On the Defensive at UPS

March 26, 2010: President Hoffa and Ken Hall responded to TDU’s calls for stronger contract enforcement in a conference call with UPS shop stewards.

The Teamsters Package Division held a conference call last night for UPS shop stewards on legislative and contract enforcement issues.

Much of the call focused on a report on an upcoming fight over legislation that would make it easier for FedEx employees to exercise their right to join our union. Click here to read more about this important issue.

But IBT Vice President and Package Division Director Ken Hall also addressed issues like 22.3 full-time job elimination, 9.5 violations, supervisors working and other problems where the union has come under fire for failing to stand up to UPS and enforce the contract.

Hall blamed these problems on members for failing to file and document grievances that can be won in arbitration—and local officials and members for bringing cases with “no facts.”

Hall Blames Members, Not UPS for Violations

Hall addressed a series of issues pressed by TDU where the IBT has failed to enforce the contract and look out for the members.

Full-Time Combo Job Elimination: The National Grievance Panel has not heard a single one of the hundreds of grievances filed on UPS’s elimination of 22.3 jobs. Hall said,”Quite frankly 2009 was not the right time” to go to an arbitrator to enforce Article 22.3. Hall should try telling that to one of the thousands of UPS Teamsters who have lost their full-time jobs.

Apparently, 2010 is not the right time either. Our union didn’t take up any of the 22.3 greivances at the national panel in March either. The contract is clear and makes no exception for volume. Any reference to volume in Article 22.3 was eliminated from the contract in 2002. “Even though we think we’re right,” Hall said, “We don’t want to roll the dice” with an arbitrator. Meanwhile UPS continues to destroy full-time combo jobs. Click here for more information on this issue.

9.5 Violations: On the call, Hall blamed the lack of 9.5 enforcement on Teamster members, saying “One of the problems that we’ve had with 9.5 is that while our members say the company is abusing it, we see very few grievances that make it to the national level.”

First, Hoffa and Hall water down the 9.5 language and makes it harder for members to file grievances. Then they blame the lack of 9.5 enforcement on the members. Click here for a TDU report on the watering down of 9.5 protections.

Sups Working: Asked about rampant supervisors working violations, Hall admitted that “This is an issue that goes on all over the country,” but pinned responsibility on members for failing to file and properly document grievances. “In many cases sups work on a daily basis in a particular location and no one files a grievance about it,” Hall said.

No doubt these this is a real problem. But what about the thousands of good grievances that are filed and are settled for dimes on the dollar? Apparently it’s not Hall’s job to enforce the contract. It’s to pass the buck and blame the members! Click here for a TDU report on how to document supervisors working grievances.

UPS-IBT Pension Plan: For months, members have struggled to get information from the UPS-IBT Pension Plan that covers UPS Teamsters in the Central and Southern Regions and the Carolinas. On the conference call, Hall addressed the information Brownout—but offered few details and no answers to the specific questions and problem with the plan raised by TDU. Hall claimed only that the “trustees addressed this issue” and that they have a meeting next week to “talk about how information is made more accessible.” Click here to read TDU’s report.

Fewer Excuses, More Enforcement

Our contract can’t be enforced unless stewards and members document violations and file grievances. TDU publishes materials to help members do just that. From there, it’s up to our union leadership to take action.

It’s hard for members to enforce the contract when our officials are wringing their hands and passing the buck.

Management is walking all over our contract. UPS Teamsters need fewer excuses and more enforcement.

Click here to have your say. Send a comment or question to TDU.

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