July 12, 2007: Master contracts are the foundation of our union’s power. Will Hoffa let that foundation crumble? And what can concerned Teamsters do about it?
Master contracts cover about 25 percent of Teamsters, but they set standards for the majority. They are the foundation of Teamster power.
Jimmy Hoffa Sr. understood this principle and built up our national contracts. Is Hoffa Jr. giving up on the master contracts that were his father’s greatest legacy?
Just look at the warning signs that are flashing at us right now.
UPS. The Hoffa administration claimed early bargaining would deliver stronger pension and health benefits. But top officials are leaking that Hoffa may go along with UPS’s proposal to break up the Central States Pension Fund.
CARHAUL. The Hoffa administration has allowed 3,300 carhaulers, nearly 40 percent of Teamsters covered by the contract, to have their wages slashed to 17.5 percent below union scale—and frozen for years. This has happened even as billionaire Ron Burkle has taken over 60 percent of the industry.
FREIGHT. Freight division leaders openly question whether Hoffa has given up on this core industry. ABF’s CEO is promoting a scheme to bust out of Teamster pension plans and set up a company pension, or even just a 401(k).
DHL. IBT insiders report that Hoffa will allow DHL out of the National Master Freight Agreement.
UPS FREIGHT. Over a year ago Hoffa claimed a national cardcheck agreement would soon unionize 15,000 UPS Freight employees. Now management is playing hardball and attacking our union—and union officials in freight are concerned that Hoffa will give up Teamster standards to get the company under a contract.
UPS CARTAGE. Hoffa’s so-called “master” contract leaves substandard wages in place and no protection against subcontracting.
Master Contracts:Fact From Fiction
A true master contract uses our union’s national power to raise all Teamsters up to the highest level.
What the Hoffa administration calls a “master contract” is any contract that covers multiple locations, even if there’s no Teamster pension, the wages vary by location, and the conditions are inferior to our national standards.
Hoffa’s “master contracts” mean drastically lower wages (carhaul, UPS Cartage), undercutting our national standards (DHL and UPS Freight), and potentially even busting up our pension plans (UPS, freight, and UPS Freight).
Rank and File Can Make a Difference
Our Right to Vote on contracts gives members the power to prevent Hoffa from selling out our national contracts. But rank-and-file Teamsters need to be informed and united to use the power in our hands.
In carhaul, members nearly voted down Hoffa’s massive givebacks, but we fell just 2 percent short. With just a little more rank-and-file involvement, a 17.5 percent wage cut could have been prevented.
Do you want to be part of a movement to defend our contracts and rebuild our union’s power? Or do you want to sit on the sidelines?
Contact Teamsters for a Democratic Union today to find out how rank-and-file Teamsters can stand up for our contracts and the future of our union.
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