May 24, 2013: Do you have a story to share or an opinion to express? We want to hear from you. Send us a letter by email to letters [at] tdu.org or by mail to P.O. Box 10128, Detroit, MI 48210.
We absolutely need to stand together and vote no. The attempt to get a good contract that was apparently voted in favor of unanimously by our Teamster officials is baffling. We need to send a message to UPS that they may persuade the Teamster reps, but not us. This is our union and we need to keep it strong for others who depend on their unions. We need to say it loud and clear from all the UPS Freight terminals who are deciding to fight the fight and vote NO.
Local 957, Dayton, Ohio
How can we hope to have a strong organizing campaign and battle anti-union politicians for friendly labor legislation if we can't win a strong contract? Teamsters need strong leadership to do great things and enforceable contracts are at the heart of a strong union.
Local 30, Jeannette, Penn.
Remember five years ago when you turned in that card hoping for a better future? Well, what happened? Not even a 3 percent raise to cover cost of living. Mediocre healthcare plan. No new language in the grievance procedure. Smoke and mirror pension plan that will actually lose money over time because there is no variable for inflation. And to top it all off let's create a new classification so we can pay 42 cents a mile to do road work! What happened to equal pay for equal work? I foresee all of the same issues happening all over again and no efficient way to grieve them. It’s time the union stays true to their word and backs the union workers they are paid to represent. Please vote NO on this contract or we'll be opening a can of worms we cannot close for not only our company, but for other union freight companies as well.
Local 492, Albuquerque, N.M.
Proud to be TDU
Hey, just wanted to say thanks. I respect what you all do, and I’m signing up to become a member. Thanks brothers and sisters. I’m proud to be a new member. Keep up the good fight!
Local 637, Lancaster, Ohio
Mega Profits, Bad Deal
Our contract and our benefit improvements should be based on the billions of dollars in record profits UPS continues to make.
Full-timers make a good wage but claiming that $10 an hour is a substantial gain for part-timers is a joke. I'm also doubtful that anything having to do with Central States will give us peace of mind on our health insurance.
Local 688, St. Louis
Holding Hoffa Accountable
I am calling on Mr. Hoffa to do the right thing here. If YRCW has enough money to try to purchase ABF, and pay $250,000 a month for a man to oversee strategies looked at by YRCW's board, then they have enough to contribute to the pension fund.
Thanks, TDU, for keeping us up to speed on key freight issues.
Local 407, Cleveland
May 24, 2013: Contract negotiations started on a high note. UPS was making record profits. When the company demanded healthcare concessions, it was standing room only at Teamster rallies.
Members were ready to fight for their healthcare. But our International Union wasn't.
Angry members who feel blindsided on healthcare are organizing a Vote No movement in many areas.
They are passing out leaflets, talking in break rooms, wearing Vote No T-shirts, and have a "Vote No on UPS Contract" Facebook page.
They are gunning to shoot down the national contract and some supplements too.
If history is any guide, the contract will certainly go down in locals where members are organized and taking coordinated action.
That's what happened last time. The national contract passed with 65 percent of the vote. But it was rejected in numerous locals where TDUers and other reformers got active—including in New York Local 804 where members rejected their supplement by a three-to-one vote.
By voting no, Local 804 members saved 25-and-out pensions. They kept organizing and took back their union in the next local election. And they just negotiated the best supplement in the country.
Rank-and-file organizing can pay off—but there are few quick fixes.
If we want to win lasting changes, we've got to be organized.
TDU is the only independent movement that brings Teamsters together in our locals and across the country to rebuild union power.
Take the first step toward winning better contracts and standing up to UPS. Join TDU. Meet other active Teamsters and learn proven strategies for getting members involved and rebuilding union power.
"If it wasn't for TDU, we wouldn't have known the facts about the contract. Without TDU, we'd just be going along with the program and getting taken for a ride. Instead we're organizing members to defend our healthcare and fight for what we deserve from this company. We're proud to be building TDU at UPS in Philadelphia and across the country."
Nathan "Jumbo" Daniels
Local 623, Philadelphia
2013 TDU Convention
November 1-3, 2013, Chicago
At the TDU convention, Teamster reform leaders, labor educators and legal experts will be on hand to lead trainings on everything from grievance handling and member-to-member organizing, to running for local office and confronting new challenges facing our labor movement.
Three days of the best workshops and skills trainings for Teamsters who want to learn how to take on the boss—and win.
Don't be left in the dark. Stay informed on the latest developments on pensions, defending healthcare, and inside the labor movement.
REBUILDING UNION POWER
Join Teamsters from across the country and every jurisdiction who are taking action to stand up to employers and rebuild our union's power.
I'll Be There!
"The TDU Convention is where the next generation of Teamster leaders meet up with our movement's veterans to share strategies and get the skills we need to organize a strong union.
"I've been to 12 Conventions, and I'll be there again this year with my fellow Teamsters to get the education and organization we need to rebuild our union's power."
Gilbert Clark, UPS, Local 688, St. Louis
Register by October 7 and save $25.
Click here to register or call TDU at 313-842-2600.
July 10, 2013: Recruit five new members to TDU by Oct. 1 and we'll waive your registration fee to the 2013 TDU Convention.
TDU recruitment makes everything we do possible.
Imagine what we could do with even more members. Can you help make it happen?
Click here to download a form to take the TDU Recruitment Challenge or call TDU at 313-842-2600 to get membership applications and recruitment materials.
Recruit five members at the normal rate, or 10 part-timers. Be sure to write your name as the sponsor on each new membership card. Return the filled-out cards on the right and dues payments to: TDU, P.O. Box 10128, Detroit, Mich. 48210.
TDU membership is kept confidential. TDU solicits and accepts membership applications and donations only from Teamsters, retired Teamsters and spouses who are not employers.
Meet Teamsters who are making a difference and arm yourself with information at the TDU Rank-and-File Convention, Nov. 1-3 at the Chicago Holiday Inn O'Hare.
Take the TDU Recruitment Challenge and we'll wave your registration fee. Click here to learn more.
Ask the Experts
Workshops at the TDU Convention are led by Teamster leaders, labor experts, and attorneys. Learn more about grievances, safety, arbitration, pension rights, organizing and more.
Get the tools you need to build a stronger union in workshops on enforcing our contracts, defending our benefits, getting members involved, advanced grievance handling, running for local union office, and much more.
Meet Teamster stewards and members to compare what works. Special meetings for public sector, freight, UPS, rail, UPS freight, warehouse, bus drivers, and more. Plus caucus meetings for African Americans, Latinos, and women Teamsters.
We'll Be There!
Unity and Inspiration
"At the TDU convention you realize you're not alone. You meet Teamsters from every industry and every place who care about standing up for working people and building a stronger union."
Claudette Begin, Local 2010, Berkeley, Calif.
Welcome Back to Chicago
"The TDU Convention is the place to be to network with others Teamsters and share strategies for standing up to management and enforcing our contract."
Craig Karnia, Local 705, Chicago
Plan to Protect Our Pensions
"TDU is taking the lead in bringing Teamsters and retirees to fight to save our pensions. Meet the Teamsters who are stepping up to the plate and find out how you can help defend your retirement."
Michael Savwoir, Local 41, St. Louis
An Educated Teamster is a Strong Teamster
"TDU provides the best union education hands down. I came to the Convention frustrated with how weak my local was becoming. I left with tools I could immediately put to work to start to turn things around."
Stephen Mohan, Local 584, New York
The Convention will begin on Friday at 1PM and end Sunday at 3:30PM.
All events will be held at the Chicago Holiday Inn O'Hare (5615 North Cumberland Avenue).
All rooms must be reserved directly through TDU.
Call TDU at (313) 842-2600 or use the link below to register today.
Join TDUers in Providence, other Teamster members, stewards and officers, as well as labor educators and experts, for a day of training and education.
- Legal Rights of Union Members
- Using Grievances to Protect Members from Unfair Discipline
- Winning a Better Contract at Rhode Island Hospital
- Uniting Labor and the Community for Workers' Rights
Guest Speakers: Sandy Pope, President Teamsters Local 805; Ken Paff, National Organizer of TDU; and Julian Gonzalez, Labor Attorney.
Southern New England Labor Education Conference
Saturday, May 4
10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
First Unitarian Church
1 Benevolent St.
First Unitarian Church is located on the corner of Benefit St. and Benevolent St. in Providence, RI. Click here to see a map.
Questions? Want to register? Send us a message or RSVP, or call Matt Taibi at 401-935-1663.
Download a leaflet and registration form for the event.
April 9, 2013: "We're just like human machines," TDU member Phil Richards told the Los Angeles Times. "But with machines, they don't care whether you feel good, or if you're having a bad day."
High unemployment rates from the economic recession are excuses for employers to undervalue and exploit their workforces, because there are thousands of people waiting for a job. Technology is being used by management to monitor the workforce 24/7 looking for any way to discipline or fire their employees. Production quotas are through the roof, and harassment is at an all-time high.
There is a growing movement of workers who are saying enough is enough. TDU members are an important part of this movement and have been featured in a Los Angeles Times two-part series, The Tougher Workplace, on how technology and global competition are changing the workplace. (Part 1 and Part 2)
Matt Taibi, a long-time employee of UPS and member of Local 251 in Providence, R.I., explained that, "There's more and more push towards doing more with less workers. There are more stops, more packages, more pickups. What's happening is that we're stretched to our limits and beyond."
Phil Richards, of Local 630 in Los Angeles, recalls a time when he had pride in his job at Unified Grocers, who have implemented automation technology to cut back their workforce and use the savings to increase management salaries.
Rather than enjoy his job, Richards says his day consists of being harassed to work quicker with fewer employees. "We're just like human machines," said Richards. "But with machines, they don't care whether you feel good, or if you're having a bad day."
Join Matt and Phil and become a member of TDU. We are rebuilding union power and fighting back against this war on workers.
March 25, 2013: Eight hundred Teamsters packed their union hall in East Providence to vote on changes to give Local 251 members more rights.
Members were there to vote on amendments to the Local 251 bylaws that would give members the right to elect their shop stewards and contract negotiating committees and to vote on increases in officer salaries.
These democratic changes were put forward by the rank-and-file movement 251 United Action. Local 251 officials opposed the changes and campaigned against them vigorously.
More than 800 Teamsters turned out to vote—more than twice as many members as can fit in the union hall. Members in the packed hall voted and then the hall was emptied and refilled to capacity for a second vote.
Local 251 United Action won fair voting by secret ballot and won the right to observe the vote count.
When the ballots were counted, a majority of members had voted in favor of each and every reform.
"This is an amazing victory for Local 251 members and for Teamster democracy," said Nick Williams, a Teamster at Rhode Island Hospital. "Our union meetings used to have 50 or 60 people sometimes. To see 800 Teamsters get involved is tremendous. The more that members are involved in the Local, the stronger our Union will be."
The Local 251 Bylaws will not be changed because a two-thirds majority is required to amend the bylaws. But 251 United Action members say they've made history.
"Members won a victory before the ballots were even counted," said Paul Santos, a Rhode Island Hospital Teamster. "We used to feel like we had no voice in our union. We've proven the majority of members want change."
Although the bylaws were not officially amended, the Local 251 Executive Board have the power to implement the reforms and respect the will of the majority of the members. (Members aren't holding their breath while they wait for that to happen though!)
"The members have spoken and they'll have a chance to speak again in the election for Local 251 officers this fall," said Matt Taibi, a UPS Teamster. "And we won't need a two-thirds majority to win the election."
At the insistence of 251 United Action, the bylaws vote was conducted by secret ballot and both sides had the right to observe every step of the voting process.
"There's a lot of intimidation and scare tactics in our union, but those days are coming to an end," said Matt Maini, a UPS Teamster. "Members see that we can speak up and we can make the union respect our democratic rights. The days of 'Sit down and shut up' or 'You're lucky you have a job' are over."
"We were never given a chance to be part of our union before," Maria Pacheco, a Rhode Island Hospital Teamster, said "251 United Action and TDU give me hope that our union can belong to the members and make a difference for us at Rhode Island Hospital and for every Local 251 member."
March 15, 2013: The International Union has kept a tight lid on the bargaining goals for the UPS, ABF and UPS Freight agreements.
Keeping members in the dark doesn't win better contracts.
Union leaders have two choices when it comes to communicating with members at contract time.
The Hoffa administration's strategy has been to keep members in the dark. UPSers call it the Information Brownout. But it's not limited to UPS.
Teamsters at ABF and UPS Freight are also being shut out when it comes to meaningful information about the union’s bargaining goals.
It hasn't always been this way. The Teamsters won labor's biggest contract victory in decades in 1997 by running a year-long campaign that mobilized UPS Teamsters around a clear set of contract goals:
- improving Teamster pensions
- stopping a company takeover of our pensions
- winning more full-time jobs
- raising part-time wages, including a $1 wage bump to close the gap between part-time and full-time pay
UPS Teamsters knew what our union was fighting for and that built the unity we needed to win on each of these contract demands.
The Hoffa administration has turned the '97 formula inside out.
Members and even local union officers have been told next to nothing about the union's bargaining goals at UPS, ABF and UPS Freight.
The limited information that Hoffa and Ken Hall release focuses on the company’s concessionary demands. That makes it easier to declare victory when the givebacks come off the table.
Hoffa and Hall don't inform members to build the union's bargaining leverage; they do it to sell contracts after the deal has already been cut.
Fortunately, members can do something about it.
TDU members fought for and won important contract rights for all Teamsters, including the right to an informed vote, majority rule on contracts, and the right to vote on our supplements.
You've got these rights. Use them. Join with other Teamsters who are mobilizing against givebacks and standing up for better contracts.
Membership Rights at Contract Time
Teamster members do have power and democratic rights when it comes to voting on their contracts.
It was not always this way. But Teamster members united through TDU to win key rights at contract time.
TDU won the Right to a Majority Vote on Teamster Contracts
Teamster members have the right to vote on their contracts by majority rule.
This might seem like a no-brainer. But before 1987, it took a two-thirds vote to reject a contract.
That meant that employers could force through a bad contract if it was approved by just 33 percent of the members.
In 1985, the International Union imposed the National Master Freight Agreement after 64 percent of the members voted no! The International Union also forced through a national UPS contract that 52 percent of the members rejected.
TDU launched a national campaign and we went to court. In 1987, we won the Right to Majority Rule on contracts.
TDU won the Right to a Fair and Informed Contract Vote
Teamster members have the right to see the entire wording of all changes to their contract and supplement before a vote—thanks to TDU.
In 1984, the International Union secretly renegotiated the national UPS contract—behind the backs of the members and local officers too!
TDU went to court and overturned the secret deal in the precedent-setting Bauman v. Presser case. The judge ordered the ballots impounded.
And Teamsters won the right for every Teamster to cast a fair and informed vote in all contracts.
TDU won the Right to Vote on all Supplements and Riders
Teamster members have the Right to Vote on their supplements and riders. Members have used this right to defeat contract givebacks.
UPS Teamsters voted to reject 18 supplements and riders this year. As a result, they’ve defeated some of the TeamCare healthcare cuts and are continuing to organize to protect their healthcare and win improvements in their supplements.
Teamsters did not used to have this right. That gave employers a tool to force through unpopular concessions in supplements.
TDU fought back. We wrote an amendment to the Teamster Constitution. We coordinated with local unions in Pennsylvania to submit an amendment to the Teamster Constitution. And we won the Right to Vote on supplements at the 1991 Teamster Convention.