August 12, 2008: The Central States Pension giveback may fuel the full-time jobs takeaway at UPS.
The company chair of the Nor Cal UPS Grievance Panel told Teamster local officials at panel hearings that UPS would not be filling vacant Article 22.3 positions in Northern California locals and that the company would not fill future Article 22.3 positions in Nor Cal when they become vacant.
According to some sources, UPS wants to move as many full-time combo jobs to the Central and Southern Regions, where the company’s pension costs are greatly reduced because full-time UPS Teamsters are no longer covered by the Central States Pension Plan.
When the contract was being voted on, UPS Teamsters in the West were told that the Central States pension giveaway would not affect them. Was that wishful thinking?
The new UPS-Teamster pension plan in the Central States is a defined benefit plan, rather than a defined-contribution plan. As a result, UPS stands to save money if they can move full-time combo positions there.
However, Teamsters in the Central and Southern Regions, covered by the new plan do not report that new 22.3 jobs are being created. The UPS Full-Time Jobs Takeaway may just be a shell game.
Nor Cal Teamster Officials: “Protect Our 22.3 Jobs.”
In a letter dated Aug. 8, the head of the Teamsters Nor Cal Grievance Committee Marty Frates alerted all Nor Cal Teamster locals that, “UPS has made a decision in some areas to eliminate Article 22.3 jobs and is returning those employees to part-time status. In addition, UPS is not replacing vacant Article 22.3 jobs.”
The Teamster Nor Cal Committee has asked all locals to do an audit of the full-time 22.3 jobs in their local. Frates also wrote a letter to Ken Hall on the same day, requesting a copy of the report that UPS was required to submit to the International Union detailing and identifying the Article 22.3 jobs in Nor Cal that the company will maintain under Article 22.3 of the new contract.
UPS was required to submit that report to the International Union in February. To date, Teamster locals have not been provided with a copy, making it much more difficult to enforce the contract.
UPS was required to have created 20,000 full-time combo jobs nationwide by Aug. 1. The company is clearly in violation of this requirement. Stewards and members across the country report that all 2,500 new combo jobs due by Aug. 1 have not been created, and in some areas UPS is eliminating positions through layoffs and not filling all vacant positions.
International Union Needs To Take the Lead
The International Union needs to provide the list of 20,000 combo jobs to every UPS local and coordinate a national audit.
Our union needs to file a national grievance demanding that UPS immediately fill all vacant Article 22.3 positions and pay full back pay to members who were denied access to these jobs.
It will be much more difficult for UPS to move filled Article 22.3 jobs than empty ones. The International Union also needs to back local unions in their fight to maintain full-time job opportunities under Article 22.3 in all areas of the country.
The UPS contract only requires the company to maintain 20,000 full-time Article 22.3 positions nationally. Only a few exceptions exist where UPS is required to maintain a minimum number of positions in specific locals.
Louisville Local 89 has this language in their rider. Chicago Local 705, which is a separate agreement from the national contract, also has this language, and has 22.3 jobs over and above the 20,000.
Our International Union should work to secure agreements that UPS will not reduce Article 22.3 jobs in areas where those jobs are under attack.