August 23, 2007: If UPS or ABF or any other corporation says they will do better than a $3,000 pension at 30 years, keep in mind that with the increased funding, that’s not hard to do. The Central States Fund is paying that now—and will be paying a lot more in a few years.
A Teamster under the national contracts, or contracts with similar pension contributions, now accrues $132 per month pension for each year of service. And in four years, that accrual will be at least $174 per month pension for each year of service. And going up each year after that.
Those amounts are only payable in full at age 62, because of the cuts Central States imposed at the beginning of 2004 in 30-and-out benefits. For each year under age 62 that a Teamster retires, that amount is cut by six percent. For example, if you retire at age 58, you have to cut that amount by 24 percent.
So if you retire at 58 this year, you lose 24 percent of that $132 and get $100 for this year. But in four years, you can retire at 58 and accrue about $132, which is 24 percent off of $174.
Timetable to Restore Teamster Benefits
TDU is urging all Teamsters to demand that the trustees of Central States give us a timetable or benchmarks that lead to restoration of unreduced 30-and-out pensions that our union fought hard to win. We should not settle the UPS contract without the immediate restoration of affordable healthcare and a roadmap for eliminating the six percent early retirement penalty.
Our pensions are going up. There is more money going into the fund, lots more. A few years ago the Central States took in $1 billion per year from employers. Now it takes in $1.5 billion and in four years it will reach $2 billion. The assets of the fund are going up.
So if UPS or ABF or any other employer tells you about some great pension they will offer, keep in mind that they may be comparing what they’ll give you in the future to what you can get now in the Teamster pension plan.
UPS’s first pension offer included a $3,000 a month after 30 years of service. In four years, the Central States plan will pay $5,220 a month for a new Teamster who puts in 30 years of service.
We need to be smart, check the numbers and not fall for a corporate sales job—especially with the future of our pension funds and union at stake.
August 23, 2007: In 1997, Teamsters at UPS made history by forcing the company to create 10,000 new full-time jobs by combining 20,000 part-time jobs. Now UPS is trying to turn back the clock by stopping new full-time job creation—and even eliminating existing full-time jobs.
Ask Nicky Gladwin. In April, UPS management at the San Marcos hub in San Diego told this combo worker and 11-year Teamster that she was being laid off and reduced to part time. Within days, she was dropped to 25 hours a week.
Gladwin is not alone. UPS Teamsters from San Diego to Spokane report the same problem: combo workers being laid off while part-time Teamsters with less seniority work full-time hours.
Under Article 22.3, the company cannot eliminate combo jobs without proving a loss of volume. Gladwin has steadily filed grievances, but five months later she is still working part time.
“When I got my full-time job, I thought this is it. I’ll be able stop living paycheck to paycheck,” Gladwin said. “I saved money and was going to start shopping for a home this summer. Now, the rug has been pulled out from under me. My life has been put on hold.
“The idea of our contract was to create full-time jobs, not to eliminate them. If we let UPS continue to get away with this, that will be the end of combo jobs. Our union needs to take a stand,” Gladwin said.
Violating Article 22.3
In metro Philly, UPS is taking a different tack to violate its obligations under our contract to create full-time jobs.
At the Willow Grove (Local 384) and Lawnside (Local 676) facilities, management is creating so-called Article 22.3 jobs that include shifting as a portion of their day.
But Article 22.3 states that “new full-time jobs” are to be created “from existing part-time jobs.” Neither local had existing part-time shifter positions.
The idea behind Article 22.3 was not just to create full-time jobs—but to increase the ratio of full-time to part-time jobs by combining part-time positions. Without this language, there would be 40,000 more part-time jobs and 20,000 fewer full-time jobs at UPS today.
Local 384 feeder drivers have written the International Union to protest the improper side deal between their local and UPS management.
Draw the Line at the Bargaining Table
Management wants to turn back the clock on full-time job creation at UPS. We can’t let that happen.
Our union needs an action plan for good full-time jobs at UPS:
- Create a minimum of 10,000 full-time jobs in the contract by combining 20,000 positions. This is the minimum. A higher goal of 15,000 is achievable.
- Improve combo jobs by increasing the rate of pay and strengthening seniority and bidding rights.
Enforce the contract by stopping side deals that violate Article 22.3 and returning all laid-off combo workers to full-time with full back-pay.
UPS management is under pressure to settle our contract early. This gives us leverage to win more and better full-time jobs. It’s up to UPS Teamsters to make sure our union leadership doesn’t settle short.
August 23, 2007: As previously reported in Convoy, UPS is preparing to implement new technology that will enable management to monitor drivers like never before.
Our National Negotiating Committee began negotiations by submitting strong new language to protect Teamsters from discipline resulting from the new spy technology. UPS Teamsters need to make sure this language is in the final agreement.
The case of Local 391 Teamster Ron Revels—a 21-year Teamster who was fired for cutting his lunch short to help the company— shows why this new contract language is so important.
On July 12, Revels entered a one-hour lunch into his DIAD. But realizing that he would miss business stops, he cut his lunch short. Revels made his business stops. But rather than thanking him, management fired him—after they spotted that Revels had activity on his DIAD during his lunch break.
The termination defies common sense and violates Article 37 language that says “No employee shall be disciplined for exceeding personal time based on data received from the DIAD/IVIS or other information technology.”
It also shows why stronger protections from technology abuse—and stronger contract enforcement—are needed.
The National Negotiating Committee proposed language that would ban management from using information obtained solely from the DIAD, GPS or any monitoring technology as evidence that an employee violated the contract or company policy.
We need to make sure this new language is in any final agreement.
As we go to press, Revels has been returned to work—but without back pay for the six weeks he missed while terminated.
August 23, 2007: By Richard Berg: The 11,000 hospital, custodial, clerical, and manufacturing workers of Teamster Local 743 will get something they haven’t had recently: a fair local election. And Teamster reformers are pushing hard to give Local 743 members a choice in this election. I’m proud to be running for principal officer on the 743 New Leadership Slate.
Our local has weak contracts and poor representation. The employers smell weakness and they run all over us. But we can turn these problems around:
- Members at the University of Chicago are fed up with a weak contract. They’re organizing their own contract campaign. When we win we’ll put the power of our union into all of our contract fights.
- At Provident Hospital, members couldn’t get a BA to return their phone calls even after a member was fired. We’re going to cut bloated salaries so we can hire more union representatives. We’ll make sure BAs return calls, and we’ll fix the local’s automated phone system so members can talk directly to a real person.
- At the University of Chicago Hospitals and many other places, our local doesn’t have enough stewards. We’ll increase the number of stewards, let members vote them in, and create a new stewards’ training program.
Stepping Up the Campaign
Changing the local’s leadership won’t be easy. The officers are used to getting paid not to work. They got a wake up call in the last election—they may not work hard for the members, but you can bet they’ll work hard to protect their jobs.
The incumbents are stepping up their campaign, and so are we. Members of the New Leadership Slate are taking vacation time to campaign, and we’ve already hit shops all over Chicagoland.
Our slate won the last election, but the officers stole it: The local admitted to mailing hundreds of ballots to the wrong address and instead sent them to their supporters, including management. The Department of Labor stepped in and now there will be a neutral election, with ballots mailed out in September.
At the gates, spirits are positive. Members want change. One nursing home worker told me, “We all voted against them last time, and this time we’ll make it stick.”
This local needs new blood and new ideas from working Teamsters. The incumbent Local 743 executive board had their chance, and they squandered it on their own high salaries while ignoring the members and running the local into the ground. When the members turn out to vote, we’re going to turn this local around.
Richard Berg is a candidate for Local 743 President.
August 23, 2007: Truck drivers will return to the 10-hour maximum driving time on Sept. 14, unless the trucking employers are successful in getting the court to stay its July 24 ruling.
As of late August, drivers still don’t know what the regulations will be after Sept. 14. Neither do the carriers.
In a victory for truck drivers and highway safety, the court threw out the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) revised rules that allow 11 hours driving time, and a 34-hour restart. All other aspects of the revised hours of service regulations, including the 14-hour maximum on-duty time, will remain unchanged.
The American Trucking Associations, representing UPS, YRC, FedEx and numerous other trucking operators, is lobbying the FMCSA to ask the court for a stay. Their real goal is to get a long delay, and then have the FMCSA go back to the court and again attempt to impose the 11-hour driving rule.
It may not be likely that the court will grant a long delay. This is the second time that the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington has unanimously struck down these two regulations. The first time, in 2004, the employers got Congress to pass a law imposing the revised hours of service regs on an interim basis. With the leadership change in Congress, and with the second defeat in court, this avenue for delay is very unlikely. So, even if the FMCSA goes to court for a stay, they may get either a short delay or no delay at all in the Sept. 14 implementation date.
Unfortunately, some companies, especially Roadway, realigned their operations on the shaky foundation of an 11-hour rule that was illegitimately established and under legal review. They may soon be turning up the truck speeds or making other adjustments for some of their runs.
Future Officers: Big Shoes to Fill
The TDU Convention needs to teach members what to do if they win a local election. It should cover the daily business of officers and agents, from each position’s point of view.
Our good future officers have got big shoes to fill!
Local 120, Cemstone
P.S.—See you at the Convention in Chicago.
Editor’s note: Good point, Bob. The TDU Convention will include special workshops for union officers, stewards, and other local leaders. Click here for more information.
Think Twice on the First Offer
If anyone who reads this actually believes that the sad excuse for leaders at Teamster Headquarters are going to win us the best contract possible, then I have ocean-front property in Kansas I would love to sell you.
I have been in the Teamsters since 1972. This last contract was the worst I have seen. We lost ground. We now have a contract that is longer than ever, with worse working conditions and poorer insurance.
Remember this: do you accept the first offer when you are buying a new car? NO. Then why take the first one Big Daddy Jim says is so good?
Local 728, UPS
Pension Pullout: A Strike Issue
I was appalled to read that the Teamsters would consider allowing ABF to withdraw from our pension funds. I worked for a multitude of freight companies—ABF was the last. I was able to retire with a pretty good pension because of our multiemployer plan.
If each of those companies had their own pension plan, I would have been out of luck.
I can thank the 1950s Teamster leadership who had the foresight to negotiate a multiemployer plan for my pension. These people must be rolling over in their graves with even the suggestion that we would allow freight companies to withdraw from our pension funds—this should be a definite strike issue.
Local 443, Retired
New Haven, Conn.
August 23, 2007: Sometimes, your vote is your voice. But on the issue of splitting UPS from the Central States Pension Fund, you won’t get a vote, unless you work at UPS.
Because this could weaken our whole union, you should make your voice heard. Go to your September union meeting. Ask your local union officers to take a stand to defend our master contracts, and our Teamster pension plans.
We want stronger pension funds and improved benefits. We want all Teamsters united in solidarity.
Your voice is your vote.