A Loophole Big Enough to Drive a Truck Through

January 15, 2010: Teamsters at UPS Freight say subcontracting is rampant while members are laid off.

TDU spoke to Teamsters around the country for this special report on protecting our contract and our jobs at UPS Freight.

Drivers from Chicago, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Memphis, New Jersey, Reno and many more places report seeing freight moving in and out on nonunion trailers daily.

The problem is in the company’s use of Article 44. Under the article, management can subcontract out runs that do not have loads returning to the home domicile.

But our report finds that the company is circumventing this language and subcontracting runs that should go to Teamsters.

“UPS Freight management is using the one-way loophole in Article 44 and driving load after load straight through it,” commented G.W. Owensby, a road driver out of Kansas City Local 41.

Here are a few of the findings from our survey:

  • In Memphis, drivers report that subcontractor J&J Express is regularly running at least 20 trailers.
  • At the Chicago South Holland terminal, the company has cut runs, and given the work to Covenant, Bison and Transport America. “We could probably add 6-12 bids between Chicago and Minneapolis if we could get rid of the subcontracting,” said a Local 710 road driver there.
  • In Lexington, Ky., the company has practically eliminated extra-board wild work. Previously, Lexington drivers who were dispatched on one-way runs could pick up extra runs from their destination terminal to another terminal. Now this work is going to subcontractors. At least two road drivers are running only one or no runs a week because of the decrease in work. Last year the company laid off seven road drivers for five months—while subcontractors did their work.
  • In Reno, four line runs have been replaced with outside carriers like CRST and Schneider.
  • In North Carolina, the company has replaced scheduled runs with subcontractors and knocked road drivers to the dock.
  • In Louisville, management was using subcontractors for runs to Columbus with freight bound to Newburgh, N.Y. Management claimed there was no return freight. Drivers investigated the claim and discovered the company was diverting freight bound to Louisville to Lexington, then sending the freight back to Louisville.

Protect Teamster Jobs

The company is stretching the limits of Article 44. Our union has the power to stop the worst abuses and protect Teamster jobs.

Article 44 contains the following language that drivers can use to protect jobs:

“However, if sufficient freight is generated in the future to provide loads returning to the home domicile, the run shall be performed by members of the bargaining unit.”

If the company is violating Article 44 in your area, your first step is to gather the evidence. Document the trailer numbers and the loads that are being handled by subcontractors on both inbound and outbound freight. Once you have evidence, file a grievance. Your union representative can request more information from the company, including freight manifests from your terminal and the inbound and outbound terminals where the subcontractors are coming from or headed to.

Work with your union rep to pull together all the available evidence and dismantle the company’s case.

Drivers from a number of locals have filed grievances on this issue. Some are slated to be heard at the March national grievance panel.

Our goal is preserving and growing good Teamster jobs. If we don’t enforce this language now, UPS management will keep running all over us.

TDU is organizing a network among UPS Freight Teamsters. To sign on or tell us more about subcontracting or other issues at your terminal, call (313) 842-2600 or click here.

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