March 2, 2009: When the International gave Allied the 17.5 percent wage concession, the deal provided that Allied’s Axis subsidiary would become union. Two years later, that hasn’t happened. Nonunion shuttle drivers work the Dearborn Michigan yard. Nonunion drivers pull the traffic. Where’s the union leadership?
December 22, 2008: TDU salutes Teamsters who made a difference in 2008, like carhaulers who united to fight concessions.
Earlier this year, Teamster carhaulers went into national bargaining with the deck stacked against them. But in a decisive vote on August 11, carhaulers united to beat back concessions.
They rejected the national contact and all three regional supplements, and they forced most concessions off the table.
Paul Kubal, a driver for Jack Cooper in Detroit Local 299, summed it up: “We beat back the concessions that both the companies and our union bargainers claimed they had to have. We knew times were tough but we stood strong in preserving our contract. That took organization to get it done, and that’s where TDU comes in.”
Despite all the odds against workers battling concessions in the auto industry, carhaulers said No and made it stick.
Tom Landwehr, a driver in Nashville Local 327 who was an observer at the vote count, said he was very nervous as they started the count. It was hard to believe that members could beat the employers and International officials. “But then the No votes just kept piling up.”
Concessions defeated include:
- a tiered progression wage for new-hires;
- Article 53.1 in the West, which would have allowed union carriers to open nonunion terminals;
- the use of GPS to fire drivers;
- a five-tour concession that would have allowed companies to force drivers out for a week;
- and the elimination of equalization of loads between terminals.
Teamster carhaulers didn’t win all they wanted, but they got a taste of what organized members can do. Now they want to build on that start.
“We learned in 2008 that carhaulers can have power when we get informed, spread the word, and work together,” said Ken Kontrath, a PMT driver in San Jose Local 287. “But we also learned that we could achieve a whole lot more if we don’t wait till the last minute. We won’t make that mistake again.”
Carhaulers are organizing now to build a strong national network of members, stewards and local officers, in conjunction with Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU).
Teamsters for a Democratic Union is running a series of stories about Teamster members who made a difference in 2008.
You can help make a positive difference in our union in 2009. Click here to join Teamsters for a Democratic Union and become a part of our movement.
Members Who Made a Difference: Next >
“Carhaul Teamsters learned a great lesson when we voted down the first offer. We beat back the concessions that both the companies and our union bargainers claimed they had to have. We knew times were tough but we stood strong in preserving our contract. That took organization to get it done and that’s where TDU comes in.
“We held conference calls where carhaulers from across the country were able to share information and reinforce opposition to the givebacks. Where would working Teamsters be without TDU? We’d be isolated and discouraged. That’s no way to be a union. So step up today and help us continue the fight to enforce the contract and save our jobs. Join TDU today.” — Paul Kubal, Jack Cooper, Local 299, Detroit
“Owner operators out of Flint voted down the second contract. It didn’t address our issues and we ended up with a worse contract. We need our own supplement.
“We understand the company drivers got changes on most of the proposed concessions so that explains the contract passing. Owner operators need to learn from that fight and organize for our needs. We can push back but, just like the office Teamsters, we don’t have the numbers.
“We’ll need to get all Teamster carhaulers to understand what we face. We need that majority support on the next contract. That’s the union we need to forge.” — J.D. Smith, Allied Owner Operator, Local 332, Flint, Mich.
“It was tough to see the Michigan office supplement bargained away. Our reps claimed it was the best way to defend our jobs. We know they weren’t happy that we held up the last contract. Our loss is the price we had to pay for getting an honest vote count. That said, it shows how important the supplement votes can be.
“We need to prepare now to get stronger language and improvements on the supplements in the next contract.” — Ava Miller, Allied, Local 332, Flint
What do you think? Call (313) 842-2600 or email info [at] tdu.org.
November 14, 2008: In August, Teamster carhaulers stood up, said No to concessions and won an improved contract as a result. But there’s more work to be done.
Carhaulers who are upset with the direction of our industry aren’t giving up. We’re getting organized.
Teamster carhaulers who are upset with the direction of our industry met at the TDU Convention in October to make plans to do something about it.
“We learned in 2008 that carhaulers can have power when we get informed, spread the word and work together,” said Ken Kontrath, a PMT driver in San Jose Local 287. “But we also learned that we could achieve a whole lot more if we don’t wait till the last minute. We won’t make that mistake again.”
The TDU Carhaul Committee is making plans to bring members together in 2009 to enforce our contract, bring Allied back up to full scale, prepare for the next contract just over two years away, and lay the basis for organizing the nonunion competition in the industry.
“We’re going to continue to hold conference calls and meetings to share information nationwide,” said Matt Studd. “Teamsters for a Democratic Union has been there with information and resources for carhaulers who want a new direction.”
“For all my fellow Teamsters who agree that our union is not where it should be, I challenge you to step up and do what’s right: join TDU.”
Help support our work in carhaul. Click here to join TDU.
September 12, 2008: Our solidarity and our No vote stopped disastrous concessions, but the companies are coming back after us at the Sept. 16-19 negotiations.
International Union officials are planning to use our right to strike as a threat against us, not against the employers. Watch out for: “If you don’t vote Yes, we will put you on strike!”
No one wants a strike (certainly not the employers!). But watch out for the threat.
Our No vote did not mean a strike. It means No Givebacks!
When Allied’s owner Ron Burkle and the International Union officials wanted Allied Teamsters to vote to cut the wages of PTS Teamsters (to help Burkle acquire PTS) they offered a $2,000 per person bonus. “Vote yes, get a check.”
It is possible that we may see the same bait on the hook again. Did Teamsters fight for decades for a good contract to have us sell it out for a bonus?
Our No vote is not for sale for a bonus. It means No Givebacks!
Our solidarity will defeat concessions and win a better contract. You can help.
Let other carhaulers know to beware. Click here to download this article as a flyer you can post and distribute.
Speak up at union meetings and in your terminal.
Tell them No Givebacks. Order No Givebacks stickers from TDU.
September 5, 2008: Teamster negotiators will meet with the national carhaul employers on September 16-19 at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, following the decisive rejection of the concessionary first offer last month.
Since that rejection, a national network of concerned members and stewards has been busy building unity around the demand of “No Givebacks.” The first offer was loaded with major concessions.
Carhaulers at many terminals have also petitioned to change the negotiating committee, asking James Hoffa to add working carhaulers to the committee and to remove those officials who are too eager to give away what others fought decades to win.
Members continue to build solidarity to win a contract with no givebacks that protects the jobs of all affected members. The national contract covers 9,000 Teamsters, including drivers and owner-operators, heavy truck delivery (driveaway), mechanics, yard and office workers.
You can help build the network pushing for No Givebacks. Here’s how:
Stay in the loop. Click here to get email updates from the TDU Carhaul Committee.
Order stickers and spread the No Givebacks message.
Have your say. Send a comment or a question to the TDU Carhaul Committee.
August 25, 2008: Carhaulers rejected the contract because of the massive givebacks.
For one group of Teamsters, the biggest giveback was the proposed loss of their entire supplemental agreement.
The Michigan Office Supplement has covered union dispatchers and office workers for decades. In the proposed deal that was rejected, the supplement was completely eliminated.
This steals the affected Teamsters’ right to vote on their own supplement covering their area of work.
We demand the Michigan Office Supplement be restored!
Solidarity Means Teamsters Stick Together
We don’t stand by and watch our brothers and sisters get stabbed in the back.
The Michigan Office Teamsters are a small group, but they’re good Teamsters. They’ve been on the picket lines standing up for drivers. They went to court to win the right to have observers at our contract vote—and won.
We will stand with them to defend their rights.
The same goes for driveaway Teamsters. Their supplemental agreement was given away in the last contract. So they were shafted in the proposed contract, until we voted it down.
Fortunately Western carhaulers, another relatively small group, do have a separate supplement, which was rejected. In Article 53 of the proposed Western supplement, the companies would have been allowed to open new nonunion terminals in the West. Or perhaps they would be nice enough to let the union have the dues, in exchange for a cut rate white paper-contract. Article 59 in the West allows them to continue “new business” concessions indefinitely.
Solidarity means we stick together. In the next contract proposal, the union needs to restore the Michigan Office Supplement and remove the concessions from the West and from driveaway.
What do you think? Click here to send your comments and questions to the TDU Carhaul Committee.
Help spread the word. Click here to order No Givebacks stickers.
August 21, 2008: Carhaulers who want to help win a good contract have a great new tool: stickers that send our message loud and clear.
TDU will mail you your stickers next week if you place your order soon. Stickers should arrive to you by Aug. 30.
Prices range from 20 stickers for $5 to 200 for $25 (Shipping included in price).
Send a message that we are united for a contract with No Givebacks. Click here to order your stickers. Or call (313) 842-2600.
We have also prepared a poster you can print out and post in drivers’ rooms and other locations. Click here to download the poster and spread the word for a decent contract.