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

Teamsters Say It's Time to Deliver on the Dream

TDU members are commemorating Martin Luther King Day with a national day of action to demand that UPS respect the day as a paid holiday and by telling employers it's time to deliver on the dream.

Lame-Duck IBT Leadership Appoints Tony Andrews to Replace Aloise

The IBT General Executive Board (GEB) has approved the recommendation by James Hoffa to appoint Tony Andrews as International VP for the Western Region, over the dissent of president-elect Sean O’Brien and nearly half of the GEB members.

View More News Posts