May 24, 2013: UPS Teamsters in New York win pension increases, more full-time jobs, and grievance procedure reform.
New York Local 804 members entered UPS contract negotiations with high expectations and steep challenges.
Their pensions had been frozen for more than a decade. Management has been eroding full-time 22.3 jobs and taking advantage of a broken grievance procedure.
Local 804 members have the advantage of having their own supplement which covers 6,000 UPS Teamsters in New York.
But that hasn't resulted in contract gains in Local 804 since 1997. In fact, Local 804 pensions have been frozen for more than a decade and UPS nearly eliminated 25-and-out pensions in the last supplement.
"To win a good contract, we knew we had to bargain in a different way," said Tim Sylvester, Local 804 president.
This time, Local 804 launched a contract campaign a year early.
The local formed a Contract Action Team of stewards and volunteers tasked with keeping members informed and involved—with regular contract bulletins, parking lot meetings, and rallies. Members wore stickers and posted placards in their windshields.
The majority of the Local 804 bargaining committee were stewards and members and they participated in all negotiations.
"UPS saw that members were informed and involved. When we told the company, we were going to Vote No if they didn't improve their contract offer, they knew we could deliver on that threat," said Vinnie Perrone, a package steward and negotiating committee member.
More than 3,000 members filled out a contract survey that the Contract Action Team distributed in parking lot meetings at every building.
"Those surveys were our guide at the bargaining table," said Dorothy Hanlon, a package driver and negotiating committee member. "Our priorities were defined by the members: higher pensions, more full-time jobs and a better grievance procedure."
Membership unity and an organized contract campaign paid off. The new Local 804 Supplement includes:
Pension Increases: Local 804 members won a $400 pension increase—the biggest in the country without any wage diversion. By the end of the contract, members will be able to retire with 25-and-out benefits of $3,500 a month and 30-and-out (or 25-at-age-55) benefits of $4,000 a month.
Grievance Procedure Reform: Members will no longer have to spend a year or more waiting for their suspension or termination to be heard. Beginning, Jan. 1, 2014, disciplinary cases will be heard before a grievance panel of representatives from Local 804 and the company—with an arbitrator sitting in on the case in the event of a deadlock. If the union and company deadlock, an arbitrator will issue a decision within ten days.
Full-Time Jobs: UPS must create 100 new full-time combo jobs in Local 804 by Aug. 1, 2014.
"This is the best supplement we’ve seen in a long, long time," said Mark Cohen a package car driver and Contract Action Team volunteer. "It's amazing the results you can get when you mobilize the members to take a stand against the company."
Videos documenting the Local 804 contract campaign in action can be seen at www.teamsterslocal804.org