Teamsters Stand Up for Good, Full-Time Jobs
February 21, 2008: DHL and UPS are launching new attacks on Teamster full-time jobs.
Members are uniting to say Part-Time America Won’t Work.
Good full-time jobs are under attack. Employers are replacing full-time jobs with part-time positions that don’t pay a living wage—even under our top Teamster contracts.
DHL is ground zero for the latest attack on Teamster full-time jobs. UPS also has a new scheme to undermine full-time jobs.
The good news is Teamster members are fighting back. If we stick together, we can win.
As we go to press, Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) has obtained the details of a yet-to-be-released contract at DHL that would destroy thousands of full-time Teamster jobs over time.
The secret deal would let DHL hire an unlimited number of part-timers to load, unload, sort and work the ramp. These part-timers would be guaranteed just three hours work and can be scheduled to work any five days.
Wages and other contract details are still being worked out. But DHL Teamsters are not waiting for the other shoe to drop. They are already spreading the word and preparing to vote down the proposed contract concessions.
UPS pioneered the attack on good full-time jobs in our union, and they’re at it again. This month Brown launched a new initiative that uses part-time drivers to pick up ground packages.
The scheme violates contract language that exists precisely to stop the company from undermining full-time driving jobs by exploiting lower-paid part-time drivers.
Contact TDU for advice on enforcing the contract.
We Can Turn the Tide
Our union has already allowed too many full-time jobs to be converted into underpaid part-time positions—and not just at UPS.
The new freight agreement allows employers to hire part-time dock workers. And the International Union is behind the new part-time scheme at DHL.
Part-Time American Won’t Work. That was the slogan that united our union to win 20,000 new full-time jobs at UPS.
In 2008, we face new attacks. United, we can win again.
After Defeating Pension Cuts, Local 804 Teamsters Organize for Pension Info
February 21, 2008: Two times in the last 18 months, UPS has blindsided Teamsters in New York City by demanding pension cuts. Now Local 804 Teamster members are organizing to get the information they need to defend their pensions.
Two thousand members have signed a petition to propose changes to the Local 804 bylaws that will put more contract and pension information in the hands of the Local 804 membership.
In November 2006, UPS forced through a 30 percent cut in pension accruals in Local 804. Management claimed that without the cuts the Local 804 fund would fall into “Critical Status” (the “Red Zone”) when the Pension Protection Act went into effect.
An actuarial report was leaked that revealed that the Local 804 pension fund had earned dramatically substandard returns on its investments for a decade. AON Consulting reported that, “The average investment returns over the past five years have been a little more than 3%; over the past 10 years the average return has been just 6%.”
Local 804’s pension investment returns were worse than the Central States Pension Fund over the same five and ten-year periods—and worse than other funds managed by AON Consulting.
“For comparison purposes, we looked at another substantial fund we work with and the average returns over similar periods were 6% over the last 5 years and nearly 10% over the past 10 years,” AON reported.
According to AON, the Local 804 pension fund had a $378 million shortfall—and approximately $100 million of this was due to poor investment performance.
“Members were shocked. We had always been told that our pension fund was in great shape,” said feeder driver Pete Mastrandrea.
“By mandating that our union include a report on our pension fund’s performance at every general membership meeting, we can make sure that the membership is never blindsided like this again,” Mastrandrea said.
The second attack on Local 804 pensions came during UPS contract negotiations.
After months of secretive negotiations, UPS and Local 804 agreed to a new contract that would eliminate 25-and-out pensions for all new employees—a deal that was unanimously endorsed by the Local 804 Executive Board.
UPS sent every Local 804 member a letter saying that if the contract was not approved then it would be illegal for the fund to restore their pensions.
Members voted the contract down by 3 to 1 anyway.
As a result of their united stand, Local 804 members saved 25-and-out, defeated other givebacks and reversed the 2007 pension cuts.
Information is Power
The Local 804 Make UPS Deliver network showed that members can make a difference when they are informed and involved.
Many Local 804 members were still disappointed with the final contract and felt more could have been won if the membership had been better informed—about both contract negotiations and the real story with the Local 804 pension and the Pension Protection Act.
That’s when members decided to propose two changes to the Local 804 bylaws.
The first change will require the Executive Board to include a report on the Local 804 benefit funds at every general membership meeting.
The second bylaws change will mandate Local 804 to set up a Contract Committee to inform and mobilize Local 804 members whenever a new contract is being negotiated.
“This bylaws vote is about what kind of contracts and benefits we’re going to have in the future,” said shop steward Tim Sylvester. “Local 804 has always had some of the highest retirement benefits in the country. But we’ve fallen behind other funds like Washington D.C., Upstate New York, and the Western Conference.
“Local 804 has won top contracts and benefits by leveling with the members and getting people involved. We did that to win 25-and-out before the rest of the country. We did it in 1997. We can do it again,” Sylvester said.
Mandate for Change
Two hundred signatures are required to introduce bylaws changes in Local 804. As Convoy Dispatch goes to press, 2,000 members have signed each bylaws petition.
“Winning strong contracts and pensions by informing and mobilizing the membership is something that every Local 804 Teamster can unite behind,” said Jim Reynolds, an alternate steward and one of the leaders of the bylaws reform campaigns.
“Members proved that by signing these petitions in such huge numbers. This is really a mandate for positive change,” Reynolds said.
The proposed changes will be voted on at the next Local 804 membership meeting on April 20.
Carhaul Members Speak Out
February 21, 2008: TDU asked carhaul Teamsters what they thought we should to protect the standards in our master contract.
We heard from over 100 concerned members and stewards.
Here’s what members had to say.
“The economy is bad and the carhaul industry isn’t doing well. But the Big Three positioned themselves to do better with the new UAW contract. By mid 2009, things could be picking up and there will be plenty of cars to haul. Getting a two-year contract now could put us in good shape to make gains in 2010 when the auto industry comes out of this downturn.”
Tom Morrow, Allied, Local 79, Tampa, Fla.
“Thanks to TDU for giving us the heads up about the Jan. 15 deadline for submitting proposals. We were able to raise issues pertaining to Teamsters working in rail loading, gate and yard operations. What good is a long contract if it keeps givebacks in place for four or five years? A two-year contract is the way to go this round.”
Mike McGee, Auto Releasing/Cassens, Local 325, Rockford, Ill.
“A two-year contract will work until the dark cloud over Allied is lifted.”
James Horvat, Allied, Local 512, Jacksonville, Fla.
“A two-year deal sounds better than getting strapped with a four or five year contract that keeps our wage cuts in billionaire Ron Burkle’s pockets.”
Rick Clepper, PTS, Local 657, San Antonio
“I applaud the proposal for a two-year contract. After that time there will be an even playing field. I’m happy to see some flexibility in the interest of keeping the union strong. Good job.”
Maryann Borden, PTS, Local 651, Lexington, Ky.
“Allied just keeps trying and trying to get a little more all the time! It’s time for a change, time to start fighting back. Let’s all stand together and start doing something about this contract. Let’s hold the union accountable. It’s time they start working for us again!”
Tim Krueger, Allied, Local 89, Bowling Green, Ky.
What do you think our union should do to protect our national contract and hold the line against concessions?
We want to hear from you. Contact Teamsters for a Democratic Union at (313) 842-2600, email info [at] tdu.org, or go online to www.tdu.org.
Carhaul: How About a Two-Year Contract?
February 21, 2008: Bargaining begins for the national carhaul contract in March, and the concessions at Allied could spread.
Carhaul Teamsters are talking about what we can do to protect our master contract and our Teamster standards.
In late January Teamster carhaul officials met to screen contract proposals and formulate the demands for the national contract that expires May 30. On Feb. 20 local officials will meet again to approve the union’s demands. Bargaining will officially start in March.
Hopefully the good proposals submitted by members and locals will be put on the table, but the fact remains that a large chunk of Teamster carhaulers are stuck under the 2007 Allied concession deal that lasts another two years.
Maybe it’s time for a two-year contract, to bring back our national standards and then bargain at a better time for our members and union.
Concessions May Spread
The 17.5 percent concessions at Allied would spread to a majority of the industry if Allied takes over PTS.
The future of PTS may not be decided until March, or even later. These concessions hang over the bargaining like a dark cloud.
Even though Jack Cooper, Cassens and Active are making profits, they are going to resist major contract improvements over and above the $1 per hour per year that will be required for pension and health and welfare.
That’s why a short-term contract makes sense as part of a plan to rebuild Teamster power in carhaul.
It’s time for our International Union to come forward with a plan to restore our national contract and organize to expand our power, and to be held accountable by members and locals.
Turning our union’s policies over to billionaire Ron Burkle isn’t working. We need a new direction.
To hear what members have to say about a two-year contract and bargaining, click here
DHL Contract Revealed: Time to Stand United
February 21, 2008: For thousands of DHL Teamsters, the long-awaited decision time is near.
Are we going to let this giant corporation put a “red circle” noose around us, and convert good full-time jobs to three-hour part-timers?
The DHL national contract and national Pick Up and Delivery Supplement are not yet public, but we have obtained the key details contained in the deal. The following give-aways have been agreed to by Brad Slawson of the International Union, and will be in the proposed tentative agreement.
As of mid-February, national negotiations have resumed and could wrap up at any time. It’s crunch time for saving Teamster standards at DHL.
Read these give-aways that are in the proposed tentative agreement:
- The employer would be free to employ part-timers “to fulfill its operational needs.” There is no limit on the number of part timers who will load, unload, sort, and on the ramp. The only limit of the number of part-time pick-up and p.m. shuttle drivers is 15 percent of the total full-time drivers.
- Part-timers would only be guaranteed three hours work, and may be scheduled to work any five days. Start times for part timers may be changed by the employer up to two hours every day.
- All existing full-timers would be red-circled by name and then guaranteed 40 hours per week unless they are laid off, or ten-percenters. As Teamsters retire or quit, the red-circle shrinks, and the noose tightens.
- Full-timers and part-timers would be on separate seniority lists, creating a whole new second-class of Teamsters, a class that would grow in numbers.
- The employer can choose to be in either the MCLAC grievance panels, or its own grievance panels, with DHL management people holding 50 percent of the cards. This is a UPS-style disaster; ask any UPS Teamster if this system protects them.
- The contract does not bind DHL Express’s corporate parent or any other subsidiary, leaving us vulnerable to company shell games.
- The grievance procedure is gutted. The “hammer” of the right to strike is given away. The power of stewards is limited.
Those give-aways have been accepted into the contract by Brad Slawson and the IBT, so it will be up to Teamster members to say No, send them back to the negotiating table to save our contract and a future for good full-time jobs at DHL.
More to Come?
Not all parts of the contract are settled yet. But Teamster officials close to the national negotiations could not name one new positive element in the Slawson-DHL tentative agreement.
There is some hint that there may be some jobs coming back from the @home operation, but that remains to be seen.
And there could be yet more give-aways, such as in attendance policy.
Once the tentative deal is finalized, the International will likely move to a quickie vote, using a combination of threats and propaganda to try to demoralize Teamsters into thinking we have no hope.
DHL management has made it clear they are not leaving the North American market, which is also their link to Latin America and stands between their European base and the growing Asian market. But the IBT continues to spread fear, based on Wall Street speculation.
The time is now for concerned Teamsters to step forward. Let every DHL brother and sister know that we can and will vote No to protect our contract, our union and our future.
What do you think?
Click here to send TDU a comment or question about the tentative deal at DHL.
Click here to get email updates from TDU’s DHL Network.
Virginia Local 29: Feeder Drivers Defend Seniority
February 21, 2008: For two years, UPS management has been violating drivers’ seniority rights in Virginia—and getting away with it.
Now drivers have turned the tables on the company to stop the violations.
For the last two years in the Staunton, Va. center, UPS management has been getting away with rearranging feeder runs in violation of the normal bidding process—and feeder drivers’ seniority rights.
Now Local 29 drivers have taken action to put a stop to the violation, and they’ve won a commitment from management that the changes won’t happen again.
Right after peak season last year, UPS management announced that they were changing the schedule for over half the feeder runs in the Staunton center.
According to the Atlantic Supplement, feeder drivers are supposed to bid on their runs in March and September.
This was the second December in a row that management had made big changes in feeder runs outside of the semi-annual bid in the contract. Both times the company ignored the bumping procedure outlined in the contract.
Phone Off the Hook
“Members started calling the hall to complain about the change in the runs, but the BA took the phone off the hook,” explained Doug Carpenter, a 30-year feeder driver in Local 29.
“We decided to hold a rank-and-file meeting to discuss how we could make the local enforce our agreement,” Carpenter said. “We brought in a TDU organizer, and we put together a plan to make UPS honor our contract.”
Members wrote a letter to their business agent, asking him to sit down with stewards and resolve the situation. Out of the 74 feeder drivers in Staunton, 63 signed the letter.
When feeder drivers showed up as a group at the union meeting on Feb. 10, the business agent announced that UPS management has promised to stop making major changes to runs in between bids.
“Our BA has done more in the last three weeks than he’s done in the last three years,” said Mark Painter, a feeder steward in Local 29.
But members are not letting their guard down, Painter said: “Right now we’ve just got a promise that management will enforce the contract. We’re going to keep working to nail them down and get their word in writing.”
Local 705 Tells UPS: "8/1, We're Done!"
February 21, 2008: UPS has wrapped up a new national contract—but the company’s contract headaches may just be beginning.
This week, Chicago Local 705 kicked off a contract campaign with T-shirts that tell UPS management: “8/1, We’re Done!” August 1 is the day after the Local 705 contract expires with UPS.
The Local 705 contract is independent of the national agreement and covers thousands of UPS Teamsters in the Chicago area.
“Members are determined to improve the contract. If push comes to shove, we’re ready to do what we need to do,” said Mark Day, a package car shop steward out of the Northbrook building. “That’s the message we’re sending with these T-shirts.”
Local 710 Teamsters are also covered by a local contract with UPS that is separate from the national agreement. The Local 710 contract covers UPSers in the rest of Illinois, much of Indiana and Davenport, Iowa.
First Big Test of New Contract: UPS Takes Aim at Package Car Jobs
February 21, 2008: UPS wants part-time Air Drivers to pick up ground packages—a clear violation of our contract.
This is the first big test of our contract. Will our union answer the call?
As Convoy Dispatch goes to press, UPS has launched a new program to use Air Drivers to routinely handle ground packages—a clear violation of the collective bargaining agreement.
This is the first big test of the new contract. Our International Union must answer the call and stop the company from undermining high-paid, full-time jobs at UPS.
The UPS contract prohibits Air Drivers from handling ground packages except under a narrowly defined “exception basis.” This language exists to stop UPS from exploiting lower-paid Air Drivers instead of creating high-paying package car positions.
The top pay rate for package car drivers is more than $28 an hour compared to as little as $11.50 for Air Drivers.
On Feb. 15 UPS announced that it accepts ground packages in its drop boxes and that Air Drivers can pick up these ground packages at their regular pay rate.
In a management memo obtained by Teamsters for a Democratic Union, UPS claims it has the green light from the International Union. But members who contacted the Parcel and Small Package Division were advised that our union has made no agreement with UPS and that grievances should be filed.
By standing up for our contract, we can defend package car jobs—and win monetary awards for Air Drivers.
Clear Language, Narrow Exceptions
Article 40 expressly prohibits Air Drivers from handling ground packages. The only exception outlined under Article 40 is when an Air Driver is making a pickup “after the regular driver has been to the customer’s premises, and the customer has an exception ground package(s) for shipment.”
Any violation of this language requires UPS to pay Air Drivers who pick up ground packages “the top regular package car driver wage rate.”
This language draws a clear line in the sand. UPS’s new drop box program doesn’t just cross the line; it eliminates it altogether.
A management memo makes it clear that its new service will be expansive and that Air Drivers will be picking up ground packages on far more than an “exception basis.” The memo even outlines instructions for how to respond to increased volume at drop box locations.
UPS Claims Green Light from IBT
In the memo, UPS claims that the International Union agreed to this scheme as part of the new contract. The memo states that, “The new labor agreement provides UPS with the flexibility for all drivers to pick up all packages in UPS Drop Boxes. Part- and full-time air drivers and package car drivers can pick up ground packages with no change in pay rate.”
The memo goes on to state that “The new Joint UPS/IBT Competition Committee will review this initiative in six months”—suggesting that the International Union discussed the new program under the committee which was created under Article 26 of the new contract.
With or without union approval, UPS is moving full speed ahead. Drivers are being instructed to post new decals on drop boxes that say, “UPS Ground, Air and International Packages accepted here.”
Enforce the Contract
If UPS management wanted to renegotiate Article 40, they should have brought their proposals to the bargaining table and put them to a membership vote.
Management is free to expand its drop box program to include ground packages. But until our contract expires in 2013, these ground packages are to be handled by package car drivers. If UPS needs to create more package car positions, so be it.
Our International Union needs to communicate clearly to the company and to Teamster members where it stands on this new program—and management’s contention that it is allowed to use Air Drivers to handle ground packages “with no change in pay rate.”
In the meantime, stewards and working Teamsters at UPS need to have our eyes open and file grievances on drop box violations.
Our grievances should demand that UPS pay Air Drivers who handle ground packages out of drop boxes the highest package car driver wage rate and that the company cease and desist from this practice.
To read management’s memo and for the latest updates, go online to www.makeUPSdeliver.org.
UPS Freight Going Union
February 21, 2008: UPS Freight workers are joining our union by the thousands.
Our union can win big for them.
By mid-February UPS Freight workers have signed cards to become Teamsters at terminals that employ 5,600 drivers and dock workers. This means nearly half of UPS Freight terminals have joined the drive, and they are from all areas of the country.
Reports come in by the week from locals that get a majority of workers to sign Teamster cards. Since UPS management withdrew its opposition, it’s become a much easier effort.
Also in February, the International Union invoked Article 12, Section 2 of the IBT Constitution, asking each affected local to sign bargaining rights over to the International. Once a majority of locals sign the form, the International will control bargaining nationally.
Bargaining Power Growing
As the organizing drive spreads, so does our Teamster bargaining power. It’s likely that 10,000 or more UPS Freight Teamsters will be on board, joining some 240,000 Teamsters on the package side of the company.
This puts our union in a powerful position, and there is no reason we cannot win at least the National Master Freight Agreement.
That would mean bringing company-paid health care, through our union health funds. It would mean top-rung Teamster pensions. It would mean parity with 70,000 other Teamsters in our Freight Division.
It would mean that we are not signing a substandard deal that actually undercuts Teamsters in the Freight Division.
Why Settle Short?
The International Union has said they will instead settle short and use the Indianapolis agreement signed last year for 125 workers as the template for a national agreement. While that agreement has some gains (like overtime after eight hours), it does not have union pensions, it has company health care with an employee payment of $150 per month for family coverage, and low-wage part-timers.
We have the numbers. We have the power. The Teamsters Union should stand strong for the UPS Freight workers and for parity in the freight industry.
Defenders of the International Union’s plan have argued that a substandard contract at UPS Freight would at least give our union a foot in the door. They say we can bargain better terms in the second contract.
If the International Union is wedded to this strategy, then the first contract should be kept short so that UPS Freight Teamsters don’t have to wait five years to get up to Teamster standards.
A first contract of no more than two years would get our union’s “foot in the door” and we could start preparing now to win full parity in the next contract.
YRC: More Consolidation Coming?
February 21, 2008: Conveniently at the end of the voting period for the NMFA, YRC announced the demise of 800 Teamster jobs with the closing of USF Holland and Reddaway terminals in the Southeast and Southwest.
Those Teamsters can apply for another YRC job and possibly get hired at 90 percent scale under the new contract. They don’t preserve their earned vacation time or other benefits.
CEO Bill Zollars predicts an upturn in profitability by the end of 2008, but there could be more consolidation in the YRC brands before then.
Press releases from the IBT always promise that they are “monitoring the situation” after it’s already gone down. We need a union strategy for addressing job protections at Holland, Roadway and Yellow and it’s pretty clear that the latest freight contract falls short on delivering that.