We’re being buried in forced overtime because of understaffing. Management is making us work 60 and 70-hour weeks. How can we make management hire enough employees, instead of working us to death.
–Overloaded on Overtime
After the Hoffa Split: Forging Alliances Based on Plans, Not Personalities
Local 572, Ralphs Grocery
The Hoffa Unity Slate is cracking into two. More and more members are seeing that we won’t stop the decline of Teamster power until we change our union’s leadership at the top. Now, even members of Hoffa’s own team are realizing the same thing.Hoffa, the candidate, promised to restore Teamster power.
But when the Hoffa train left the station, his platform stayed behind. Instead of restoring the power, Hoffa has focused on managing the decline of Teamster power. Under this approach, we’re always on the defensive, always making contract givebacks or accepting benefit cuts, never mounting a fight. As Tom Leedham said in a recent speech, “Hoffa isn’t about power, he’s about the illusion of power.” But after seven years, the PR and press releases aren’t cutting it anymore.There’s a lesson to be learned from the unmasking of the weak corporate lawyer behind the Hoffa celebrity mystique. In choosing our next General Executive Board, we can’t make our decision based on promises or personalities. We need to elect leaders with clear plans for building our union’s strength.
In Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), we’re not about personalities or just getting someone different into power. We are about a new direction for the Teamsters. And we’re not alone. Many Teamsters are looking for a new direction, including local officers who supported Hoffa in the past—and former members of Hoffa’s own slate.
The fake Hoffa “unity” of recent years has muzzled any serious discussion about what we need to do to revitalize our union. That discussion is wide open now. We should be looking for common ground with all Teamsters regardless of who they have supported in the past—provided that we can agree on a common vision and plan for the future.
As we chart our course going into the coming election, we should be flexible about alliances but firm on our principles. Those principles include:
• Opposition to the pension and health cuts that the employers pushed on our benefit plans. We will support a leadership with a record and plan to fight to restore and protect Teamster pensions.
• Accountability of pension fund trustees to Teamster members and retirees. Full disclosure to the members, not closed-door deals with employers.
• Leadership to win strong contracts, by tapping rank and file power and using smart strategies to combat union-busting. In 1997 the Teamsters Union mobilized UPS members in a year-long campaign and we won. In 2002-2003 the Hoffa administration never mobilized the ranks. Hoffa claimed to bargain the “best contracts ever” and lied about the benefit cuts those contracts made inevitable.
• Organizing the nonunion competition in Teamster industries. The IBT should provide financial help to local unions that put in place real organizing programs. And we should build on the successful organizing strategies of the 1990s when Teamster members, hired as organizers, reversed the decline in Teamster membership and started to grow our union again.
• End the financial waste and multiple salaries and political patronage. Put funds into programs that build Teamster power, not perks. And put in place a real plan to root out Teamster corruption.
• Promote Teamster membership involvement, through accountability, democracy and respect for all members. Promote a diverse leadership, and involve members of all races and backgrounds in our union structure.
Those of us in TDU will look at leaders who come forward with an open mind. We’ll evaluate leaders based on their commitment to a clear program to build Teamster power. The leaders who will stand and fight for such a program are the right leaders for the future of the union.
Click here: Tom Leedham Campaign for Teamster Presidency Moves Ahead!
Click here: Members Back Tom Leedham Candidacy
Click here: Hoffa 'Dis-Unity' Slate Splits
Click here: Teamster Candidates Will Debate
2004 $100,000 Club Report Findings:
patronage are at an all-time high.
• Hoffa pays multiple salaries to 148 political allies.
• Multiple salaries are up 722 percent under Hoffa.
• A record 119 officials on the International payroll
make $100,000 or more—80 percent get multiple
The salary gap is widening between the majority
of local union leaders and a layer of
super-compensated officials—most of whom are on Hoffa's payroll.
• Half of all local union principal officers
make less than $86,000
• Just over 10 percent of principal officers make total
salaries of more than $150,000. Just four percent make
$200,000 or more—80 percent are on Hoffa's payroll
Click here: Patronage or Teamster Power
Click here: $100,000 Club 2005 (Acrobat Reader Required)
Click here: Report Reveals Need for Financial Reform
Click here: Officers' Salaries: A Wide Range
Hoffa Missing In Action for Red Star Teamsters
I would like to thank TDU and Convoy Dispatch for the opportunity to get a very important message out to my Teamster brothers and sisters. I am not currently a member of TDU but I do certainly sympathize and support anyone who aspires to make the Teamsters a more democratic union.
I am one of the lead plaintiffs in the WARN Act lawsuit that the rank and file was forced to bring against USF. I say forced because three months after USF shut down Red Star, Jimmy Hoffa appeared to do little more then accommodate the company’s every whim. I was incredulous when I saw the September edition of the “Teamster Freight News.” The headline touts; “Union wins $7 million Red Star settlement. “ I can’t begin to tell you how untrue that is. In fact, not a single IBT representative bothered to show up at the recent fairness hearing that was held regarding the WARN Act lawsuit.
USF Red Star no longer exists because of years of apparent mismanagement, and a “strike” that the IBT claims Hoffa didn’t authorize. Immediately after the shut down a member wrote to Hoffa and asked; “Why didn’t you call off the strike?” Hoffa didn’t bother to respond, but IBT rep Gordon Sweeton did. He wrote, “General President Hoffa was out of town on other business when this strike was called.”
That statement is incredible, if true. Is it possible that the president of the Teamsters is not in possession of a cell phone? Do we really want to trust our future to a man who would be either this negligent, or inaccessible? We lost close to 2,000 Teamster jobs that day and have recouped less than 20 percent of them at Holland.
USF claims that Red Star could not survive after what amounted to be a one-day strike. A strike that the rank and file was never informed of until the walkout actually happened.
Incidentally, USF announced its reemergence in the East a mere month later. USF dumped Red Star, and they supplanted our contract with USF Holland’s workrules, which are substandard. It seemed that the IBT was more attentive to the company’s expansion desires than the needs of their members. Taking all of this into consideration, the rank and file had to step up and take action into our own hands. The IBT did eventually file a WARN Act lawsuit against USF. It was on the eve of the six-month deadline, and a week after they couldn’t coerce me into dropping our lawsuit. Since then they have ridden our coat tails and have taken credit for any success the rank and file has achieved.
Our attorneys, not the IBT lawyers, were designated by the court to represent the “class” and they worked out the proposed settlement. In fact, the IBT refused to help the members’ attorneys. I thought we deserved more than the negotiated settlement, and said so in court. To paraphrase, “I believe that USF’s callous mistreatment of all its former Red Star employees throughout this ordeal is tantamount to that of Enron’s. USF needs to know its heartless actions towards tenured employees, who happen to be unionized, is unacceptable. This is a fairness hearing and what we ask for is what is fair and just. We believe the $7 million offer is woefully inadequate. USF purports to be a $2.3 billion dollar company. Yellow/Roadway purchased USF and now claims to be a $10 billion operation. When USF shut down Red Star, they claimed to have set aside $70 million for possible litigation. Where is it now? I respectfully request the court to consider voiding this settlement so that there might be more money offered to a class that has endured so much at the hands of not only its former employer, but our union as well. A 50 percent increase in the settlement might just be the moral victory that his class needs to restore its faith that justice and restitution are attainable by the little guy.”
This fight took a lot of heart and determination. I’m proud to be a Teamster and a union man that stood up for my brothers and sisters. Any settlement we achieve is due to the fact that we stuck to our principles and united to win what was rightfully ours. We need a union leadership that will do the same.
Local 107, USF Holland
ABF road drivers in Kernersville, N.C. and Orlando, Fla. are contending with a host of problems that stem from poor terminal management. Runarounds are rampant. Drivers either sit and wait for work or end up running hard to make up for lost earning potential.
“The terminal manager, Ron Meadows” an Orlando driver told Convoy, “seems to think that this is the way to run the operation, along with our Business Agent, Mr. Gary Brown. In the past three months, two drivers have just up and quit basically because of the deteriorating conditions here in Orlando. There are, at this writing, three trucks down for repairs. Would ABF rent trucks so that the teams could possibly earn a living? Nope!
“What happens is that a team returning to Orlando has to give up their truck to the next team in waiting to go out so they can run. Subsequently, there are always three teams on the board waiting for the phone to ring. What does that mean to our earning potential?”
Is ABF purposely violating the contract on dispatch rules or is this mismanagement at the terminal level? Neither Local 385 in Orlando nor Local 391 in North Carolina seem interested in seeing that the contract is enforced.
Joint Council Rules Against Effort to Stop Givebacks
Joint Council 10 officials dismissed charges against five New England locals for violating this clause and members’ right to vote. Local 25 members filed charges against locals 25, 42, 191, 340 and 677 after these locals allowed UPS management to establish a Sunday to Thursday work week without premium pay—in direct violation of the New England supplement.
The charges correctly state that these locals violated the IBT Constitution when they agreed to the midcontract changes without a vote of all the members covered by the supplement or the approval of the National Negotiating Committee.
In dismissing the charges, the Joint Council hearing panel argued that, “Since the Joint National Negotiating Committee is only convened at the time the UPS agreement is negotiated, it would not have been possible for [the locals] to have obtained a review by the Committee.” The Joint Council also ruled that the givebacks were “informal” agreements and not subject to committee approval—a loophole big enough to drive a set of doubles through.
In a separate ruling, the NLRB stated that, “It appears from the investigation that the members of the Committee did give tacit and indirect approval to this change.”
Which is it? Did James Hoffa and Ken Hall, the committee co-chairs, approve the givebacks or not? And do Hoffa and Hall agree that the IBT can’t use Article 2, Section 2 to prevent midcontract changes that undercut the contract? UPS Teamsters have a right to know.
How to Defend Against Harassment
Pressure tactics and intimidation are part of UPS management’s tool kit. The pressure may be turned on or off, or be directed at a select few, but it is rarely out of the picture altogether. And there are times when management embarks on serious campaigns of intimidation. Sometimes a center manager who has been transferred into an area for exactly this purpose launches these attacks. They target everyone, trying to stampede drivers into cutting corners to temporarily keep management off their back.
What can be done to defend yourself and your coworkers? Over the years Teamster members have developed their own tool kit for responding to pressure and intimidation.
Cut Corners Today, Pay the Price Tomorrow
Don’t fall into the trap of taking risky short cuts. One of the most effective defenses is something you can do well in advance. Work every day in such a way and at a reasonable pace that you will be able to maintain over the long run, especially while having an OJS ride.
Working through your lunch or off the clock before work or after you punch out on the DIAD will catch up with you. Cutting corners on safety or on methods is also a risky short-term gamble. Short-term survival tactics such as those mentioned will serve to create an unrealistic production standard that you will not be able to maintain through the ups and downs of your career at UPS.
Many UPS Teamsters use the Daily Log Book, available from TDU, to keep track of significant events during their workday that could effect “performance.” A pocket-sized notebook can serve a similar purpose, as could a PDA. If you are able to recall and point to problems beyond your control—traffic tie-ups, weather problems, delays—you will have the ammunition needed to counter management pressure over production.
Safety and Good Work Habits
Pay attention to how UPS says they want you to do your job. Handle over-70 packages strictly according to the rules. Deliver stops in the order set up by the computer, even if it is goofy. If a decision comes up during the day that may cause you delay, communicate it to the mother ship and let them make the decision. Doing it strictly the UPS way is often the best way to protect yourself and will often succeed in getting a manager off your back.
When they want to ride with you tell them to bring a video camera so they can make a training video. Practice, practice, practice, and don’t forget to get your customers into the act. Ask them to let you do your job exactly the way UPS wants it done when you have that special shadow along with you for the day. Ask your customers to communicate with your rider by complimenting on the good job you do or asking the supervisor all the service questions they have been just dying to know.
There is nothing like a good customer who just wants to know everything there is to know about international shipping from your supervisor.
Unity and Education
It is far easier for management to run amok when members are divided or isolated or uninformed about their rights. So it is a must to practice rank and file unity and carry out some basic education for newer members. Whether your local union is behind the effort or not you can:
• Make it a point to have older workers talk to and greet newer workers.
• Hold short parking lot meetings before or after work to talk about issues and strategies.
• Distribute copies of the contract, and the Rank and File Guide to Enforcing the Contract, to members.
• Insist on representation or a coworker witness when called into a meeting by management.
• Hand out information sheets on rights and issues (available from TDU).
• Start a website for sharing information and ideas (members in Denver, Albany, N.Y., and other areas have sites).
• Hold a member rights workshop, sponsored by your local, if they are willing, or with TDU’s help, if they are not.
• Get together often as a group for special occasions or social events. Getting to know each other and concentrating on the things that unite us are a great way to support each other.
These are just a few of the many strategies that can be used to protect against management intimidation.
Report Reveals Need for Financial Reforms
A review of hundreds of Teamster financial documents uncovered a web of political patronage in which the Hoffa administration used money from the 2002 dues increase to balloon the salaries of key political supporters. The annual study of Teamster officer compensation also revealed a growing divide among union officials. On one side of the salary divide are the majority of local union officers. Half of all local unions pay their principal officer less than $86,000 a year.
On the other side of the salary divide is an elite club of super-compensated Teamster officials, most on the Hoffa administration payroll. Most take home one or more additional Teamster salaries from a Teamster local, joint council or other affiliate.
These super-compensated officials—and the multiple salaries they receive—lie at the heart of the patronage scheme.
Financial documents from the Department of Labor revealed:
• The number of officials on the IBT payroll receiving a multiple salary has increased from just 18 to 148 since Hoffa took office— a staggering 722 percent increase.
• A record 25 Teamster officials now make more than $200,000 a year. Twenty of them are on Hoffa’s payroll.
• In all, 119 officials on the IBT payroll make more than $100,000—a figure that leaped after the 2002 dues hike. Eighty percent of them get multiple salaries.
These officials form the backbone of Hoffa’s political machine. They number among Hoffa’s biggest donors and are the officials the Hoffa Campaign uses to turn out the vote.
Are the 148 multiple salaries doled out by the Hoffa administration helping to buy that political loyalty? You be the judge.
Multiple Salaries—Center of Teamster ControversyFor the last 30 years, members and concerned officers have organized to reform our union’s financial priorities—fighting to eliminate perks for top officials and put our union’s resources towards building union power. Multiple salaries have been at the center of that struggle.
The $100,000 Club has informed members, shed a light on abuses and brought about change. In 1990, when TDU printed the multiple salaries of several candidates for International office, they were quietly dropped from the slate and retired.
In 1993, General President Ron Carey abolished the Area Conferences and in one day eliminated 63 multiple salaries. By 1998, only 18 officials on the International payroll got a multiple salary.
Since taking office in 1999, Hoffa has reversed that trend by handing out numerous regional titles and salaries to political allies. Hoffa also uses the IBT payroll to discipline his critics. Hoffa stripped Willie Whelan of a $20,000 a year multiple salary as the Eastern Director of the Dairy Conference after he and Billie Lee Whelan, the head of Local 803, criticized the IBT for providing no support to a Teamster organizing drive in Long Island.
Click here: Patronage or Teamster Power
Click here: $100,000 Club 2005 (Acrobat Reader Required)
Click here: Officer's Salaries: A Wide Range
Click here: $100,000 Club Findings
Patronage or Teamster Power?
Each year, the Teamster Rank & File Education and Legal Defense Foundation (TRF) conducts a comprehensive analysis of Teamster financial documents and officer compensation.
Convoy Dispatch publishes the results in our annual $100,000 Club issue.
This year, the study focuses on the record number of super-compensated Teamster officials—making $150,000, $200,000 or more—who are on the International Union payroll.
Our $100,000 Club analyzes how the Hoffa administration is using members' dues money in a political patronage scheme—by guaranteeing multiple salaries to a network of political allies.
A total of 148 officials on Hoffa's payroll get multiple salaries. This figure has skyrocketed by 722 percent since Hoffa took office.
Our study also examines the growing salary gap between these super-compensated officials and the majority of local union principal officers who make $86,000 a year or less.
Is all of our dues money being used like it should to fight corporate greed and build union power? Or is some going for patronage and pork? We provide the data and let you decide.
Organizing Report Shows Need for New Strategies to Build Power
Researchers found that not only is Teamster organizing down in the Hoffa years, but that the IBT has failed to strategically focus on the targets that could boost the union’s bargaining power in key industries.
The study was conducted by the Teamster Rank and File Education and Legal Defense Foundation, which has analyzed NLRB organizing figures and Department of Labor statistics for years. Key report findings include:
• Teamster membership has fallen by over 100,000 since 1999 when Hoffa took office. The recent mergers of two rail unions and the graphic communication workers have recouped some of these losses, but mergers are not organizing. And you don’t spend millions on organizing to merge with other unions.
• Organizing under Hoffa continues to fall far behind what was achieved in the 1990s. In 2004 the IBT won 248 elections. This figure was slightly better than the 228 wins in 2003, but worse than the 278 wins in 2002, and far worse than the average of 380 new shops organized annually a decade ago.
• Teamster organizing under Hoffa has largely ignored the nonunion competition in our union’s core industries. Tucking and warehousing companies were targeted in just 19 percent of Teamster organizing drives.
More Money, Less OrganizingGeneral Secretary-Treasurer Tom Keegel recently reported that the Hoffa administration has “poured $44 million into organizing.” But even the largest dues hike in Teamster history failed to reverse the Hoffa administration’s record on organizing.
In 2002, the Hoffa administration raised members’ dues by 25 percent, in part, he said, to boost organizing. Hoffa also reshuffled the organizing department and installed Jeff Farmer as Director of Organizing. The Hoffa administration promised then—just as they are promising now—that the IBT would focus on organizing the nonunion competition to boost Teamster membership and bargaining power in our core industries.
Not only has Teamster organizing dropped far below the levels achieved in the 1990s, but organizing is not directed at strategic targets. The IBT did not participate in a single NLRB organizing election at freight companies Overnite, Conway, Estes or Watkins in 2004.
Cintas, touted by the IBT as a big national campaign coordinated with the UNITE HERE union, does not appear at all in the NLRB statistics. How much of the $44 million was “poured” into this campaign?
Some Teamster organizing takes place outside the NLRB process, among public workers or rail and airline workers. However, most Teamster organizing, especially in our core industries, is covered by these NLRB statistics.
Making Gains in WasteTrucking and warehousing recruitment brought a little over 2,000 workers into the union. Healthcare came in second, with a little over 1,000 workers organized The third largest group of workers organized in 2004 was in waste hauling. A number of local unions have worked with the IBT to organize BFI, Waste Management and Allied—the big players in this industry. In 2002 Waste Management accounted for the most IBT elections against any single employer (20 elections). In 2004 activity has lessened somewhat but continues to show some life. There were 16 elections (and nine wins) against BFI, Waste Management and Allied in 2004.
Is DHL the Strategic Campaign We Are Looking For?Our union experienced an organizing opportunity when the express package delivery company DHL bought Airborne Express. In 2004 the IBT won elections at up to fifty DHL contractors around the country (the exact figure is hard to determine because DHL just drops organized contractors, forcing the locals to organize the same group under another company’s name). Large units of DHL workers were also won in New York and Miami. Overall the IBT organized over 1,500 DHL workers in 2004.
On paper and in press releases the DHL record looks good. Behind the scenes, however, many local union officials are unhappy with the IBT’s handling of the drive. Some locals have organized the same DHL unit more than once, investing significant resources into the same organizing drive without any end in sight of a good contract that can be defended. Local 162 in Portland, Ore. finally struck the DHL contractor, effectively shutting down their airport operation. The local had leverage until the IBT stepped in and told them to call off the strike. The employer knew of the IBT’s decision before the local did.
We need to use the clout we have with thousands of Teamsters organized at DHL, including in many big cities and including the pilots, to put pressure on DHL to stop recycling the contractors as they are organized. The DHL drive has the potential to bring 10,000 new trucking Teamsters into our national contract and pension plans. We need to make it happen.
Click here: Study Reveals Cost of Hoffa's Broken "Cut and Cap" Promises
Click here: IBT Organizing Lags Again in 2004
Click here: NLRB Statistics on Teamster Organizing