Working Teamsters are speaking out about the latest round of concessions at YRC and what it will take to save our union in freight.
Here’s what some of them had to say.
Is Management Working with Us To Protect Jobs?
“Years ago when I was on the bottom of the board, I appreciated the days my senior brothers took off to make sure more junior men could get work. But now I can’t follow their example. YRC management insists on forced overtime and starves our laid-off brothers and sisters of work and benefits to save the company money.
“YRC wants more givebacks but management needs to learn that working with and supporting all Teamsters is much more valuable in the long run than just working out a deal with our officers. If YRC is to survive, it is the working Teamsters that will make it happen.”
Leroy Olsen, YRC, Local 79, Tampa, Fla.
One-Man Wrecking Crew
“Zollars is a one-man wrecking crew. I have no faith in him or this deal.”
Don Davenport, USF Reddaway, Local 962, Roseburg, Ore.
Wasting Money on Pro Golfers
“Is YRC ending it’s sponsorship of PGA golfer Jim Furyk or is our 15 percent giveback continuing to pay those millions?”
Jeffrey Acord, YRC, Local 377, Youngstown, Ohio
[Editor’s Note: In June, YRCW signed a $6 million contract with Jim Furyk to wear a YRC logo on the left chest of his golf shirt.]
We Need a Union Plan For ABF and Freight
“ABF management is chomping at the bit to get what they can off the YRC concessions. Our future can’t be about Teamsters giving and giving until nothing is left of a decent contract.
“We need a union plan to dig us out of this hole. It starts with recognizing that we can’t just follow everything management wants. What’s our Teamster agenda for survival?”
Marion Gresham, ABF, Local 728, Atlanta
Organize the Nonunion Competition
“This bogus crap is an affront to all Teamsters. This is the outcome of Jr. Hoffa’s lack of guts and his administration’s inability to organize all the non-union LTL carriers like FedEx Freight, ConWay, Estes, etc. The IBT Organizing Department should be fired and ‘fresh idea’ rank-and-file organizers should be hired and given the resources to promote the benefits of union membership.”
Dennis Anderson, CF (Retired), Local 413, Columbus, Ohio
“Day in and day out you see constant mismanagement. Excessive delay and layover time as well as dispatch errors are causing countless wasteful dollars. Management doesn’t seem to have a sense of urgency or an effective utilization for the help. Why should we pay for bad management decisions?”
Nick Brandon, YRC, Local 695, La Crosse, Wis.
A Dollar a Day for Zollars
“Why aren’t Zollars and the higher executives forced to reduce their salaries and give up all bonuses until the rank and file are made whole? Zollars should volunteer to take a dollar annual salary until the company returns to profitability. I have not and will not vote for a reduction of any kind until the management greed ends and our hard earned benefits and dignity are restored.”
Bob Sayer, YRC, Local 251, Providence, R.I.
Hoffa Has to Go
“James P. Hoffa Jr. has overstayed his welcome.
“It’s time to go, Jimmy, before you give away the rest of the farm.”
Jeff Watz, YRC, Local 7, Kalamazoo, Mich.
What Do You Think?
What do you think our union should do to rebuild Teamster Power in freight? Click here to let us know.
The election to Dump Hoffa begins sooner than you think.
What will it take to win—and how can we get started now?
Hoffa’s support has never been lower among working Teamsters:
- He negotiated the worst concessions to UPS in decades, even though the company was making more than $4 billion in annual profits.
- Under his watch, our union has been reduced to a shadow of its former self in freight, carhaul, and other industries. Employers are calling the shots and dictating concessions.
- He raised Teamster dues, then used it to pay multiple salaries to his political allies. In 2007, the IBT paid out $9.9 million in multiple salaries to 196 officials—up from just 16 when Hoffa took office.
Hundreds of thousands of Teamsters are angry—including many local officers. The Hoffa camp has never been more divided.
But anger alone won’t be enough to get rid of Hoffa. It will take organization.
A Campaign Army
- To win, we’ll need a campaign army made up of working Teamsters, retirees, and Teamster officers to: u Nominate a slate of capable reform candidates at the Teamster Convention.
- Spread the word to members about the campaign and make sure reform candidates have access to the Teamster magazine and membership list.
- Raise campaign funds.
- Turn out the vote and win.
- We have to start putting that army together now to hit the ground running once the election is underway.
That’s why this month Teamsters are launching a campaign to build a network of 10,000 Teamsters to Dump Hoffa.
How the Election Works
In 1989, TDU members won the right to vote for Teamster General President and the General Executive Board.
Unlike most local union elections, this election is overseen by an impartial Election Supervisor.
The Election Supervisor makes the rules, handles all election protests, runs a debate between the candidates, mails out the ballots, and counts the votes.
The first jobs for the campaign army will be the petition drive and delegate elections.
During the petition drive members fan out across the union to get members to sign a petition accrediting candidates for Teamster office. To get accreditation, two and a half percent of Teamster members must sign the candidate’s petition.
An accredited candidate gets access to the Teamster membership list and space in the union magazine—giving them a chance to talk to all Teamster members directly.
After that come the delegate elections.
Every local sends delegates to the Teamster Convention to nominate the candidates who will run for Teamster General President, and members of the General Executive Board.
If rank-and-file members decide to run for delegate, members of the local will get to vote for the delegates of their choice in a secret ballot election overseen by the Election Supervisor.
To get nominated for Teamster General President, a candidate has to receive the votes of at least five percent of the delegates to the convention.
Getting Out the Vote
In the 2006 election, Hoffa was elected with 175,000 votes. That means we will need the organization to turn out at least 200,000 Teamsters to vote for change to get him out.
Where we had a strong campaign organization last time, reform candidates won, including in St. Louis, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Houston, Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Mississippi, Charlotte, Vermont, Seattle, Oregon, UPS locals in New York, Chicago and Detroit, and in lots of locals and areas.
More Teamsters turned out to vote in locals where TDU had strong organization and where reform candidates did well.
Among members with little or no connection to the International Union, and where there was not a strong TDU network, Hoffa won easily.
That was Hoffa’s winning margin: less involved members, in a low turnout.
What You Can Do Now
We can’t wait until the election starts to build our campaign army.
If you want to see Hoffa gone in 2011, now is the time to get on board and get involved. Here’s what you can do.
Fill out the form on the back page of the latest Convoy and join 10,000 Teamsters to Dump Hoffa. Send it in to TDU so that we know we can count on you to do your part to dump Hoffa in 2011.
Recruit to the campaign army. Make copies of the form on the back page of this issue of Convoy and get other Teamsters to sign up for our team. Go to dump Hoffa to download a form you can get other Teamsters to sign.
Start distributing Convoy. In every Teamster election, reform candidates do better in locals where members get and distribute bundles of Convoy. Call TDU at (313) 842-2600 to start a bundle with this issue.
Hold a meeting. Contact TDU and set up a meeting of members who want to Dump Hoffa in 2011.
Start planning for the delegate election. Start putting together a team of people you can count on. Contact TDU for steps you should take now to prepare to run for delegate. And be sure to attend the TDU Convention, Nov. 6-8 at the Cleveland Airport Sheraton to meet members who’ve run for delegate before—and won.
Can we get rid of Hoffa in 2011? It’s up to Teamsters like us to make it happen.
The campaign for Teamster General President will begin next summer. Now is the time to start getting ready. Please note: dates are based on 2006 election and haven’t been officially set yet.
Petition Drive Summer 2010
Two and a half percent of Teamster members must sign petitions to accredit reform candidates, giving them access to the Teamster membership list and space in the Teamster magazine.
Delegate Elections January - April 2011 (some early ones in Fall 2010)
Members get a chance to elect delegates to represent their local at the Teamster Convention.
Teamster Convention June 2011
Delegates nominate candidates for Teamster General President and the General Executive Board. Reform candidates must receive five percent of the votes to be nominated.
Ballots Mailed October 2011
Volunteers and candidates reach out to supporters to get out the vote.
Vote Count November 2011
If the Teamster National Grievance Committee was a UPS employee it would be fired for poor job performance.
Our union won just four out of 59 cases at the last national grievance panel.
The decisions are in from the June meeting of the National Grievance Committee in Philadelphia and the results aren’t pretty.
In four days of hearings, the highest UPS grievance body under the contract ruled in favor of the union just four times.
The company won 13 cases outright. Another 42 cases were deadlocked. An incredible 78 cases were postponed. Only two of the 59 cases heard resulted in the company having to pay the grievant. One of these cases involved just 4 hours of overtime!
In the other two “victories” won for the members, the company was instructed to comply with the contract and a monetary reward was either assigned to another grievance body to decide or denied outright. What a system!
Thirty-five cases were settled or withdrawn with no details given.
The UPS National Grievance Committee will meet just one more time this year: Oct. 12-15 at the Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa.
TDU makes the docket and minutes of each national grievance panel available to UPS Teamsters online. The International Union does not. With results like this, who can blame them?
Read the national grievance panel minutes online at www.makeUPSdeliver.org.
July 21, 2009: Last month’s National Grievance Committee meeting was the International Union’s opportunity to make UPS create all 20,000 full-time combo jobs that are required by Article 22.3 of the contract.
Instead, Hoffa and Parcel Division Director Ken Hall continued to let management have its way with eliminating the full-time jobs we won in the 1997 strike. The number of full-time positions lost in violation of Article 22.3 has reached the thousands.
UPS Teamsters across the country signed petitions calling on Hoffa and Hall to fight for the full-time jobs we’re owed by the contract by consolidating the violations into a national grievance.
Instead, the International Union dealt with the violations on a case by case basis—and even then delivered no results.
The only Article 22.3 case settled at the panel went in management’s favor. That case (N-11-09) involved the Texas Full-Time Job Massacre where, in one blow, UPS eliminated more than 100 combo jobs at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport.
Of the dozen other grievances on combo job elimination slated to be heard at the panel, one was withdrawn and 12 were postponed.
Management continues to claim that they are relocating combo jobs, not eliminating them—but they refuse to turn over documentation about where the jobs have been moved.
UPS was required by the contract to provide the International Union with the job description and location of every Article 22.3 position in the country. The International hasn’t shared this list with local unions and it has ignored calls by UPS Teamsters to conduct a nationwide audit to find and fill all of the missing full-time combo jobs.
“UPS is playing a big shell game, and the International has totally dropped the ball on holding the company to the contract,” said Dan Kane, a combo Teamster at Ontario Airport in Los Angeles, where UPS has eliminated 68 combo jobs.
“If our locals care about this issue, they’ll stop covering for Hoffa and start demanding contract enforcement,” said Kane. “We went on strike to win these jobs. We expect our union to defend them.”
July 21, 2009: Congress may soon vote on a bill to close the FedEx loophole that makes it harder for FedEx workers to unionize.
For years the corporation has used its lobbying muscle to be classified as an airline. This puts FedEx under the Railway Labor Act, which makes it much harder for workers to organize a union. Every other freight and parcel carrier—including UPS—is covered by the National Labor Relations Act.
Both UPS and the Teamsters Union are supporting an effort to close the FedEx loophole. UPS is even having employees write letters to politicians on company time.
UPS’s anti-labor record is well known. But closing the FedEx loophole is one issue that UPS Teamsters and their bosses can agree on.
July 21, 2009: There will be no cost of living raise this year for UPS Teamsters.
Last year, UPS Teamsters should have gotten a 15¢ cost-of-living increase but our bargaining team gave UPS a pass on any COLA raise in the first year of the agreement—a giveback that cost UPS Teamsters $1,950 over the life of the contract. (Hoffa gave himself a $12,500 COLA raise last year.)
This year we won’t get a COLA raise because inflation was not high enough to trigger it.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI), measured from May 2008 to May 2009, the period designated in Article 33 of the national contract, actually decreased by 1.9 percent. This is because of the soaring gas and food prices of 2008, which later declined a bit.
The CPI has to go up 3.5 percent before it generates anything at all to UPS Teamsters. That’s an area for improvement in the next contract.