Contract Language and the Fight Against Forced Overtime

January 5, 2005: Some Teamster contracts address the issue of excessive overtime. Here are two examples.

Forced overtime is a huge problem in grocery warehousing. Oregon Local 206 has fought for strong contract language limiting overtime in their grocery contracts. Local 206 Secretary-Treasurer Tom Leedham knows about forced overtime from back when he was a rank-and-file member working at United Grocers (now Unified Western Grocers) in the 1970s. “They would work us from 5 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.,” says Leedham.

“In 1977 we struck to get overtime language in our area grocery agreement and won. The language limited forced overtime to two hours a shift and ten hours total a week. To this day, in every contract negotiation, we’ve had to fight to keep this.”

The National Master UPS contract also contains language regarding overtime, though somewhat weaker than what is found in the Local 206 grocery contracts. UPS Teamsters can use this language to pressure management to limit forced overtime.

Some years ago, when UPS drivers at the Bluegrass center in Louisville were being given excessive pieces to deliver, drivers got together to fight the problem using the “9.5 hours” language in the master UPS agreement. Article 37, Section 1 gives the right to grieve if drivers have to work more than 9.5 hours a day for any three days in a workweek. “About 20 of us started consistently filing 9.5 grievances for every period in which there was a violation,” says Local 89 member David Thornsberry, who was the union steward. “We filed almost 200 grievances total. On each of them, we asked that as a remedy UPS hire more drivers. They were inundated with 9.5 grievances, which were taking up about 90% of grievance hearings. As a consequence, they hired about 20 additional drivers at our center over a period of about a year.”

Get Advice Join TDU Donate

Recent News

Contract Win & a New Day for Washington Gas Teamsters

Congratulations to 600 Teamsters at Washington Gas who defeated givebacks and won a new contract that includes 14% wage increases, a $1,000 lump sum payment, new disciplinary protections, and rock-solid job security.

Some UPS Teamsters to Get 33c Cost of Living Raise

Inflation rose 5.0% from May 2020 to May 2021, due to a large bump in May, so some UPS Teamsters will get a 33c per hour cost of living (COLA) raise on August 1, in addition to the contract wage increase of 90c. This is per Article 33 of the contract, which provides for a COLA raise to Teamster employees “who have completed their appropriate wage progression schedule.”

View More News Posts