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New England Teamsters Hit with Pension Cuts

July 27, 2005: Teamsters in New England reacted angrily when the New England Pension Fund announced new benefit restrictions—including eliminating 25-and-out and 30-and-out pensions before age 57. The changes were announced on July 15, just two weeks after the fund announced that its assets grew for the second straight year. In all, the fund’s assets have grown by more than $429 million in the last two years. The pension cuts come despite James Hoffa’s promises...

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Hoffa Pushes Pension Bill That Could Cut Your Benefits

July 27, 2005: On June 29, a congressional committee passed a pension bill that would endanger Teamster pensions by making it easier for multi-employer plans to cut retirement benefits. The misnamed “Pension Protection Act” contains a dangerous provision that would allow troubled pension plans to cut benefits that members have already accrued—and even cut the benefits of Teamsters who have already retired for less than one year. Under current laws, these cuts are illegal. Only...

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Hoffa Caught Using Union Funds for Campaign Poll

July 27, 2005: The IBT election is more than a year away and already TDU has caught James Hoffa using members’ dues money for campaign purposes. On July 15, independent Election Supervisor Richard Mark ruled that Hoffa used union funds to poll carhaulers on how they would rate Hoffa’s job approval. As a result of the violation, Hoffa was ordered to pay $2,000 to the union and to share the results of the poll with...

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Hoffa Corruption Wrecks Possibility of Ending Government Supervision

July 27, 2005: In an embarrassing retreat from his promises to “run a corruption-free union” and “get the government out of the Teamsters,” James Hoffa has officially sacked all plans to try to negotiate an end to federal supervision of our union. On July 20, Hoffa’s General Counsel, Pat Szymanski, told the Daily Labor Report that the Hoffa administration has given up its goal of ending federal supervision until at least 2007. According to the...

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Southern California Bargaining Gets a New Look

July 5, 2005: For the first time in recent history, the grocery contracts in Southern California will be negotiated separately. If it’s done right, it will be an opportunity to address problems that have been ignored in past negotiations. In June, Teamster leaders had a meeting on how the separate negotiations would proceed. They agreed that the first target would be Stater Brothers. Stater is not a national chain, so it would be harder for...

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Electronic Leashes for Warehouse Workers?

July 5, 2005: Many warehouse and grocery workers are probably familiar with RFID technology used to track inventory, but The Guardian, a major British newspaper, reports that warehouse operators in Britain are now tagging workers also. Researchers and the union are concerned that “the new technology is raising a host of ethical issues, with the danger that the computer is taking over the human rather than humans using computers” and that “the employee is unable...

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Fooled' at Contract Vote

When our last contract was negotiated, the BA didn’t tell us the whole story. The local had a meeting where they just told us about the wages and a few other things. Months later, when we finally got a copy of the contract, we found new language that weakened our seniority rights. Isn’t this illegal? –Won’t Be Fooled Again Dear “Won’t Be Fooled,” The IBT constitution requires a secret ballot vote on contracts, and federal...

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Part-Time Pension Puzzle

I recently heard that some part-timers at UPS are in Teamster pension plans. As a part-timer I was in the company plan. After I went full-time, I didn’t get any credit toward my Teamster pension for my part-time years. After Central States announced the pension cuts, they said there are not enough active workers in the Fund. Then why aren’t the part-timers in the fund? –UPSet at UPS Dear UPSet, What you heard is true....

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Atlanta Gathering Builds Forces for Change

June 6, 2005: Teamsters from 15 different locals in the South and Southeast converged in Atlanta on July 9 to discuss plans for the 2006 IBT election and delegate races, and to learn how to be more effective Teamsters. Nearly all of the 50 members on hand are preparing to run for IBT convention delegate in early 2006. The meeting was an opportunity to share ideas and strategies for the elections.“We need to take steps...

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Members Respond to Local Officers’ Call for New IBT Leadership

June 6, 2005: In May, concerned Teamster officers announced that we were forming the New Leadership Committee, to put together the program and leadership team that can defeat Hoffa in next year’s IBT election. Since then, messages have poured in from Teamster members who want to be part of the effort to beat Hoffa in 2006 and rebuild Teamster Power. We want to hear from you with your concerns about our union’s future and your...

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