Turning Up the Heat to Defend a Steward
May 27, 2009: When UPS management tried to get rid of an assertive Oklahoma steward, they didn’t know what they were in for.
Members and local officials mobilized to put the member back to work. And a few days later the center manager was out of a job.
March 30 was a wet, stormy day in Oklahoma. Doug Hisle, a package car driver out of the Lawton building, was delivering his route on a dirt road.
When he was pulling out of one stop, Hisle lightly tapped a customer’s mailbox. He didn’t feel the impact, and he didn’t see the scratch because his car was caked in mud.
The customer didn’t report the incident until six hours later—even though she was standing in her yard when Hisle made his delivery.
Hisle reported the scratch the next day, as soon as he saw it.
When management called in Doug for questioning, he explained that he didn’t know about the scratch until the next day. But they wouldn’t listen to his story. Management terminated Hisle for failing to report an accident—even though they had no evidence that Hisle knew about the incident before he reported it.
Targeting a Steward
“There’s no doubt in my mind why they went after Doug,” said Karl Howeth, another steward in the Lawton building. “He’s an assertive steward. He isn’t afraid to confront management when other drivers’ jobs are on the line.”
UPS management in Lawton is pushing production, and Doug has helped protect drivers: “Management tries to intimidate drivers who file for 9.5,” Howeth said. “But working with Doug we’ve been able to get most of our drivers on the 9.5 opt-in list.”
Rank-and-file members and the local union prepared a two-pronged plan to get Hisle’s job back. And they took management totally off-guard.
In Lawton, several concerned drivers talked to management and said that Doug was being treated unfairly.
Members networked with stewards at other buildings, and soon members were raising the issue in Enid, Norman, and Oklahoma City.
Hisle worked with the officers of the local to prepare his case for a local-level meeting with management. “The facts of the case showed that management had made a hasty decision and there was no just cause for my termination,” Hisle said.
“My local officers really went to bat for me,” Hisle said. It worked and Hisle got his job back.
Just a few days later, his center manager came in to work, put in his letter of resignation, and walked out the door.
“Sometimes you have to take the fight to UPS management,” Hisle said.
Are you helping a member out who is facing unfair discipline? Go to tdu.org/justcause to learn more about the seven tests of just cause.
Take the Fight to UPS
“The facts of the case showed that management had made a hasty decision and there was no just cause for my termination.
“My local officers really went to bat for me. Sometimes you have to take the fight to UPS management.”
Doug Hisle, Steward
Local 886, Lawton, Oklahoma
Electronic OJS: UPS Rolls Out New Spyware
June 3, 2009: UPS is implementing new technology that allows management to monitor drivers like never before.
UPS’s new spyware began with an upgrade to the DIAD software that the company calls ODSE (On Demand Services Enhancement). The software allows management to monitor drivers’ routes on a computer screen in the center. Management can call up a snapshot of the entire center or any individual or combination of routes.
The company says that the technology gives the center better information when dispatching a driver for a pickup or sending a driver to help out another driver. But many Teamsters have had management use ODSE to question them about their route, leaving trace, etc.
ODSE provides both more and less information than GPS. The system lets management monitor recommended trace, service levels of packages on the truck, the number of packages and stops delivered, the location of on-call air and one-time pick-ups and more.
But all this information is based on the DIAD, not GPS. Management cannot call up the actual location of a package car, just the location that was last entered on the DIAD.
Spyware on Steroids
All that changes with telematics, a new system that uses computer technology to combine data UPS gathers through GPS, the DIAD board and new sensors that are being mounted on package cars in pilot areas.
Through more than 200 sensors, management can monitor when you drive with your seatbelt off or your bulkhead door open. Telematics tells management how long you stopped at each location, how many packages you processed there, and creates an over-allowed figure for each stop.
The new technology changes the ballgame at UPS. Now, every minute of every day is an OJS ride. Drivers who only follow the methods during a ride-along will need to adjust.
Remember that Article 6 of the contract states that no employees shall be discharged based solely upon information from GPS or any successor system unless he or she engages in dishonesty.
Don’t place your job in jeopardy. Don’t sign for packages or show an attempt where none was made. Don’t scan Next Day Air before you actually make the stop in order to show an on-time delivery. Do take your breaks and properly record them.
Look for a special report on telematics in the next issue of Convoy Dispatch. UPS Teamsters who are living under telematics today will report how management uses the new system to try to increase production and trip up drivers—and how you can protect yourself.
Carhaulers Win Back Lost Jobs
May 29, 2009: When Ramp Management tried to bust our union, members fought back—and now they’re back at work.
Members of Local 325 covered by a yard agreement under the carhaul contract are going back to work with nearly $160,000 in back pay, thanks to a National Labor Board settlement.
In September, 2008, Ramp Management took over the yard and rail work for production out of the Chrysler Belvidere, Ill. plant. The company pointedly stated it would not hire any of the Teamsters who had worked for Auto Releasing.
Members and officers took action. Former BA Russ Hanson and union steward Mike McGee filed a charge with the NLRB.
The NLRB ruling forced the company to rehire the workers with back pay and recognize the existing union contract.
Beating the Union Busters
“I’m proud that my fellow Teamsters stood together and beat back this union busting,” commented McGee, “Ramp Management wasn’t playing fair and we made them pay.” McGee made sure to single out Hanson (a current carhauler) for praise.
McGee added, “The new local officers, the IBT, and the Joint Council are all taking some credit but it was really a couple of brave Teamsters by the names of Ryan Schroeder, and James Sanchez and our former agent who made this victory happen.”
Click here to read about the consolidation of Active and Jack Cooper.
Carhaul Consolidation Active Takes Over Jack Cooper
May 22, 2009: Jack Cooper Teamsters got a new boss in May, when Active Acquisitions bought a majority stake in Jack Cooper Transport.
Michael Riggs is the principal owner of Active. But Tim Cooper, in a letter to Jack Cooper employees, says that he is retaining his role with the new company. Insiders say that is likely to continue. Jack Cooper will operate separately, at least for now.
The combination could make it a stronger union company. Active’s small carhaul division grew last year when they got traffic formerly hauled by PTS out of Lorain, Ohio and New Jersey.
Jack Cooper recently closed most of its western operations, which run under the name of PMT. Jack Cooper also just lost the Chicago Ford plant traffic to Cassens. Teamster carhaulers there have retained their seniority at Cassens.
Teamsters remain apprehensive about Active’s history; it broke the union in the driveaway industry. JHT Holdings, which owns Active, hauls some 90 percent of all new heavy trucks, but the majority of the operation runs nonunion or under sweetheart deals with company-favored unions. The International Union treated that loss as business-as-usual, and failed to protect the Teamster jobs and contract.
Dennis Troha, who ran JHT while busting the Teamsters, later sold the business, and Riggs became its principal. Troha later was convicted of illegally passing large sums of money to the campaigns of the Wisconsin Governor and President Bush, to attempt to further his casino interests.
Attention Road Drivers: Hoffa Wants to Raise Your Dues
May 22, 2009: The Hoffa administration is quietly raising the dues of road drivers without a vote, or any change in the IBT constitution.
We need to say No in a unified voice.
It’s already taken effect in some locals, including Cleveland Local 407, where president Frank Burdell is on Hoffa’s payroll. Road drivers got hit with a $7 per month dues hike two months after taking a wage cut at YRC!
But some locals have just said No to the dues hike. The International is telling certain locals to use the average yearly gross income of road drivers, and base dues on that figure, resulting in a hefty dues hike.
If members take this lying down, you can bet that this sneaky dues hike will spread to tens of thousands of mileage-paid Teamsters, who work under freight, carhaul, UPS, tankhaul, grocery distribution, and various other contracts.
Violates IBT Guidelines
The dues hike violates the International Union’s own guidelines.
On June 12, 2002, the International Union issued guidelines that state: “For those members whose earnings are calculated on the basis of mileage, the equivalent hourly wage rate stated in the contract for work performed shall be used.” Nothing has changed in the IBT Constitution to warrant this hike.
Hoffa administration officials have given themselves nice raises every year. Now they want more money from drivers who are taking concessions. It comes down to greed. And whether or not members will say No.
Local 604 Says No
St. Louis Local 604 was told to raise the dues of all of its carhaul drivers. Their secretary-treasurer, John Thyer, responded explaining that the local was in compliance with dues guidelines and the constitution.
If your local union tries to raise road drivers’ dues without a membership vote, contact TDU.
Local 17 Officers Cut Their Pay
May 22, 2009: Colorado Local 17 officers and business agents have all agreed to take a 10 percent pay cut.
Their local union website states that, “The savings from this historic measure will continue to increase Local 17’s financial growth. Following the lead from the Local 17 YRC members, we want all Local 17 members to know we share the benefits and sacrifices together with you.”
It sounds like good unionism. Maybe Hoffa, Keegel, and the International officials should consider this policy. When you’re making over $200,000 a year, it should be easy to tighten up a little.
Freight Teamsters Ask: Why No Contract Books?
May 22, 2009: It’s been 16 months since the National Master Freight Agreement was ratified. But the International Union still has failed to produce copies of the contract for members.
If it was a program for a golf tourney of top Teamster officials, they could print it in two days. Do you think maybe the priorities are wrong?
Freight Teamsters have been hit hard from every side. Wage concessions at YRC. Hoffa’s Central States Pension deal putting benefits at risk. The economic crisis pushing companies to the edge. Hoffa’s even using tricks to try to raise road drivers’ dues.
If members are armed with the contract book, they have a better shot at holding companies to what they agreed to. It smells like maybe the Hoffa administration isn’t interested in doing that.
It’s time for Teamsters to get what they are legally entitled to: a copy of the national freight contract. You can download a copy of the changes in the new contract at www.tdu.org.
Local 743: Members Organize for Respect on the Job
June 3, 2009: New leadership is getting the rank-and-file involved to win a strong contract. Members are making their voices heard.
Facing a July 10 expiration date, Teamsters at the University of Chicago Hospital are gearing up for contract negotiations.
Local 743 distributed a survey to gather contract proposals and the bargaining committee is reviewing these to develop a set of demands.
“We’re overworked and underpaid. We’re supposed to care about the hospital when management doesn’t care about us. It’s time to negotiate a contract that shows us respect,” commented Jeanne Moore, a housekeeper with 25 years seniority.
The bargaining unit covers over 1,500 Teamsters. The focus for the campaign is “This Hospital Works Because We Do.” Members plan to seek support from neighborhood community groups and students at the university.
Jury Finds Ex-Officials Guilty of Stealing Elections
May 22, 2009: Ex-officials of Chicago Local 743 may go to jail for a scheme to steal local union elections.
A Chicago jury has found former Local 743 President Richard Lopez and two other ex-officials guilty of a scheme to steal Local 743 elections. Three other officials already pled guilty.
Lopez was found guilty of conspiracy, mail fraud, and stealing union property.
Lopez and former union reps Thaddeus Bania and David Rodriguez will face sentencing in August. They could go to jail for many years.
“We are elated that the workers ended up on the victorious side of this verdict,” said the new Local 743 President Richard Berg, a reformer who won office in 2007.
“The U.S. Department of Labor had the evidence needed to convict them. Now we are anxiously waiting for the financial reparation of the $2.2 million that was taken from the hard working members of this union.”
The jury heard outrageous stories of how Local 743’s ex-officials treated the union like their private business, and schemed to steal the election when they were challenged by working members:
- Officials secretly changed the addresses of members, and diverted ballots to friends, relatives, employers—and even one union rep’s wedding guest list.
- Investigators found Rodriguez’s fingerprints on sealed ballots from the 2004 local union election. Rodriguez couldn’t explain how they got there.
- Rodriguez operated a private cleaning firm that cleaned the local union hall and the home of ex-president Robert Walston. One of his cleaning employees testified that Rodriguez told her ballots for the election would arrive at her house.
Their scheme didn’t work. With the help of Teamsters for a Democratic Union, members of Local 743 exposed the plot to steal their election. And in October 2007, Richard Berg and the New Leadership Slate swept the criminals out of office for good.
Are you concerned about getting an honest election in your local? Call TDU at (313) 842-2600 to get advice on how to protect your right to vote.
Cuts Spread at the San Francisco Chronicle
May 22, 2009: A new round of cuts at the San Francisco Chronicle is hitting Teamsters Local 853.
That’s the home local of Rome Aloise, one of Hoffa’s key point men and our newest International Vice President.
Under the deal, one hundred Local 853 drivers will lose their jobs. But those who stay won’t take a pay cut. And the Chronicle will make a one-time payment of $800,000 to their benefit fund.
The new deal will extend their current contract from 2010 until Dec. 31, 2015.
On June 1, the Chronicle will shift printing to a new nonunion facility. All of the pressmen in GCC Local 4-N will lose their jobs, as will all of the mailers in Local 853.
Over a hundred pressmen have applied for jobs at the new facility. Not one has been hired. All our union can say is that they’re monitoring the situation.
Why did Aloise get a better deal for the drivers? Maybe it’s because he’s always been willing to play ball when the employers wanted to pit members against members.
Back in 2005, before other unions could sign a contract, Aloise inked a deal that would require Local 853 members to cross a picket line if one of the other newspaper unions went on strike.
Teamster pressmen lost the successors and assigns language that could have helped us keep our jobs. And the Newspaper Guild members got one of their worst contracts ever (before this year).
Now over 200 union pressmen and over 100 mailers will be on unemployment. It’s time for our union officials to wake up and get into action. This is a race to the bottom.
By Bruce Carlton, Local 4-N, Retired