August 23, 2007: DHL Teamsters are organizing nationally to defend the National Master Freight Agreement and win a good contract for all DHL Teamsters. They’ve already scored one major victory when they forced the Hoffa administration to scrap a “Draft National Agreement” that was riddled with concessions.
For months, some DHL Teamsters have heard about secret bargaining between DHL management and Brad Slawson, an assistant to James Hoffa. Then on July 25, the stinky stuff hit the fan when TDU obtained and posted on www.tdu.org the “Draft National Agreement,” all 77 pages of it. The dirty deal that would gut the NMFA was exposed.
DHL members started to network, by phone, email, in barn meetings, stewards meetings and through TDU’s network. Calls, postcards and petitions poured into IBT headquarters.
The rank-and-file campaign worked. The Hoffa administration has scrapped its “Draft National Agreement.” At a meeting in Detroit on Aug. 20, local unions were instructed to hold proposal meetings for DHL. Teamsters can use those meetings to put forward the DHL network’s demands:
- No surrender of the NMFA.
- Shop stewards should be on the bargaining committee.
- A union fight to upgrade all white paper contracts to the best level.
As more Teamsters learn what’s happening, they are coming on board. The DHL network is growing fast. DHL Teamsters United issued a national leaflet on Aug. 20. A first national conference call was held. A new web forum was opened. And this is just the beginning.
It shows what happens when Teamsters put any political or personal differences aside and get together to defend our national master contract.
Interested Teamsters can call TDU at (313) 842-2600 for the latest info and how to get involved.
August 23, 2007: Brothers and Sisters,
I am a DHL driver and union committeeman in Pittsburgh Local 249. DHL Teamsters in our local are STRONGLY opposed to any negotiations with the goal of taking DHL out of the NMFA. When we got word that this may be in the works, we shifted into high gear to organize against it.
Thankfully, we gathered a lot of support from other DHL Teamsters around the country who understand the importance of being in a national master contract. Our opposition was heard loud and clear in Washington and the substandard “draft language” was rejected as a starting point for negotiations. This was a great victory for DHL Teamsters.
But is this sham contract dead? DHL still has their bargaining agenda and we need ours. We won round one but now the next fight must be fought. Two things need to happen: Brad Slawson needs to be removed from the bargaining team and DHL stewards need to be in on the negotiations!
What does Brad Slawson know about DHL? He doesn’t even represent a station. He participated in talks with DHL for months with that terrible draft language as the basis for the meetings. That’s no lead negotiator.
Stewards can make a difference. They have the insight into the operations of DHL and know the day-to-day struggles of working Teamsters. They will keep the membership informed and unified.
We need DHL Teamsters to tell your local officials, reps, and Brother Hoffa:
- Keep us in the NMFA. Bring DHL white paper contracts into that agreement.
- Bring DHL stewards on to the bargaining team.
- Remove Brad Slawson as chief negotiator and name a local officer who represents DHL Teamsters under the NMFA.
A unified membership can win a fair and decent contract. That takes organization. Go to www.dhlteamsterforum.com and become part of the network. Together we can win our fair share from this billion-dollar corporation.
Keep the heat on!
Mark Woods, Local 249
August 10, 2007: In one of James R. Hoffa's last interviews before he disappeared in 1975, he was asked what the priority should be for the Teamsters Union. His reply: "I'd reinstate some additional organizers for the purpose of having master contracts. There's no way unions can survive without master contracts."
His words still ring true. Our master contracts, and even the unity of our pension plans, are under attack from global corporations. Some in the International Union headquarters as discussing how to go along. Fortunately, thousands of DHL Teamsters are discussing how to defend and expand our master contracts.
DHL Teamsters, stewards and some local officers have continued to take united action since they forced Hoffa to call off negotiations with DHL on the sell-out draft agreement. Across the country, DHL Teamsters are organizing to defend and expand the National Master Freight Agreement standards.
- The great majority of Pittsburgh Local 249 DHL Teamsters sent Hoffa a signed postcard calling for Brad Slawson to be replaced as bargaining chair and stewards to be included in bargaining. Click here to download the postcard.
- Petitions have come in from many stations, from Monterey California Local 912 to Cleveland Local 407.
- Over 200 DHL Teamsters in Oakland Local 70 asked their secretary treasurer, International Vice President Chuck Mack, to send a letter to President Hoffa voicing their determination to defend the contract and include stewards in bargaining. Click here to download Mack’s letter.
- In San Francisco Local 85 members circulated a letter expressing their position. Click here to download their letter.
And the movement is growing. From Portland to Boston, from Dallas to Los Angeles, Teamsters are spreading the word, distributing bulletins, and building a united movement.
Hoffa sent a letter to all locals calling them to Detroit for an August 21 “summit” on the DHL situation. He has promised to junk the sell-out contract negotiated by Brad Slawson, but continues to retain Slawson as chair of bargaining. All the more reason for all DHL Teamsters—including those in the white paper contracts in New York, Chicago, Upstate New York, Baltimore and elsewhere—to unite to fight for a strong master contract that brings all DHL Teamsters up to the NMFA standards.
Some union officers are trying to soften DHL Teamsters up for givebacks by parroting the company line that DHL needs concessions to be competitive in the U.S. market. This is baloney. For many years, DHL’s competitor UPS lost money in Europe and used its profits from the U.S. to subsidize its European operations, in order to operate globally. DHL wants to expand their operations in the world’s biggest market, the USA. Teamsters will give them high quality work, but we will not give away our master contract.
DHLers now just launched their own on-line forum. Check out www.dhlteamsterforum.com. This is an independent forum for all DHL Teamsters to exchange ideas and information.
What do you think should happen next to defend strong Teamster standards at DHL? Click here to send us your opinion.
August 3, 2007: DHL has a goal: “structural changes in DHL’s labor contracts to more appropriately reflect the fact that DHL is a small package delivery company.”
Those words come from Labor Relations Vice President Patricia Burke, in a recent memo in response to TDU’s website.
Let’s translate that management-speak to Teamster-talk: they want to bust down conditions, and “restructure” the workforce with a flood of low-wage part-timers. They want a UPS-style contract. (But they don’t want to pay the $28.50 per hour that a UPS package car driver makes.)
Remember the Draft National Agreement, which rank-and-file power got shelved: it has language that all existing full-timers would be “red-circled by name” as our only protection against being forced down to part-time. That one line told us a lot about what they want, and what the International would agree to.
Burke goes on to tell management personnel to “stay close to the script” and tell Teamsters that DHL “never has, and would not now” be part of the NMFA bargaining.
It’s true that DHL has not been part of Trucking Management Inc (TMI) that bargains the NMFA with the Teamsters, but our union has also never let DHL get away from the NMFA contract language and standards.
Rank-and-file power shelved the Draft National Agreement. But DHL management isn’t going to give up on busting the NMFA and demanding concessions. Management has a plan.
We need a union plan.
- Stewards should be invited to the national meeting of locals to approve bargaining demands and strategy (as happened in the past). Stewards should be at the bargaining table.
- Slawson should be replaced as bargaining chair by an officer who represents DHL Teamsters, and has to answer to them.
- No less than the NMFA, and no white-paper contract.
- No increase in the number of part-timers. Protect good Teamster jobs.
- Use Teamster power to organize DHL’s non-union sectors.
Stay informed and help build unity. Click here to join the network of DHL Teamsters working to save the NMFA.
Got a question or a comment about DHL negotiations? Click here to contact TDU, or call (313) 842-2600.
August 1, 2007: TDU supplied the ammo, and now Teamsters from coast-to-coast are shooting down the sell-out of DHL Teamsters. And they won’t stop shooting till this monster is dead.
Today we received the good news that the deal has been stopped, at least for now. The Hoffa administration saw that the Draft National Contract was dead-on-arrival because it would never get approved by the members, and today called off negotiations and sent the local officials in Washington home early.
Rank-and-file power has won this round. But the battle for a good contract has only started.
On July 26, TDU made available to DHL Teamsters the Draft National Contract that would pull DHL out of the National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA) and give the company its long-sought white paper contract. And the draft contract was a stinker.
Teamster members, stewards and local officers are taking action. They continue to contact TDU, and are starting to network with each other. Petitions are circulating in DHL stations. Calls have poured into the Marble Palace. Stewards have called meetings to inform members.
That’s how we won this round.
On Monday, July 30, DHL union reps from various locals arrived in Washington for negotiations. Hoffa sent International Rep Ed Keyser to meet with them to try to put the fire out. Keyser stated that maybe the Draft Contract needs to be improved (!).
Hoffa’s assistant Brad Slawson, the person most responsible for this mess, didn’t show up till Wednesday, August 1. Slawson has been on the phone telling stewards and members that the Draft Contract doesn’t exist, that TDU made it up. (Earth to Brad: no one believes you.)
By the end of the day on August 1, the International suspended negotiations and sent the local officials home, with the statement that the Draft National Contract would be scrapped and a meeting would be held soon in Detroit with all affected locals, to start over. Stewards should be invited to that meeting, as they were in the previous DHL bargaining.
This movement now has to grow fast to prevent the return of the monster, and to lay the basis for a contract that protects our jobs and also uses our Teamster Power to organize the large non-union DHL sectors.
DHL Teamsters who want to get the latest news and learn what can be done, should contact TDU today. Call (313) 842-2600 or click here to send a message.
Download the bulletin, “Don’t Let DHL Pull Out of the NMFA”
Download the petition, “Preserve the NMFA at DHL”
July 25, 2007: DHL Teamsters are uniting to save the national contract. Download the Draft Contract that would gut members’ rights and find out how you can help keep DHL in the NMFA.
For years, DHL has wanted to bust out of the NMFA and cut its own deal that includes part-timers like UPS—and other sweetheart terms favorable to the company. Our union has always said NO. But now, the International Union is negotiating a back room deal with DHL to get more dues-paying Teamsters in return for letting the company scrap the NMFA.
The time is now for DHL Teamsters to speak up and defend our contract. Fortunately, many Teamsters and local unions are doing just that.
Members across the country are circulating an informational bulletin and a petition to “Preserve the NMFA at DHL.”
DHL and the IBT have already started bargaining, with no input from members or locals. It's far from over but the draft contains plenty to be worried about, including:
- Part-Timers: The Draft Contract opens the door to a flood of part-timers, guaranteed just 15 hours a week. This could be a death sentence for good jobs at DHL. The Draft Contract includes this language: current full-timers would be red-circled by name and not forced down to part-time. Some protection that is!
- A two-page list of reasons that you can be immediately fired: The final is a catch-all loophole that would let DHL fire you for just about anything.
- A weakened grievance procedure: A company-based panel would be set up with only DHL management on the other side. Innocent until proven guilty would be eliminated and so would our Right to Strike on deadlocked grievances (“the hammer.”)
You can help save our contract. Get informed. Spread the word. Tell our International Union to save our contract.
Download the bulletin, “Don’t Let DHL Pull Out of the NMFA”
Download the petition, “Preserve the NMFA at DHL”
July 12, 2007: Will the Hoffa administration let DHL undermine our standards under the guise of a new 'master' contract?
The Hoffa administration and some local officials are floating a trial balloon to see if DHL Teamsters can be swayed into a company-plan to take them out of the National Master Freight Agreement. The sales pitch is that members will instead be in a DHL “master” contract.
They don’t mention that the company has pushed for this for years. Management knows breaking the master contract is the first step toward low-wage part-timers and lots more concessions in the future.
This is a serious threat. Teamsters should say No loud and clear to head it off now, before a deal is cut.
Most DHL Teamsters are in the NMFA or contracts that are just as good (Chicago is better). Some are under inferior white paper contracts. And of course DHL uses nonunion contractors to run their local operation at many stations.
The key is to bring all up to NMFA standards. We are not powerless here. The big strategic centers are Teamsters, under the NMFA. The pilots are Teamsters. We should put Teamster power to work to organize.
The alternative is to give the company what they want, in exchange for getting more dues-paying Teamsters.