April 21, 2008: UPS Teamsters in New York have overwhelmingly voted for changes that will put more pension and contract information in the hands of the members.
At a meeting on April 20, New York Local 804 members approved two changes to their local union bylaws by more than 90 percent.
By a 208 to 12 margin, members voted to require the Executive Board to give a report on the pension and health and welfare funds at each quarterly membership meeting.
By a 207 to 19 vote, members voted to require the local to establish a contract committee to keep members informed and united whenever a contract is being negotiated.
The bylaws campaign grew out of a rank-and-file mobilization against pension cuts and contract concessions at UPS—including a 30 percent cut in pension accruals in 2006.
Last year, members voted by nearly 3 to 1 to reject contact givebacks negotiated with UPS by Local 804 officials.
As a result, members won a better contract offer that both reversed the 2006 pension cuts and defeated new demands by UPS to cut pension benefits for new hires and divert part of members’ wages to pay for their pensions.
But Local 804 Teamsters didn’t stop after they defeated the givebacks. They formed a network called 804 Members United and launched a campaign to reform their local union bylaws.
Members fanned out across the local, distributing leaflets, talking Teamster-to-Teamster and collecting signatures. Two thousand members signed petitions supporting changes to the local union bylaws.
At the last membership meeting, Local 804 President Howard Redmond denounced members “who are handing out papers and dividing the local.”
But Redmond changed his tune yesterday—endorsing the bylaws proposals from the podium. Redmond also pledged to help members obtain pension documents that the Local 804 fund has failed to turn over to members in violation of the Pension Protection Act.
For more information, visit www.804membersunited.org.