July 27, 2012: When Robb Breck came back in June from a year serving in combat zones in Afghanistan, he really needed some time with his family. Instead UPS denied his vacation and ordered him back to work.
|Robb Breck on duty in |
John Youngermann, a UPS feeder steward in St. Louis Local 688 and a co-worker of Robb's, pointed out, "After serving our country for over a year, Robb saw his family for just two weeks."
The problem is the contract requires 1,250 hours worked to qualify for a vacation, with no allowance for Teamsters returning from military service.
That's wrong. Fortunately, contract negotiations give us a chance to fix it.
Robb Breck drafted a contract proposal to address the problem. It was personally delivered by Youngermann to Ken Hall on July 21 at the Teamster Joint Council 13 picnic. Hall accepted it favorably.
"UPS is not showing me the respect that I deserve," Breck said. "It's not going to cost the corporation much to credit time served overseas toward our vacation time." After all, the number of Teamsters who would be affected would be small. But the impact is enormous.
Breck pointed out how stressful it has been on his family to have him gone for a year in a combat zone on the other side of the planet.
Robb also served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2005-2006, and lost his vacation that year as well.
Federal law requires employers to grant members of the military that are called to duty their jobs back, with seniority. It's time to go beyond the legal minimum, in the UPS contract and in all labor contracts.
Youngermann called this a "must win" issue. He's right. Let's Make UPS Deliver more respect to the military families who serve our country.