offering and the International union has approved.
Now Jack Cooper has opened Jack Cooper Logistics, which brags on their website that they can "tap over 400 [nonunion] trucking companies." They trip lease loads which should be hauled by Teamsters.
The point of having a union is to defend good union jobs. The Carhaul Division is failing that basic obligation, and will continue to fail unless pressure is put on them to change.
Allied Systems To Be Sold
In a letter to all employees, Allied CEO Gendregske announced that Allied will be sold to the company's primary lenders, or to a higher bidder. He said he expects the sale to take place in late July or early August.
May 24, 2013: Ken Hall vowed UPSers would not pay for our healthcare.
But under the tentative agreement, 140,000 UPSers would be moved into an inferior plan that will force them to pay a lot more for healthcare.
Just a few months ago, Teamsters turned out across the country in huge numbers to attend rallies and chant, "No way, we won't pay!"
Now healthcare concessions has gone from uniting Teamsters against UPS to uniting many members against the contract.
Opposition to the healthcare givebacks has run especially high in locals where both full-timers and part-timers would be moved into the Central States TEAMcare plan.
This includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, most of Ohio and Missouri, Southern California, and the Southwest.
TEAMcare would mean more deductibles, higher Rx costs, limited dental coverage, and higher co-pays on everything from ERs to lab tests, MRIs and procedures.
Members opposed to the cuts have passed out bulletins and FAQs put out by Make UPS Deliver at UPS and at contract meetings.
In Philadelphia Local 623, members printed up their own Vote No T-shirts and have flooded the air hub there.
"It feels good to walk around the second largest air hub in the U.S. and see nothing but Vote No T-shirts," said Local 623 member Bobby Curry.
A "Vote No on UPS Contract" Facebook page has connected 2,000 followers who are getting active around the healthcare concessions.
Some Western locals and New Jersey Local 177 got an extension to Nov. 1 to find an alternative plan. But they get the same reduced money from UPS to pay for coverage, which is less than members' current plan costs.
Any alternative to TEAMcare would only have to match the benefits in Central States TEAMcare, not the current plan.
UPS is making $5 billion a year and Teamsters were promised no concessions.
Why did the International Union agree to healthcare cuts?
"It seems ridiculous that a company earning record profits can't maintain what we already have," said Roger Austin from Local 215 in Evansville, Ind. "They seem to have forgotten they negotiate for us, not themselves."
May 24, 2013: New contract language would strip local unions of autonomy to enforce contract.
Lost in the hubbub about healthcare and harassment, the new contract includes changes that take autonomy away from local unions and consolidate power in the hands of the International Union Package Division.
For example: the contract would strip local unions of the right to pull out of company-dominated safety committees without the International's permission (Article 18). Local unions from New England to Ohio to New York pulled out of safety committees to protest harassment, unsafe conditions, and management arrogance.
Teamsters in the Central Region have had a hammer for taking on contract violations—the right to strike on deadlocked grievances. Teamster officials in the Central Region haven't used this right, but UPS isn't taking any chances. Deadlocked grievances would now get punted for settlement between top UPS brass and the International. If that doesn't work, Teamsters in the Central Region still can't strike over deadlocked grievances without the IBT's permission, something that was never required before.
The new 9.5 language gives only the IBT the power to meet with UPS about staffing levels when there are excessive 9.5 grievances at the local level. Why not give local unions the power to meet with management to review staffing and dispatch data when excessive overtime is out of control?
All Teamsters want a strong national union. But we need to be able to enforce the contract at the local union level. Look at the company's attack on 22.3 jobs.
Under the contract, only the International union is entitled to a complete list of the full-time jobs under Article 22.3. This has allowed management to play a shell game with these jobs because no local union can effectively counter the company when it claims it has moved 22.3 jobs to another local.
This problem was supposed to be fixed in the national contract with language that requires UPS to keep 22.3 jobs in the local where they are created. It wasn't. Contract enforcement remains in the hands of the International union, and Teamster members and our local unions remain at a disadvantage.
It's no accident that the contract shifts power away from local unions and up to the International. UPS would rather deal with Teamster officials in Washington who are far from the members than with local officers who are subject to pressure from the membership.
The power grab also works for Ken Hall who holds his power like a carrot and stick over local officers whose support he wants in the next IBT election.
UPS Teamsters can still enforce our contract. But we've got to get organized in our centers and locals. Building pressure from the bottom is the best way to get results at the top.