Letters From Our Members

We Need a Strong NMFA in 2008

Our NMFA is up March 31, 2008, and we need Mr. Hoffa and the International Negotiations Committee to stop treating freight Teamsters like second class union members. We are paid far short of the UPS drivers, yet we do the same work as they do, plus the additional responsibility of hauling hazmats. We also have to work forced overtime and our companies manipulate workers into doing the work of three or more employees for the salary of one.

After our last contract was approved, our union said we “negotiated the best and most lucrative contract in the history of the Teamsters.” I say, “That needs to be seen.” The fact is, in the past ten years, our hourly rate went up only $3.80.

Yellow Transportation has made record profits and owns multiple trucking companies (Roadway, New Penn, Holland, Reddaway, Meridian IQ , Reimer Express). Our union needs to make our unionized companies bring more than 25, 35, and 50 cent raises to the bargaining table.
Mike Caperino
Local 641, Yellow
Union, N.J.

Harley Solidarity

Our brothers and sisters in the machinists union at Harley Davidson are in a battle that could relate to us in the future. Remember how we voted in the present freight contract with Hoffa’s word that there would be no significant changes in the health and welfare?

Almost immediately deductibles increased and our health insurance coverage decreased. Retirement plans also took the hit, even in fully funded plans like the Western Conference. It ended up leaving us with the worst health and retirement benefits I’ve had in my 22-plus years as a Teamster.

One of the main issues at Harley Davidson is that employees are picking up more expenses for their health insurance. At least they saw it coming before it hit them and were able to make a choice! Another big issue is having a two-tiered wage system.

Unfortunately, this is something most of us gave up years ago to insure “job security.”

I know there are a lot of Teamsters out there who ride Harley Davidsons, not just because they’re the best motorcycle made, but because they’re made by Americans with union wages. Please support our Harley machinists because if they are able to hold onto their benefits, it may give us a bit of leverage to restore the ones we lost—or at least keep what we have.
Steve Matson
Local 413, Yellow
Columbus, Ohio

Don’t Neglect Retirees

The other day I was asked by an active Teamster if I thought that the companies, insinuating UPS seeing how their contract is coming to the bargaining table more than a year early, need to pay more toward the health and welfare of the union members. My reaction was probably not what my friend was expecting.

I informed him that I worked at UPS for over 30 years and I do not know of one time that they did not live up to what they had agreed to do for me when it came to my union negotiated benefits. On the other hand, the Central States Health and Welfare Trustees did not, as we retirees would not be paying 1,000% more for less coverage than we had before we retired. By less coverage I mean losing your dental and visual as well as any dependents, not to mention losing (ALL) your benefits at age 65.

I am quite sure if our union leadership had to abide by the same rules that we are forced to live under things would be much different. But when you can draw multiple pensions and have the life long family insurance coverage as well as no reemployment restrictions, why would you give a damn! Bottom line, if our money is misused by our leadership for their personal gain then what good would it do for the employers, when it’s quite evident the money does not benefit their employees.

Oh! And just for the sake of getting it off my chest, I think every Feb. 1 we should be out in front of our locals picketing the unfair treatment of Teamster retirees!
Once a Proud Teamster,
Wayne Sharp
Local 89, retiree
Louisville, Ky.

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