Early Talks Give Us the Power to Win Big at UPS Freight

January 26, 2007: In a recent statement on UPS national contract talks, IBT Parcel Division Director Ken Hall announced he would also continue bargaining with UPS Freight on a contract covering 125 employees at the Indianapolis terminal—the only UPS Freight barn represented by our union.

The outcome of the simultaneous contract talks will determine the future of benefits and contract standards for UPS and freight Teamsters alike for years to come.

  • Will our union use our bargaining leverage at UPS to win the right to organize UPS Freight company-wide without interference from management?
    u Will the UPS Freight contract protect Teamster standards—or will it undercut the UPS and National Master Freight agreements?
  • Will we strengthen our benefits by including UPS Freight in our Teamster funds—or will Hoffa give in to UPS management’s designs to undermine our benefits and break out of the funds?

Our union leaders have sent mixed signals about where they stand. With the future on the line, Teamster members need to demand that our negotiators hold the line and protect our future.

Mixed Signals
Standing with Hall and Freight Director Tyson Johnson on the podium at the Teamster Convention, Hoffa announced, “A historic card-check agreement will soon bring 12,000 UPS Freight employees under IBT contract.”

Later it was revealed that the card-check agreement only covered 125 employees at one terminal, just one percent of the company’s workforce.

Now top Teamster officials are openly saying that UPS Freight Teamsters may be kept out of our union pension plans. Brad Slawson, General Secretary-Treasurer Tom Keegel’s right-hand man and an International rep in the Freight Division, announced at a union meeting that any contract with UPS Freight will probably not include the Central States Pension Plan.

If Slawson is right, that would be a disaster to Teamster efforts to reverse our benefit cuts. UPS Freight would add $180 million in contributions to Teamster pension plans every year—strengthening our benefits and protecting our funds for the future.

A UPS Freight contract that fails to include the Central States Pension, and other Teamster pension plans, should be rejected by the Freight Division and the IBT.

Organizing UPS Freight Wall to Wall
The simultaneous negotiations with UPS and UPS Freight increase our bargaining power and give us the leverage we need to win a company-wide contract at UPS Freight that meets or beats NMFA standards.

Yellow Roadway CEO Bill Zollars has already announced that any deal between the Teamsters and UPS Freight will “set precedent” for the National Master Freight Agreement. Zollars has also expressed interest in early bargaining. Translation: if our union settles short at UPS Freight, Yellow Roadway wants early talks to bargain the same concessions.

The UPS Freight contract will also set the standard for other nonunion freight competitors we need to organize. A weak UPS Freight agreement would also give UPS the incentive to siphon away work done by UPS feeder drivers.

The IBT needs to put the power of 215,000 UPS Teamsters behind the 125 Teamsters at UPS Freight.

UPS management is hungry to settle early. If our union is going to give UPS an early deal, we need to win a company-wide UPS Freight agreement that meets the standards set by the NMFA and UPS contracts, including strong Teamster benefits.

President Hoffa and our union negotiators need to make it clear to the company and to Teamster members that we will settle for nothing less. If and when he does, Teamster members need to get behind him in this fight.

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