Mergers and acquisitions are the name of the game in the new trucking industry as companies scramble to compete against one another in all sectors of the market: LTL freight, parcel delivery and global logistics.
DHL may be the next big player to buy a major freight carrier. Analysts agree that if they intend to grow and compete with UPS and FedEx, DHL cannot remain strictly an airfreight operation. Airfreight’s rapid expansion is over and shippers are moving to full-service carriers.
Meanwhile, our Teamster organizing drive at DHL is running into trouble. After some 1,500 workers who move DHL freight but work for “independent contractors” voted for the Teamsters, DHL is starting to dump those contractors.
Only a full-court press by the Teamsters against DHL will sustain our good organizing work here and bring 10,000 nonunion DHL workers into the fold.
USF Teamsters Still Fighting for Jobs
The national freight grievance panel ruled on April 28 that former Red Star employees are entitled to be hired at the new USF Holland terminals in the East. The workers learned in May that the company has to back-date their seniority to when they should have been hired, but not provide back pay.
Thanks to a grievance filed by members of Philadelphia Local 107, the panel ruled that USF Holland failed to hire the former USF Red Star employees in order of seniority. The right to preferential hiring was part of an earlier agreement worked out between the IBT and USF last July, following the shutdown of Red Star and USF Holland’s decision to open terminals in the northeast.
Angered by the fact that USF has not lived up to the agreement, and the IBT has done little about it, Philly Teamsters filed the grievance and also filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board.
These Teamsters lost their jobs in the USF Red Star fiasco and now have been denied even new-hire jobs at USF Holland. The decision also allows for yet more stalling. The panel established a subcommittee of Dan Virtue for the union, and Leonard Waldo for the company, “to review the applications.” After all these months, this should not be needed. Since there is no backpay in the decision, the company can stall all it wants if the IBT continues to allow it.
After the decision, USF Holland advertised for drivers and dock workers in an ad in the May 22 Buffalo News, apparently still intending to deny jobs to Teamsters.
It’s been many months, and it’s time for the union to stand behind the people the union put on strike. USF (and Yellow) need to understand that they will face consequences up to strike action if they don’t comply with the agreement.
Click on the stories below for more information about the UPS-Overnite deal:
UPS+Overnite = Danger Ahead
What Does it Mean for Freight Teamsters?
New Threats and Opportunities
Now's the Time to Organize Overnite
Teamster Pension Funds Could be Strengthened
DHL: The Next Move?
From coast to coast, DHL Teamsters feel the same way: Hoffa did the company’s bidding and didn’t even bother to consult the affected Teamsters. Much anger is focused on the union allowing DHL to leave the freight grievance panels for more pro-company panels, but a second issue also demands an answer: why did the union fail to exercise the option to reopen the contract?
The contract reopener was put in the contract for good reason. It would have given us leverage, right now, on critical issues like organizing all the DHL contractors. And it would have given members the right to vote on changes, including changes in the grievance procedure. Is that why the Hoffa administration allowed the reopener deadline to pass without taking action?
Some officials, including Chuck Mack in California, have tried to convince members that DHL management wanted the contract open. If that were true, why didn’t they reopen it? Either party had the right to reopen. Why would the company want to allow any possibility at all of a work stoppage at this time? The leverage belonged to the union, and the leadership instead collapsed.
Meanwhile, Local 249 continues to struggle to collect the grievance procedure award of over $200,000 for members who lost work due to subcontracting at the Pittsburgh airport. They have the right to strike over the issue, even though the International Union has refused to sanction one. (Joint Council 40 did grant sanction.) Reportedly they are considering legal action as well as a possible work stoppage.
The International Union, in the person of International rep Brad Slawson, tried to undercut the local union and cut a backroom deal with DHL, but DHL lost the issue a second time at the joint area committee and is legally bound to pay the affected Teamsters. Why does the Hoffa administration continue to do the company’s dirty work on this issue?
February 8, 2006. Local 249 has submitted a request for strike authorization from the IBT in response to DHL’s unwillingness to comply with a September 2005 grievance decision. Five months have passed since the National Review Committee for the NMFA (Tyson Johnson for the IBT and Jim Roberts for TMI) ordered DHL to pay $90,000 worth of back pay to Teamsters in Pittsburgh for subcontracting violations.
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.
March 8, 2006. 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.
The National Review Committee (Tyson Johnson for the IBT and Jim Roberts for TMI) ruled Teamster members covered under NMFA Supplements will no longer have the option of requesting a 3rd doctor’s evaluation in cases involving DOT medical examinations.
This giveback to the employers was tacked onto the end of a decision involving a Harrisburg Local 776 ABF member. This protection has been in place for decades and helps prevent the employers from imposing decisions made by company doctors. Prior to the latest ruling, the decision of the 3rd Doctor was binding.
It’s unclear now how the difference of opinion between a member’s doctor and that delivered by a company doctor will be resolved. Leaving each such case up to the panels is not a solution, especially when a better procedure has been in place for so long.
Confronted by members, Tyson Johnson now claims that he did not sign the decision (even though his signature appears on it) and there are rumblings that it could be overturned.
What is going on at the IBT and in the freight division? Why are long-time provisions being traded away? If the decision is overturned, what will the IBT end up giving the employers in exchange?
Click here to download the decision] (Acrobat Reader required)