Will UPS Freight Deal Undercut Our Union?

May 23, 2007: The Hoffa administration may make drastic concessions to UPS Freight management in exchange for a contract in Indianapolis and the right to organize the company nationally.

In a recent report, International Rep and Hoffa Assistant Brad Slawson stated that the UPS Freight contract will not meet National Master Freight Agreement standards and will not be in the Central States pension or health and welfare funds. A deal could be cut as soon as June or July.

The contract will be ratified by 130 Indy Teamsters, but will affect our whole union, posing clear dangers to freight Teamsters and the future of Teamster benefit plans. It is time for concerned Teamsters and officers to be heard. Many in the freight division are upset. Rather than just grumble, they should speak with a strong voice.

UPS Freight (formerly Overnite) is our chief nonunion rival in the freight industry. We need to win a model contract there that will boost Teamster organizing efforts and stand as a solid precedent for the upcoming National Master Freight Agreement negotiations next year.

That means winning strong wages, NMFA workplace protections and organizing UPS Freight workers into our Teamster funds.

Strong Wages: A major goal in next year’s freight negotiations is to win higher wages (freight Teamsters make $5 an hour less than UPS) and to eliminate the tiered wage structure that forces drivers to start at 75 percent of scale. We need to start by winning high wages at UPS Freight and a clause that guarantees that any wages or benefits won in the upcoming NMFA will be extended to UPS Freight.

NMFA Standards: UPS management has a history of ruling the workplace with an iron hand. We need to win NMFA protections, nothing less—to protect UPS Freight Teamsters and to block Yellow-Roadway and ABF from demanding concessions in the NMFA.

Teamster Pensions: The UPS Freight contract is an opportunity to win strong benefits for UPS Freight workers and to build up our Teamster pension funds by including a growing company. We need to build toward the future, not let UPS and UPS Freight opt out of Central States—especially with other employers like ABF looking to do the same.

Our union represents 225,000 Teamsters at UPS. We’ve got the numbers, the bargaining power and the leverage. It’s time to use it.

Anything less than full NMFA is less than can be won and could undercut our union’s standards in the industry. It could also undercut our ability to organize UPS Freight nationally.

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