Roadway Express has proposed a massive change of operations, which would cause 955 Teamsters to relocate. They are seeking a union hearing on February 9 and implementation by March 12. The breakbulk terminals in Greenville, SC and Hagerstown, Maryland would close, as would the road driver relay in North Lima, Ohio.
Roadway management is selling the change as necessary to maintain and improve service; they are slower than other carriers on some lanes. They also highlight that the proposed change would maintain the same number of Teamster jobs and would convert 168 sleeper jobs to solo jobs.
It is likely that there will be a lot of holes to fill with new hires, especially on the dock.
Click here: for the entire management proposal for the change of operations. (Adobe Acrobat needed.)
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Seven million dollars is on the table as the proposed WARN Act settlement to pay off Teamsters put out of work when USF Red Star closed its doors last year.
This figure was reached in negotiations with Yellow Roadway, USF’s new owner. The settlement means roughly a minimum payment of $3,200 for each Teamster who worked in a terminal of 50 or more employees and about $1,000 for each Teamster who worked in a smaller Red Star facility. It’s about 40 percent of the amount owed under the WARN Act.
For over a year, a diligent group of former Red Star Teamsters has organized to win justice. Without this effort, it’s doubtful any WARN Act suit would have been filed. These rank and filers have fought for their day in court and it comes on Sept. 22 when a Philadelphia judge will determine whether or not the $7 million settlement is appropriate.
Activists are encouraging former Red Star Teamsters to attend this “fairness hearing.” They see this as an opportunity to speak out on Yellow’s settlement as unjust. Teamsters are circulating a petition to deliver to the court. They believe the 1,700 Teamsters deserve more, especially considering the millions former Red Star management honchos took with their golden parachutes.
Members also continue to press unfair labor practice charges regarding their lost jobs. USF Holland has re-opened terminals in many of the areas formerly serviced by USF Red Star. The IBT worked out an agreement where former Red Star Teamsters would get an opportunity to work for USF Holland, but at reduced wages. A number of Teamsters have hired in at USF Holland but contend that they are doing the same work they did prior to the USF Red Star closure. Many are concerned that the WARN Act settlement may cause the dismissal of these charges.
You can learn more about how former Red Star Teamsters have organized at www.redstarteamsters.com
I would like to thank TDU and Convoy Dispatch for the opportunity to get a very important message out to my Teamster brothers and sisters. I am not currently a member of TDU but I do certainly sympathize and support anyone who aspires to make the Teamsters a more democratic union.
I am one of the lead plaintiffs in the WARN Act lawsuit that the rank and file was forced to bring against USF. I say forced because three months after USF shut down Red Star, Jimmy Hoffa appeared to do little more then accommodate the company’s every whim. I was incredulous when I saw the September edition of the “Teamster Freight News.” The headline touts; “Union wins $7 million Red Star settlement. “ I can’t begin to tell you how untrue that is. In fact, not a single IBT representative bothered to show up at the recent fairness hearing that was held regarding the WARN Act lawsuit.
USF Red Star no longer exists because of years of apparent mismanagement, and a “strike” that the IBT claims Hoffa didn’t authorize. Immediately after the shut down a member wrote to Hoffa and asked; “Why didn’t you call off the strike?” Hoffa didn’t bother to respond, but IBT rep Gordon Sweeton did. He wrote, “General President Hoffa was out of town on other business when this strike was called.”
That statement is incredible, if true. Is it possible that the president of the Teamsters is not in possession of a cell phone? Do we really want to trust our future to a man who would be either this negligent, or inaccessible? We lost close to 2,000 Teamster jobs that day and have recouped less than 20 percent of them at Holland.
USF claims that Red Star could not survive after what amounted to be a one-day strike. A strike that the rank and file was never informed of until the walkout actually happened.
Incidentally, USF announced its reemergence in the East a mere month later. USF dumped Red Star, and they supplanted our contract with USF Holland’s workrules, which are substandard. It seemed that the IBT was more attentive to the company’s expansion desires than the needs of their members. Taking all of this into consideration, the rank and file had to step up and take action into our own hands. The IBT did eventually file a WARN Act lawsuit against USF. It was on the eve of the six-month deadline, and a week after they couldn’t coerce me into dropping our lawsuit. Since then they have ridden our coat tails and have taken credit for any success the rank and file has achieved.
Our attorneys, not the IBT lawyers, were designated by the court to represent the “class” and they worked out the proposed settlement. In fact, the IBT refused to help the members’ attorneys. I thought we deserved more than the negotiated settlement, and said so in court. To paraphrase, “I believe that USF’s callous mistreatment of all its former Red Star employees throughout this ordeal is tantamount to that of Enron’s. USF needs to know its heartless actions towards tenured employees, who happen to be unionized, is unacceptable. This is a fairness hearing and what we ask for is what is fair and just. We believe the $7 million offer is woefully inadequate. USF purports to be a $2.3 billion dollar company. Yellow/Roadway purchased USF and now claims to be a $10 billion operation. When USF shut down Red Star, they claimed to have set aside $70 million for possible litigation. Where is it now? I respectfully request the court to consider voiding this settlement so that there might be more money offered to a class that has endured so much at the hands of not only its former employer, but our union as well. A 50 percent increase in the settlement might just be the moral victory that his class needs to restore its faith that justice and restitution are attainable by the little guy.”
This fight took a lot of heart and determination. I’m proud to be a Teamster and a union man that stood up for my brothers and sisters. Any settlement we achieve is due to the fact that we stuck to our principles and united to win what was rightfully ours. We need a union leadership that will do the same.
Local 107, USF Holland
ABF road drivers in Kernersville, N.C. and Orlando, Fla. are contending with a host of problems that stem from poor terminal management. Runarounds are rampant. Drivers either sit and wait for work or end up running hard to make up for lost earning potential.
“The terminal manager, Ron Meadows” an Orlando driver told Convoy, “seems to think that this is the way to run the operation, along with our Business Agent, Mr. Gary Brown. In the past three months, two drivers have just up and quit basically because of the deteriorating conditions here in Orlando. There are, at this writing, three trucks down for repairs. Would ABF rent trucks so that the teams could possibly earn a living? Nope!
“What happens is that a team returning to Orlando has to give up their truck to the next team in waiting to go out so they can run. Subsequently, there are always three teams on the board waiting for the phone to ring. What does that mean to our earning potential?”
Is ABF purposely violating the contract on dispatch rules or is this mismanagement at the terminal level? Neither Local 385 in Orlando nor Local 391 in North Carolina seem interested in seeing that the contract is enforced.
In mid January the Eastern Region freight grievance panel awarded over $230,000 to Pittsburgh DHL drivers, but the company continues to defy the decision. Incredibly, it appears that the Hoffa administration is in cahoots with the corporation in refusing to comply with a binding decision and in undermining the union’s own grievance procedure.
Thousands of DHL Teamsters are being used as pawns in a union power struggle, with control over the highest levels of the grievance procedure going to Tom Keegel and International Rep Brad Slawson of Minneapolis, away from the Freight Division of the IBT.
DHL management was not happy a few months back when they lost a grievance over their subcontracting of some Teamster work loading and unloading planes at the Pittsburgh airport. The company was ordered to pay some $90,000, split among several Teamsters who were deprived of overtime work by the contract violation.
Instead of paying up, the company went to Hoffa, who then allowed them to do an end run around the grievance procedure to get better deals. As a result, DHL will now be part of the MCLAC (Motor Carriers Labor Advisory Committee) grievance procedure, where management feels they will fare better. And at the national level, Slawson, the company’s favorite Teamster leader, will be in charge. The company claims that Slawson told them he would reduce the grievance award down to $16,000.
When DHL refused to pay the $90,000 awarded, Pittsburgh Local 249 filed under Article 7 for penalty pay, which led to the additional award of $230,000. That penalty pay increases every day the company refuses to comply.
Who are Hoffa and Slawson working for? The members and the local unions that filed the subcontracting grievances, or management?
Contract Reopener April 1
The union leadership in 2003 negotiated a reopener clause in the contract for April 1, 2006. Now union officials such as International Vice President Chuck Mack are trying to use this good clause as a scare tactic against members, telling them the company will somehow use it to gut the contract. Since we have the right to strike in a reopener, concessionary talk should be completely off the table. Instead of just giving up and not reopening the contract, the union should be bargaining over important issues such as the status of the independent contractors used to get around the union.
If the union and company don’t reopen the agreement, that will be a convenient excuse to not let the members vote on the change in the grievance procedure.
The DHL fiasco is one reason Hoffa has lost support not only from freight Teamsters but many officers and leaders within the Freight Division. A number of Teamster officers believe Hoffa has written off not only the Freight Division, but the future of the freight industry in our union.
Meanwhile, the Hoffa campaign ad in the February magazine boasts that he “restored the hammer” to the freight grievance procedure. This is from the man who is helping management undermine already-won grievances, and whose only freight strikes ever called were the disasters at Overnite and Red Star. Apparently the hammer is for use against Teamster members and leaders who stand up to the company.
On February 1, Teamsters Union freight representatives agreed to approve Roadway’s major change of operations, which will close some breakbulks and relay points and move approximately one thousand road, dock, yard and office jobs. In return, certain job protections were written into the change agreement.
In January 2006 the Eastern Conference panel heard a second grievance and ruled DHL must pay a penalty of over $2,000 for each day the company fails to pay the original $90,000 ruling. They now owe over $200,000.
Why won’t DHL comply with the contract and pay up? The answer is Brad Slawson.
Last October International Rep. Slawson, the right-hand man to General Secretary Treasurer Tom Keegel, went behind the back of the affected Teamsters to try to cut a deal with DHL and let the company to pay a measly $16,000.
In a January 17, 2006 notarized statement, DHL vice president for Labor Relations, Patricia Ann Burke claims that Slawson approached her with the deal. This was after the Pittsburgh Teamsters had been duly awarded $90,000 for two years of giving away union work.
This is the same Brad Slawson who was put in charge of DHL Teamsters for the International Union by James Hoffa.
Local 249 members continue to press for the acknowledgement of their victorious grievance and the money owed. The Eastern Region Joint Area Committee met on January 18, 2006 and found in favor of the Local 249 grievance calling for penalty pay from October 19, 2005 forward. Local 249 has received strike authorization from Joint Council 40. The request has been sent to the International.
It’s time for Hoffa to do right thing. Send Slawson back to Minnesota, and support the Pittsburgh Teamsters who are asking for nothing but what they are entitled to.
On February 21 the National Freight Grievance Committee issued a clarification in a case from Local 776, which protects the right of a freight Teamster to appeal to a third doctor regarding a DOT physical. If the company doctor disqualifies an employee, and the Teamster’s personal doctor gives a conflicting diagnosis, the Teamster can appeal to a third doctor.
This document corrects what appeared to be a very wrong-headed decision issued on February 3.
Freight and carhaul Teamsters will make less this year than last due to wages lost to inflation—despite COLA increases which will take affect next month.
Freight Teamsters will get an extra 10c raise on April 1 because inflation has jumped to 4.1% over the past year, triggering a payout from the cost of living clause in the National Master Freight Agreement. Under the NMFA, a COLA kicks in when inflation exceeds 3.5 percent—so freight Teamsters will get an extra dime or slightly less than 1/2 percent of the wage rate.
The carhaul contract has superior language, so carhaulers will get 21c per hour, or about 1%, on June 1. Carhaulers suffered a two year wage freeze in the present contract, and lost 6% of real wages to inflation, so the 1% increase is more than welcome.
These COLA increases are in addition to the regular wage increases of 45c (2.0%) for freight, and 40c (1.9%) for carhaul. The COLA for freight mileage pay is .25c per mile, and for carhaul it is 1.05c per loaded mile and .525c per running mile.
Even with COLA payout, freight and carhaul Teamsters will lose real wages over the year to inflation. Freight Teamsters will make 33c less this year than last, measured in “real wages”, the economists’ term that takes into account inflation. Carhaulers will make 27c per hour less.
International officers will get a COLA raise on July 1, calculated on a rather different formula, the details of which will be known in May. If inflation for that period is 4.1%, the COLA raise for James Hoffa will be $5.03 per hour, with similar increases for other IBT officials.