August 10, 2007: In one of James R. Hoffa's last interviews before he disappeared in 1975, he was asked what the priority should be for the Teamsters Union. His reply: "I'd reinstate some additional organizers for the purpose of having master contracts. There's no way unions can survive without master contracts."
His words still ring true. Our master contracts, and even the unity of our pension plans, are under attack from global corporations. Some in the International Union headquarters as discussing how to go along. Fortunately, thousands of DHL Teamsters are discussing how to defend and expand our master contracts.
DHL Teamsters, stewards and some local officers have continued to take united action since they forced Hoffa to call off negotiations with DHL on the sell-out draft agreement. Across the country, DHL Teamsters are organizing to defend and expand the National Master Freight Agreement standards.
- The great majority of Pittsburgh Local 249 DHL Teamsters sent Hoffa a signed postcard calling for Brad Slawson to be replaced as bargaining chair and stewards to be included in bargaining. Click here to download the postcard.
- Petitions have come in from many stations, from Monterey California Local 912 to Cleveland Local 407.
- Over 200 DHL Teamsters in Oakland Local 70 asked their secretary treasurer, International Vice President Chuck Mack, to send a letter to President Hoffa voicing their determination to defend the contract and include stewards in bargaining. Click here to download Mack’s letter.
- In San Francisco Local 85 members circulated a letter expressing their position. Click here to download their letter.
And the movement is growing. From Portland to Boston, from Dallas to Los Angeles, Teamsters are spreading the word, distributing bulletins, and building a united movement.
Hoffa sent a letter to all locals calling them to Detroit for an August 21 “summit” on the DHL situation. He has promised to junk the sell-out contract negotiated by Brad Slawson, but continues to retain Slawson as chair of bargaining. All the more reason for all DHL Teamsters—including those in the white paper contracts in New York, Chicago, Upstate New York, Baltimore and elsewhere—to unite to fight for a strong master contract that brings all DHL Teamsters up to the NMFA standards.
Some union officers are trying to soften DHL Teamsters up for givebacks by parroting the company line that DHL needs concessions to be competitive in the U.S. market. This is baloney. For many years, DHL’s competitor UPS lost money in Europe and used its profits from the U.S. to subsidize its European operations, in order to operate globally. DHL wants to expand their operations in the world’s biggest market, the USA. Teamsters will give them high quality work, but we will not give away our master contract.
DHLers now just launched their own on-line forum. Check out www.dhlteamsterforum.com. This is an independent forum for all DHL Teamsters to exchange ideas and information.
What do you think should happen next to defend strong Teamster standards at DHL? Click here to send us your opinion.