Can Management Play Favorites?
One of my co-workers was suspended for a customer complaint. Last month, our boss let another employee skate by for the same thing with just a verbal warning, because they like his numbers. What can we do to stop management from playing favorites?
— Never the Teacher’s Pet
Why Do They Hate TDU So Much?
I just found the TDU website. It’s got a lot of information! But my BA goes ballistic over TDU. He told me that TDU stands for “Too Dumb to Understand.” Why do they hate you guys?
— Not Sure in L.A.
When You Gotta Go...
I’m a package driver, and I’m often in areas where there aren’t adequate bathroom facilities.Management is threatening drivers with discipline if we go off our route to go to the bathroom. Do I have the right to pee?
— Holding It
Fooled' at Contract Vote
When our last contract was negotiated, the BA didn’t tell us the whole story. The local had a meeting where they just told us about the wages and a few other things. Months later, when we finally got a copy of the contract, we found new language that weakened our seniority rights. Isn’t this illegal?
–Won’t Be Fooled Again
Dear “Won’t Be Fooled,”
The IBT constitution requires a secret ballot vote on contracts, and federal law (the Landrum Griffin Act), requires a “fair and informed vote.” A verbal review of select improvements that leaves out important language changes falls short of that standard. I don’t blame you for having a beef.
The problem is that once the contract signed, it is likely legally binding even if it was not properly ratified. Even if you sued your union leaders, your employer would surely claim a valid, signed contract. When it comes to fair contract votes, it’s easier to prevent abuses than to correct them afterward.
To prevent this in the future, you need to talk to other members who “won’t be fooled again.” When the next contract talks begin, get signatures on a petition or group letter asking the local to take the proper steps to protect members right to a “fair and informed vote” by:
- providing advance notice of any contract ratification meeting;
- making the complete text of all changes available to members before any vote;
- providing members with time to review the changes, ask questions, and discuss the pros and cons before a secret ballot vote is held.
It’s up to us, the members, to enforce our right to a fair contract vote. For help, contact TDU.
Part-Time Pension Puzzle
I recently heard that some part-timers at UPS are in Teamster pension plans. As a part-timer I was in the company plan. After I went full-time, I didn’t get any credit toward my Teamster pension for my part-time years. After Central States announced the pension cuts, they said there are not enough active workers in the Fund. Then why aren’t the part-timers in the fund?
–UPSet at UPS
What you heard is true. UPS part-timers are in Teamster pension plans in two of our union’s biggest pension plans, the Western Conference and New England, and they are also in the Upstate NY Plan. This dates prior to1979, when UPS contracts were regional and local.
When part-timers are in the company plan, it’s lose-lose just like you said. When you go full-time, your part-time pension credit doesn’t follow you. The small pension that comes from part-time years isn’t much. Reciprocal benefits with Teamster plans help members qualify for 30 & Out—but the monetary value of our part-time years is pathetic. In areas where part-timers are in the Teamster plans, members get a much better deal.
The fact is most part-timers don’t qualify for any pension, because it takes five years of part-time work to vest in the UPS pension plan.
Where do their pension contributions go? Where part-timers are in the company plan, that money goes right into the company’s pocket. But in the West and the Northeast, it stays in the pension fund where it benefits other Teamsters.
If part-timers were in the Central States Fund, UPS would pay approximately $140 million more per year in pension contributions to the fund.
The result would be a stronger pension fund for everyone and pension credit for our part-time years. Win-win instead of lose-lose.
As part of the fight to reverse the pension cuts and restore the long-term health of our Teamster pension plans, we should be working to include all UPS part-timers in Teamster pension plans in the 2008 negotiations. If UPS can do it in 18 states, they can do it in 50 states.