May 24, 2013: When it comes to technology harassment and dishonesty, the new contract offers more of the same.
The company's ability to fire an employee for "dishonesty" solely based on information from technology is largely unchanged in the new contract.
The IBT claims UPS must now "confirm information from GPS by direct observation or other corroborating evidence."
But the contract makes a clear exception if UPS accuses a Teamster of "dishonesty."
The IBT also claims that, "No employee will be discharged based solely on information received from GPS unless the person intentionally defrauds the company."
But the contract already says you cannot be fired based solely on information from technology unless you "intend to defraud the company." The "intend to defraud" language is not new and it has not protected Teamsters from discharge.
UPS has fired drivers for "dishonesty" and "falsification of records" for recording an attempted delivery on a missed package, sheeting a residential delivery as a closed commercial stop, recording air when they're not at the stop, and other practices that are commonplace and sometimes encouraged by management.
Such discharges have nothing to do with stealing but they have been repeatedly upheld under the "intent to defraud" language.
The new language would now state that you must commit an "intentional" act where you "intend to defraud the company."
If a driver makes an isolated mistake, the language may help protect them from termination depending on enforcement. But the new language will not stop UPS from using technology to fire drivers on trumped up charges of dishonesty.
Click here to read more on this issue.
By Steve Kelly, Local 252, Olympia, Wash.
Throughout negotiations, we heard big talk about harassment. I was honestly shocked at the skimpy results.
As a shop steward, the new language does nothing for me.
We've been able to make the company pay 9.5 grievances. The biggest problem with the 9.5 language is getting loads adjusted.
We were looking for new language that would make UPS adjust our loads and address understaffing.
What we got is so watered-down it's pathetic. If you win three paid 9.5 grievances in five months, you get a frigging meeting? Give me a break.
The contract already has good harassment language that says management can't over-supervise or harass employees.
The problem is there are no penalties to make UPS pay for violations.
Without that, all you have is nice language and no teeth.
May 24, 2013: UPS doesn't like TDU's End Part-Time Poverty at UPS T-shirts. But management is happy to have a five-year extension on part-time poverty in the contract.
More than 100,000 part-timers will be hit with healthcare cuts and higher out-of-pocket expenses.
Starting pay goes up by $1.50 to $10. But check the fine print. The new contract eliminates the $1 increase at 90 days. After 90 days, a part-timer will make just $10 ($11 for skilled positions).
That's only 50¢ more than part-timers make now. The $10/hour starting rate will be frozen for five years and will fall under minimum wage again in many states by August 2018.
The International Union promised an extra raise for part-timers because wages are so low. That was more empty talk. The contract does not include any catch-up raises, just the regular annual wage increases.
The contract will create just 2,350 full-time jobs and has none of the language members were promised to stop UPS from eliminating 22.3 jobs. UPS can continue to cut 22.3 jobs and claim they were moved to another local.
Teamsters Take on UPS in Louisville
UPS Teamsters in Louisville look to be on a collision course with the company over the mammoth Local 89 Air Rider which covers 9,300 UPS Teamsters at UPS Worldport, the company’s central air hub in the country, as well as other UPS buildings. Local 89 stewards and the Executive Board have unanimously opposed the national contract. As we go to press, the local reports that talks on the Air Rider are at a virtual standstill. Local 89's website details the reasons they oppose the national contract.
Four 10-Hour Days in Package?
The Western Penn. Supplement would allow UPS to bid package car routes of four 10-hour days with overtime after 10 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. If no one bids the routes, UPS must repost them as five 8-hour day routes. The Atlantic Area Supplement would also allow four 10's by mutual agreement. Ken Hall had the power to stop these changes. Should we be opening the door to four 10-hour days in package?
Central Region Loophole Still Wide Open
The Central Region Supplement fails to close the dreaded 17(i) loophole that allows UPS to suspend members for "other serious offenses," a much-abused catch-all phrase. The supplement does eliminate other outdated language that defined a serious accident as anything that involves as little as $4,400 in damages.
Fat Profits, Lean Contract
On the same day that UPS reached tentative agreement on a new contract, the company announced after-tax profits for the first quarter rose to $1.04 billion. This is up from $970 million made during the same period last year. For the year, UPS is projecting to haul in $4.6 to $4.8 billion in after-tax profits.
May 24, 2013: UPS Teamsters in New York win pension increases, more full-time jobs, and grievance procedure reform.
New York Local 804 members entered UPS contract negotiations with high expectations and steep challenges.
Their pensions had been frozen for more than a decade. Management has been eroding full-time 22.3 jobs and taking advantage of a broken grievance procedure.
Local 804 members have the advantage of having their own supplement which covers 6,000 UPS Teamsters in New York.
But that hasn't resulted in contract gains in Local 804 since 1997. In fact, Local 804 pensions have been frozen for more than a decade and UPS nearly eliminated 25-and-out pensions in the last supplement.
"To win a good contract, we knew we had to bargain in a different way," said Tim Sylvester, Local 804 president.
This time, Local 804 launched a contract campaign a year early.
The local formed a Contract Action Team of stewards and volunteers tasked with keeping members informed and involved—with regular contract bulletins, parking lot meetings, and rallies. Members wore stickers and posted placards in their windshields.
The majority of the Local 804 bargaining committee were stewards and members and they participated in all negotiations.
"UPS saw that members were informed and involved. When we told the company, we were going to Vote No if they didn't improve their contract offer, they knew we could deliver on that threat," said Vinnie Perrone, a package steward and negotiating committee member.
More than 3,000 members filled out a contract survey that the Contract Action Team distributed in parking lot meetings at every building.
"Those surveys were our guide at the bargaining table," said Dorothy Hanlon, a package driver and negotiating committee member. "Our priorities were defined by the members: higher pensions, more full-time jobs and a better grievance procedure."
Membership unity and an organized contract campaign paid off. The new Local 804 Supplement includes:
Pension Increases: Local 804 members won a $400 pension increase—the biggest in the country without any wage diversion. By the end of the contract, members will be able to retire with 25-and-out benefits of $3,500 a month and 30-and-out (or 25-at-age-55) benefits of $4,000 a month.
Grievance Procedure Reform: Members will no longer have to spend a year or more waiting for their suspension or termination to be heard. Beginning, Jan. 1, 2014, disciplinary cases will be heard before a grievance panel of representatives from Local 804 and the company—with an arbitrator sitting in on the case in the event of a deadlock. If the union and company deadlock, an arbitrator will issue a decision within ten days.
Full-Time Jobs: UPS must create 100 new full-time combo jobs in Local 804 by Aug. 1, 2014.
"This is the best supplement we’ve seen in a long, long time," said Mark Cohen a package car driver and Contract Action Team volunteer. "It's amazing the results you can get when you mobilize the members to take a stand against the company."
Videos documenting the Local 804 contract campaign in action can be seen at www.teamsterslocal804.org
May 24, 2013: Contract negotiations started on a high note. UPS was making record profits. When the company demanded healthcare concessions, it was standing room only at Teamster rallies.
Members were ready to fight for their healthcare. But our International Union wasn't.
Angry members who feel blindsided on healthcare are organizing a Vote No movement in many areas.
They are passing out leaflets, talking in break rooms, wearing Vote No T-shirts, and have a "Vote No on UPS Contract" Facebook page.
They are gunning to shoot down the national contract and some supplements too.
If history is any guide, the contract will certainly go down in locals where members are organized and taking coordinated action.
That's what happened last time. The national contract passed with 65 percent of the vote. But it was rejected in numerous locals where TDUers and other reformers got active—including in New York Local 804 where members rejected their supplement by a three-to-one vote.
By voting no, Local 804 members saved 25-and-out pensions. They kept organizing and took back their union in the next local election. And they just negotiated the best supplement in the country.
Rank-and-file organizing can pay off—but there are few quick fixes.
If we want to win lasting changes, we've got to be organized.
TDU is the only independent movement that brings Teamsters together in our locals and across the country to rebuild union power.
Take the first step toward winning better contracts and standing up to UPS. Join TDU. Meet other active Teamsters and learn proven strategies for getting members involved and rebuilding union power.
"If it wasn't for TDU, we wouldn't have known the facts about the contract. Without TDU, we'd just be going along with the program and getting taken for a ride. Instead we're organizing members to defend our healthcare and fight for what we deserve from this company. We're proud to be building TDU at UPS in Philadelphia and across the country."
Nathan "Jumbo" Daniels
Local 623, Philadelphia
May 24, 2013: With nonunion competition on the rise, 800 Teamster movers in New York City won contracts that protect their healthcare, reduce two-tier wage gaps, and put more union movers to work. Here's how.
"Getting started early and involving members every step of the way was key," says Phil Puma, a shop steward and member of the contract negotiating committee.
Local 814 members started organizing a year before their contract expired, beginning by distributing a contract survey to determine key bargaining issues and getting members thinking about the contract. Preserving employer-paid healthcare, raising wages for lower-tier movers, and ensuring more work for members emerged as top issues.
They recruited and trained a Contract Captain team composed of stewards and rank-and-file volunteers to cover every moving company and job, unite members behind key contract demands, and distribute regular bargaining updates. Contract Captains were trained on organizing phone trees, member-to-member outreach, and picketing and handbilling tactics.
As the contract expiration date neared, the union stepped up the pressure.
In the final weeks, the union gave the companies a deadline and "Strike Vote on Sunday" leaflets were posted and passed out at jobs. Blast text alerts were sent out and members rallied at job sites. As a credible strike threat mounted, some companies moved to settle with the union, increasing the pressure on other hardline employers who feared they would lose business during a strike to competitors who had already signed a contract with the union.
"Management started to get real when they saw all the members united, wearing contract buttons, and talking up the strike vote," said Phil Puma.
The agreement fully protects employer-paid healthcare, promotes many lower-paid movers to the top wage rate, and creates a new dispatch system that will ensure work goes to Local 814 members who need it.
"The companies have always wanted to create tiers and permanently lower wages in the industry," says Local 814 Business Agent Walter Taylor. "For the first time, we've reversed this. By raising wages for the lower tier, we opened a door to better pay that the companies wanted to slam shut forever."
May 24, 2013: Teamsters employed by Sysco in Southern California are standing up against a substandard deal negotiated for the new Sysco Riverside distribution center slated to open in June.
"We are not going to accept this. We want to be involved. We deserve to be involved in these negotiations," said Ralph Sistos, a Sysco driver in Los Angeles. Members are organizing for a no vote to get the bad deal renegotiated.
The whole situation with the new warehouse smells bad. San Diego, 100 miles away, mysteriously got the Teamsters jurisdiction and promptly signed a substandard contract without any workers yet at the facility.
Last September, Joint Council 42 awarded the jurisdiction to Local 63, which covers Riverside and is headed by Joint Council president Randy Cammack. For unexplained reasons Cammack turned it over to Local 683 principal officer Todd Mendez, who cut the substandard deal.
Teamsters from the L.A. (Walnut) Sysco warehouse and from the San Diego warehouse will be transferring there. The L.A. Teamsters are organizing for a contract rejection, and they will be the majority of the workforce.
They have filed NLRB charges against the deal, are organizing among themselves and reaching out to brothers and sisters in San Diego.
The company wants to button up a deal quickly. The San Diego contract expires in November, and the last thing management wants is common expiration dates.
The contract is inferior to the L.A. contract on an epic scale: it gives away lots of union jobs to nonunion (office, clerical, checkers, produce repack, routers, dispatchers, inventory control, check-in, janitorial); it gives away job protections and working conditions; and provides for lower wages and pension contributions. It is very similar to the substandard contract in San Diego. L.A.'s contract should be template, not San Diego's.
Opposition Needs to Grow Now
Congressional Hearings Coming on New Pension Proposals
June 7, 2013: A dangerous proposal that would change federal law to allow "deeply troubled" pension plans to slash the benefits of retirees could be introduced into Congress as soon as this summer.
The time is now for opposition to eliminating the federal law known as the "anti-cutback rule." It is clear that the "deeply troubled" plans would include the Central States Pension Plan.
The U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor could hold hearings soon on the status of multi-employer pension plans, and what to do to safeguard pensions.
The dangerous proposal is part of a package put forward by the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans (NCCMP). Hoffa is on the board of directors, and Central States Director Thomas Nyhan and Teamster Int'l V.P. John Murphy are on the Steering Committee. UPS is a prominent supporter.
The NCCMP is an organization of union pension plans, employer groups and some union officials.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) will actively oppose any move to eliminate the anti-cutback rule, which is an important protection in federal law. "We call upon James Hoffa to come out in opposition, and put the full force of the Teamsters Union to work for protecting Teamster pensions," said TDU Steering Committee Co-Chair and Central States retiree Dan Campbell.
There are new indications that some unions may come out in opposition to allowing pension cuts, and TDU will be working to put rank-and-file Teamsters front and center in the battle to protect pensions and propose positive solutions to safeguard the earned pensions of American workers.
If you are interested in helping with the battle to defend pensions, contact TDU at 313-842-2600 or click here to send us a message.
Click here if you would like to read more on this issue and see a copy of the NCCMP's proposal in their position paper "Solutions Not Bailouts."
May 24, 2013: UPS will save billions in lower pension costs during the life of the new contract as the company reaps the financial rewards of pension deals in the Central and Southern Regions and New England.
For the next five years, UPS will pay very substandard contributions in two of the largest pension plans covering more than 50,000 UPS Teamsters.
Under the new contract, UPS will actually reduce its pension contributions in New England by $2.30 an hour. UPS will contribute just $6.20 an hour into the New England Pension Plan and contributions will be frozen at that rate for ten years.
By comparison, UPS will contribute $9.90 an hour into the Western Conference Pension Fund for full-timers and part-timers starting Aug. 1, and that figure will go up 50 cents every August—unless money is diverted away from members' pensions to maintain their health benefits under the new healthcare deal.
By the end of the year, UPS will be paying just under $12 per hour for Teamster pensions in the West and just $6.20 an hour for Teamster pensions in New England.
The company's savings are even more extreme in the IBT-UPS Pension Plan that covers 44,000 UPS full-timers in the Carolinas and Central and Southern Regions. UPS contributes less than $4 an hour into that fund.
Together, the two pension deals will save UPS more than $4 billion during the next contract alone.
It's true that UPS had to pay $6.1 billion to pull out of the Central States Pension Fund. But the company will make all that money back, and more, by the end of this contract.
UPS also had to pay another $43 million a year in withdrawal liability under the New England pension deal. UPS will save millions more than that in reduced pension contributions in New England.
The Bottom Line
Most Teamsters don't think much about our pensions beyond how much our monthly check will be.
The pension accrual for UPS Teamsters in New England is guaranteed for the next ten years.
The 30-and-out pension for UPSers in the Central, South and Carolinas will go up to $3,200 a month.
The annual accrual rate is frozen for another four years and then goes up only $5 in the fifth year which will keep benefits in the largest pension plan covering UPS Teamsters the lowest in the country.
The company takes the long view on pensions.
By the end of the contract, UPS will have made back the $6.1 billion in withdrawal liability it paid to Central States and will continue to save billions in reduced pension costs into the future.
"UPS has a long term plan on pensions; Hoffa and Hall don't," said Dan Kane, a retired member of Los Angeles Local 63. "It's only a matter of time until UPS comes after our pension plan. Why would UPS want to keep paying $12 an hour for pensions in the West when they're paying half or a third of that in Boston, Louisville and Atlanta? Members need to take back this union to defend our pensions."