UPSers Eye New Language

January 10, 2008: Language changes in the new UPS contract are now in effect—even though we won’t get our wage or benefit increases until August.

UPS Teamsters need to stay on top of new language—and make it work in our favor.

Excessive Overtime: Opt-In, Opt-Out Up in the Air

UPS is being even more inconsistent than usual in its implementation of the new contract language on excessive overtime grievances.

The new contract requires the company to post a “9.5 opt-in/opt-out” list before Jan. 1 to govern 9.5 grievances through May 31. Drivers who “opt-out” of the 9.5 language will have no right to file a grievance alleging excessive overtime until June 1.

While management circulated the opt-in/opt-out list in some cities as early as Dec. 15, drivers in most areas report that UPS has still taken no action at all.

In other locals, members report that UPS has agreed to go by the old 9.5 language under which all members are eligible to grieve excessive overtime.

That suits many UPS Teamsters just fine who don’t understand why our International Union bargained away the right of some members to file excessive overtime grievances.

“As steward, I will be encouraging everyone to sign the ‘opt in’ list to limit the excessive overtime. I hope I can get all to sign it, but there may be some folks who resist it,” said John Price, a Local 773 steward from Stroudsburg, Penn.

“If nearly everyone ‘opts-in’ we can make this really become ‘non-language’ and protect the right of all employees to grieve excessive overtime. It works well now on the honor system. If your boss knows you don’t want the overtime and are willing to file the grievance he dispatches you much more carefully. If he knows you would like the overtime they obviously desire to have you work such hours,” said Price.

“However by not signing the list you give them complete control of your day for 12 hours a day. Where will that get you when you all of a sudden have an unexpected change in your life? For instance your wife all of a sudden gets her work schedule changed and you need to be home earlier, or you have a loved one who becomes ill and you would like to see them after work, but after work is now 10pm! It’s just bad. It gives back all we fought for,” Price said.

On a positive note, the new contract increases the penalty for excessive overtime grievances to triple time pay for hours worked in excess of 9.5 hours.

To make this improvement mean something, our union needs to insist on the full penalty for 9.5 violations.

Time to File Grievances Cut in Central Region

UPS Teamsters in the Central Region will have half as much time to file a grievance under the new contract. Article 5 of the Central Region supplement states that employees must “reduce the grievance to writing on the regular grievance form provided by the union and have it submitted to the company within five (5) working days.”

That’s a big change from the 10 working days we had in the past and members will need to be on the ball to get grievances filed in a timely manner.

Also, the time the steward has to grieve discipline has been reduced from 10 working days to 10 calendar days.

Watch Out for New Subcontracting Loopholes

Article 26 contains new contract language that will make it harder for local unions to police subcontracting through the grievance procedure.

Under new language in Section 3, “only the Local Union with jurisdiction in the geographic area in which a subcontracted feeder movement originates” can file a grievance for subcontracting.

This will prohibit local unions who are being “run over” from aggressively taking on the subcontracting.

Affected locals will be forced to appeal to the Parcel and Small Package Division which will also have the right to file a subcontracting grievance in these cases.

UPS Teamsters need to keep the pressure on the Parcel Division to stop subcontracting when some locals aren’t.

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