March 15, 2013: UPS is making record profits in a tough economy by using technology, harassment and excessive overtime to pile more work on drivers.
Hoffa and Ken Hall kicked off bargaining by saying there would be no agreement unless UPS addresses this production harassment. But they have kept a strict information Brownout on what protections we're actually fighting for.
UPS Teamsters need to carefully review any proposed new contract and judge for themselves if it includes the protections we need to fight harassment and excessive overtime.
Strengthen 9.5 Rights
The 9.5 language only works if drivers are free to go on the list without retaliation and management has to address violations by adjusting drivers' loads. Penalty pay is not enough.
The number one way to stop exploding stop counts and 11-hour days is to make UPS hire enough drivers to cover the work.
So far, Hall has only talked about vague contract language that would allow drivers to file a grievance if UPS does not "maintain a sufficient workforce."
This is modeled on the language that is supposed to stop supervisors working and we all know how toothless that is.
UPS promised two years ago to address over-dispatch by hiring more drivers. It's time to get that agreement in writing.
The contract needs clear triggers that make UPS create package jobs in centers with repeated 9.5 violations.
Penalties for Harassment & Retaliation
Hoffa and Hall have promised new language that protects members from threats or retaliation for going on the 9.5 list, reporting an injury, and going on comp.
To work, these protections need to be backed up with penalties that make management pay a price for violations. Otherwise, the language will be as unenforceable as the "respect and dignity" clause.
Protect Members from Technology
In the last contract, Hoffa and Hall gave UPS the right to terminate members using only information for technology in cases of "dishonesty." UPS has abused the loophole. It's time to close it.
Article 6, Section 6 should ban all discipline that is based solely on information from technology: GPS, Telematics, ORION, IVIS or any successor system.
Don't Be Fooled Again
This year's contract negotiations is not the first time Ken Hall has talked tough on production harassment.
During the last International Union election, Hall organized a national sticker day against Unfair Production Standards.
Afterwards, Hall held a conference call for UPS shop stewards and announced that UPS management had agreed to curb production harassment, stop assigning supervisors to ride with drivers who file 9.5 grievances, and to review their dispatch records and hire more drivers to match the number of drivers employed when volume was previously at this level.
"We told UPS we are not going to tolerate harassment of our members. You can't use the economy as an excuse," Hall told stewards.
UPS management's assurances—and Hall's tough talk—turned out to be empty promises.
The contract is our chance to get enforceable harassment protections in writing. Don't be fooled again.