January 28, 2005: More people are working more hours than ever before in the U.S. The drive to press more production out of fewer workers is putting a squeeze on workers and their families.
Teamsters are no exception. Ask the family of a freight road driver, a UPS package car driver, or a grocery warehouse selector—nearly every Teamster jurisdiction has its own excessive overtime horror story.
Teamsters have consistently rated excessive work as one of their top concerns. In a recent survey by TDU, UPS members said that overtime was their top concern after the issues of pension and health benefits.
Family life is one casualty of excessive overtime. A Teamster may not see his or her children for more than minutes on a work night—or not at all—and then be too tired to take advantage of weekend time.
Another casualty: overworked, tired workers are more likely to have accidents. They are also more susceptible to repetitive strain injuries and back injuries. Among drivers, fatigue is a major contributor to vehicle accidents.
As the Local 206 example (below) shows, it is possible to win and enforce contract language that protects against excessive overtime.
The IBT should make this issue a strategic priority since it affects so many Teamsters, our families, and our communities.