December 5, 2007: With the new 2008 contract, Hoffa and Hall gave back to UPS the key gains of our historic 1997 strike: strong Teamster pensions, 10,000 full-time jobs, and more. This happened in no small part because Hoffa and Hall gave up on the contract campaign strategy that made those gains possible.
In 1997, our International Union launched a year-long campaign that gave information and power to our members. Every UPS Teamster had a stake in our contract because we were fighting for members in every job classification: higher pensions, 10,000 full-time jobs, restrictions on subcontracting, and higher wages, including record increases for part-timers. United, we won on every one of these issues.
Hoffa and Hall abandoned this proven contract campaign model and replaced it with an information Brownout. Unifying demands were replaced with a givebacks that pit members against each other: part-time versus full-time, Central States versus others, current employees versus the next generation of UPS Teamsters.
When Hoffa and Hall finally unleashed our union’s power it wasn’t to take on the company, but to mount a historic sales job on the members. Fast-track balloting. PR mailings. Pre-recorded phone calls.
Instead of pressuring the company, Hoffa and Hall put the squeeze on the members: telling us that the contract had to be passed by January 1.
The International Union pulled out every stop to push through record concessions ten months before our contract even expired.
Hoffa and Hall got a majority to pass their concessionary deal. But unlike 1997, a new contract won’t mean a stronger union.