December 7, 2009: The IBT Carhaul Division seems to be operating a concession-stand where anything goes. It’s open season for mileage cuts, percentage pay deals, hourly cuts, border agreement waivers, you name it.
Most Cassens drivers are working for 11 percent under scale. Several locals have agreed to wage-cuts for certain traffic. The Canada-USA border agreement has been scrapped in Michigan and Buffalo.
The worst thing is that it is all being done without a union plan or any accountability. It’s being done terminal-by-terminal and local by local.
Sometimes it’s even local against local. Detroit Local 299 has given Jack Cooper a 15 percent wage cut to open a shop in Detroit. Teamster mechanics at other Jack Cooper shops, who will lose work, have been offered the right to transfer; that is, to relocate and take a wage cut.
Some of the “votes” are not even by secret ballot, and often with nothing on paper to vote on, simply a “take my word for it.”
A number of locals have approved a 25 percent of revenue deal for hauling used cars. In most cases, nothing was on paper and the “votes” were done by calling or visiting people one at a time.
A deal on hauling used cars may be a good idea, to try to take some business from nonunion operators. But it should be done nationally, on paper, with a plan to organize, and approved by a legitimate Teamster vote.
The time for a real union plan is long overdue.