Local Gives, UPS Takes

You’ve got to give in order to get, at least that’s what some labor leaders say. Local 89 has given UPS a green light to create hundreds more low-paid part-time jobs at the Louisville air facility. The new jobs are part of UPS’ relocation of Menlo/UPS Cartage air operations to Louisville from Dayton.

While the new jobs will be union, as they should be, the agreement does not contain any guarantee that many of the 1,500 positions will be full-time.

The UPS Cartage operation is much more akin to typical freight work with the majority of volume on pallets and handled by fork lift. Through the years the IBT has repeatedly rejected efforts by freight companies to create part-time jobs. Freight members struck in 1994 to stop the “part-timerization” of freight jobs. UPS members struck in 1997 and won the creation of 10,000 full-time jobs at UPS. Local 89 and the IBT appear now to be reversing the trend.

The question becomes what, if anything, did Local 89 and the IBT choose to give up in order to make the 1,500 new jobs union?

It appears that Local 89 has given up some other protections. Formerly, members have had the right to bid on positions twice yearly. That will be restricted by new language that says that if you choose not to stay in a new position , you will not be considered for other positions. The tryout period for new positions is also reduced. Before, members had ten days to make a decision about whether to stay with a new position or return to their old job. Now they will have only five days.

This was supposedly in exchange for the creation of a handful of day-time combo positions (that will come about when the 2006 complement of full-time positions is created in Louisville).

Also given up was a provision that limited the number of six-hour jobs at the Louisville Air Hub to a total of 681. While many people prefer the six hour positions to three hour jobs, they are another way for UPS to avoid creating good, full-time positions at higher rates of pay. For every two new six-hour jobs created the company is supposed to create one full-time position. Time will tell how many full-time jobs actually come about. The number of three-hour positions UPS can use is unlimited.

Give and give and give and UPS gets 1,500 low-paid, part-time jobs at a new operation that it is eager to get up and running (and in the lucrative air operation). And by the way, every time that UPS expands its part-time job numbers it undermines the goal inherent in the full-time job creation of increasing the percentage of good, full-time jobs at UPS.

When exactly will the IBT and Hoffa stop giving and start using our union’s power to win real gains and protections?
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