September 11, 2009: The highest-paid Teamster officials hiked their pay by more than a million dollars last year.
They’ve got a million reasons to back Hoffa. How about you?
In this special $150,000 Club issue, TDU publishes our annual report on compensation for the top Teamster officials.
You’ll find the full report inside. Here’s the punchline in advance: While tens of thousands of Teamsters are taking benefit cuts, pay freezes or worse, our union’s highest-paid officials hiked their pay by more than a million dollars.
Some of the biggest pay hikes went to the very officials who have overseen the worst concessions and benefit cuts in Teamster history.
Hoffa himself has nearly doubled his compensation in his ten years in office. Last year, he hauled in $383,132.
Building union power in tough times requires the right financial priorities. James Hoffa, the candidate, claimed to understand that.
When Hoffa first ran for General President, he promised to “cut and cap” officer salaries at $150,000. If Hoffa had kept this promise, our union would have $30 million more in the bank.
That’s $30 million we could be putting to work to protect members’ wages, pensions and benefits—and to rebuild our union’s power by organizing the nonunion competition.
Informed members can demand new financial priorities and a new direction for our union. But only if we’re organized. That’s what TDU is all about.
If you're not a member, join today.
September 11, 2009: I think what is going on in the carhaul sector is typical Hoffa tactics.We shot down the first carhaul contract, and made them remove many of the unfair and unrealistic concessions.
They run a second contract at us, that was better than the first, but still in need of improvement. That one got voted in, so now here we are months later, and they are going local to local to sell out the carhaulers from inside out.
Seems there is nowhere to hide from these cheats. The bunch of them have to go, and in a hurry. While they are still in power, they can still do horrible things to the carhaul sector. We not only have to get them replaced, but we have to fight them off every day until we get rid of them.
All the while they give us members the shaft, they are cashing in on record earnings, and multiple pensions. Time to put our butts on the line, we either make a stand right now, or we are dead.
Boys, “Let’s get ready to rumble.”
Chuck Brooks Cassens, Local 449 Buffalo
We’re in a Race To the Bottom
We’re in a race to the bottom courtesy of Zollars, Hoffa and Tyson Johnson.
They’re just sinking union LTL with their greed and stupidity.
Ken Ellis YRC, Local 41 Kansas City
September 11, 2009: Freight Teamsters are being hit hard, but thousands of members are ready to work together to Dump Hoffa and turn our union around.
Most of the 35,000 Teamsters at YRC are now working for 15 percent below the national contract, and getting no pension credits.
It’s discouraging to be hit hard by your employer and find your International Union leadership helping the employer beat you up.
But freight Teamsters are not a weak bunch, and many are mad enough to do something about it.
Thousands of freight Teamsters—however they voted on the concessions—are ready to work together to Dump Hoffa and help turn the Teamsters Union in a new direction.
Freight drivers are a minority of Teamsters, but standing together they have the power to reach other Teamsters and put the union back on the right track.
Members Vote Again at New Penn
In August, New Penn Teamsters voted to reject the second round of concessions.
YRC management threatened to close down the operation if members didn’t vote for concessions—and the International Union backed them up.
In the re-vote, New Penn Teamsters voted by a 890-329 margin to approve YRCW’s concessions.
It was not surprising that most Teamsters reluctantly voted Yes, after the threats that were handed down to the nearly 2,000 Teamsters. The concession deal was still rejected in Boston Local 25 and Philadelphia Local 107.
Will the Concessions Save YRC?
Teamsters have done more than enough to help management, which is the real problem at YRC.
At the insistence of the IBT, Zollars has brought on board Richard Williamson as the new Chief Strategy Officer.
We all hope that he can help straighten management out.
Several Teamsters pointed out that Williamson has all his bases covered: he’s a member of the Turnaround Management Association (TMA) and also the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI).
Stay Informed, Get Involved
Meanwhile, YRC and the International Union are still working to pressure all YRC Teamsters to accept the latest concessions.
For up to date information on the status of YRC bargaining at Reddaway in the Northwest and the big Chicago units in Locals 705 and 710, and other freight issues, check www.tdu.org.
Are you ready to do your part to elect new leadership and turn our union around? You’re not alone.
This month, Teamsters from across our union are launching a national campaign to Dump Hoffa. Check out DumpHoffa.org to sign up for the campaign army and order your Dump Hoffa gear.
Want to Dump Hoffa? Be at the TDU Convention
“Freight Teamsters alone can not vote out Mr. Country Club, Hoffa Jr. But we can organize to support and help elect a viable candidate that will do more than just spin PR.
“Find out how and much more at this years TDU Convention. I’ve set a goal of inviting five Teamsters from my area.”
Tim Pagel, YRC Local 988, Houston
Click here to find out more and register for the TDU Convention.
Cuts at ABF?
“Now we’re dragged into this whole YRC mess. ABF is talking about needing lower wages and benefits in order to compete. We just got notice from the Michigan Teamster health fund that they’re changing our insurance because of reduced contributions from freight companies.”
Paul Boven, ABF Local 406, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Who Does Hoffa Work For?
“Hoffa’s trying to muscle Local 710 to get a revote to help YRC. Is he working for us or the company? Why don’t all the locals that voted down the YRC givebacks take over the International and throw Hoffa out for failure to represent the membership and our contract? We need to vote Hoffa out in 2011.”
Joe Dutka, YRC Local 710 Steward, Chicago
Hoffa Sold Us Out
“The Hoffa bums sold us out. They made us revote without any changes to the Memo of Understanding.
“A lot of past and present Teamsters have sacrificed to get a better life and now the IBT is giving it back without a fight. When election time comes, let’s make sure we get rid of them. I only pray that there is a union left to save.”
Mike Andrews, New Penn Local 404, Springfield, Mass.
What Do You Think? Do you have a comment, a question, or a suggestion?
Click here to send us a comment, or call the TDU National Office at (313) 842-2600.
September 11, 2009: Members are uniting for change in Puerto Rico, as a series of scandals have rocked their local union.
As Convoy-Dispatch goes to press, Local 901 principal officer Germán Vázquez may have already cut a deal to resign from the union after he was caught embezzling more than $55,000 in union funds.
According to an investigation by the Independent Review Board, Vázquez took four improper pay hikes totaling $55,532 between January 2005 and May 2009.
Vázquez’s expected resignation will end his union career, but not the big problems in Local 901—where the Executive Board faces a series of legal charges for violating members’ rights.
The Department of Labor is suing Local 901 for election violations, charging that the local ran last fall’s voting to illegally favor the incumbents against the Tronquistas Haciendo la Diferencia slate (Teamsters Making a Difference).
The National Labor Relations Board is also taking action against Local 901 officials—charging them with retaliating against members for supporting the reform candidates for union office.
“We are proud to be Teamsters—but we are not proud of Local 901 leaders who have put their own interests ahead of the members,” said Humberto Miranda, a Local 901 Teamster and a member of Teamsters for a Democratic Union.
“We’re organizing to restore democracy, integrity and power to our union,” Miranda said.
When union reformers formed a slate in last fall’s Local 901 election, the Executive Board was not about to risk a clean election.
Local 901 held a walk-in vote with more than 90 polling places. Officials blocked observers from entering the voting sites. They seized control of ballot boxes and blank ballots.
The Department of Labor has sued Local 901 for violating members’ rights to a free and fair election, and is demanding a new, fair vote.
But the story doesn’t end there.
Local 901 officials also expelled three of the reform candidates—Mara Quiara, Migdalia Magriz and Silvia Rivera— from the union and fined them $10,000 each on trumped-up charges of leading an illegal 3-day strike at Coca-Cola.
Backed by legal representation, the reformers are fighting to win their reinstatement.
How ridiculous are the charges against them? Consider this: None of the charged Teamsters work at Coca-Cola. Their sole connection to the Coke strike was that they came to the picket line to show support to fellow Teamsters. And the NLRB has determined that the strike was not illegal and charged Coca-Cola for unfair labor practices.
Not only do Local 901 officials have no case; they themselves face legal charges for violating members rights’ at Coke.
The National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint against the union for failing to represent strikers who were illegally fired by Coke—charging that Local 901 officials refused to represent the members because they supported reform candidates for union office.
Organizing for Change
While Local 901 officials prepare their legal defenses, members are organizing for change.
They are holding rank-and-file meetings and building a grassroots communication and information network.
“Local 901 belongs to the members. We’re coming together to restore our union to what it can and should be,” said Eliot Rodríguez, a Local 901 Teamster from BFI Waste.
September 11, 2009: Across the country, bus drivers are organizing with the Teamsters Union to secure a better future and a voice on the job. Those same goals are driving bus workers in Vermont Local 597 to gear up early for their contract negotiations next spring.
Nearly 75 Teamsters drive and maintain buses for the Chittenden County Transportation Authority (CCTA) in and around Burlington, Vermont.
Members have formed a rank-and-file Committee for a Good Contract. They’ve launched a contract survey to build Teamster unity and give every member a voice in defining the union’s bargaining goals.
“Fair discipline is a major issue. Management does pretty much what they want,” said Chuck Norris-Brown, a CCTA driver. “We want to eliminate favoritism and clear up grey areas.”
Wages and healthcare are big issues—and so is scheduling. CCTA drivers work split shifts that can keep them away from home from five in the morning until nine at night.
“Some drivers are forced to sleep in their cars because they don’t have time to go home between shifts. That’s not good for our families—and it’s not safe for the public,” Norris-Brown said.
CCTA Teamsters have elected a new chief shop steward, Mike Walker, and will soon be electing additional shop stewards.
“We think members having a stronger voice will mean a stronger contract,” said Scott Ranney, another Local 597 driver. “This is our contract and it affects all of us.”
TDU Convention: We’ll Be There
“A group of us will be coming out to the TDU Convention together—and we can’t wait.
“TDU workshops in Vermont have already helped give us tools to unite the members and get ready for contract bargaining.
“We’re looking forward to meeting Teamsters from across the country and getting more training on how to win a strong contract and enforce our rights.”
Scott Ranney, Bus Driver, CCTA, Local 597, Vermont
Click here to find out more and register for the TDU Convention.
September 11, 2009: In a tough economy, management is squeezing UPS Teamsters more than ever.
We’ve got contract language to protect us. So why isn’t it being enforced?
In a tough economy, management is pushing UPS Teamsters harder than ever.
“Our District Manager told us straight out at a PCM that volume is down so we’re going to have to squeeze more out of you,” said Ken Reiman, a Local 804 member in Long Island, N.Y.
Interviews with UPSers across the country reveal the tools the company is using to apply this squeeze—and the weak contract enforcement that helps management get away with it.
Across the country, management is demanding higher stops per hour. Ride-alongs are up, both three-day rides and one-day “snapshots.” The company is breaking up routes—especially on Mondays and Fridays—and saddling drivers with additional stops and extra hours.
“Members are complaining about punching out at nine o’clock at night. Some want the hours—but a lot of people would like more time at home with their families,” Reiman said.
Our union can’t make these problems disappear. This is UPS after all. But stronger contract enforcement can protect members from the worst abuses.
International Striking Out
Instead, contract enforcement is at an all-time low. The International Union won just four out of 55 cases at the last national grievance panel. Nationally, 9.5 violations are at an all-time high, but 9.5 grievance settlements are down.
“Everyone is just working themselves into the ground,” says Matt Higdon, a shop steward in Atlanta Local 728.
“There’s overwhelming frustration on everything having to do with contract enforcement. Our business agent does a great job. The problem is at the top. Hoffa is in UPS’s pocket and everything trickles down from there,” said. Higdon.
“We’ve got to keep filing grievances and stay relentless. But we’ve also got to get to the source of the problem—and that means changing the leadership at the International Union,” Higdon said.
TDU is about using education and unity to win change.
“Management is really dropping the hammer. Members need to know what their rights are—and how we can make a difference through solidarity and good leadership. That’s where TDU comes in,” said John Virgen a package steward in Sacramento Local 150.
Management Admits The Squeeze Is On
“Our District Manager told us straight out at a PCM that volume is down so we’re going to have to squeeze more out of you.
“Members are complaining about punching out at nine o’clock at night. Some want the hours—but a lot of people would like more time at home with their families.”
Ken Reiman, UPS Package Car Driver, Local 804, New York
Share Contract Enforcement Strategies at the TDU Convention
“The TDU Convention is our chance to compare notes with UPS Teamsters from across the country.
“I’m looking forward to sharing strategies on how we can protect members from production harassment and unfair discipline. I also want to hear how UPS is using new technology, like telematics.”
Mark Day, Local 705 Package Car Steward, Chicago
Click here to find out more and register for the TDU Convention.
September 11, 2009: UPS Teamsters are increasingly getting just dimes on the dollar for 9.5 violations—when they get anything at all. The problem is epidemic and infecting areas where members historically have been able to win full penalty pay.
Teamsters in Oklahoma Local 886 have been used to seeing their grievances paid dollar for dollar. But after a year of waiting, the Southern Region panel has ruled on 9.5 grievances filed between June and October of last year. Under the settlement, the panel tossed out the first grievance each driver filed. And all subsequent grievances were settled at 40 cents on the dollar.
“This is the first time I’ve seen a 9.5 grievance settled less than dollar for dollar at my building,” said Domingo Ramirez, a package car driver and steward at the Enid center.
“We have drivers working until eight or nine every night. This is hard on our families. This settlement sends the wrong message to management, that they can keep putting more and more work on us.”
September 11, 2009: As we go to press, Teamsters Local 2727 is scheduling a strike vote of 1,400 UPS plane mechanics. The company wants Teamster mechanics and retirees to start contributing to their health insurance premiums. Management also wants to reduce coverage.
Industry analysts have told the press that our union has real leverage because a strike could affect UPS at its busiest time of the year.
Management is dismissive of the strike vote. UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot said: “It’s contract posturing and it has absolutely no legal significance whatsoever.”
Because they are covered by the Railway Labor Act, the mechanics can only strike if the National Mediation Board says UPS and the Teamsters are at impasse.
September 11, 2009: UPS announced after-tax profits of $445 million for the second quarter of 2009, up from $401 million in the first quarter.
In the worst economy in our lifetimes, UPS has turned $846 million in after-tax profits in the first six months of the year.
By comparison, FedEx lost $779 million from Dec. 1, 2008 to May 31, 2009—the most recent six months for which the company’s earnings info is available.
UPS’s volume and profits are both down from last year. UPS made $873 million in the second quarter of 2008.