April 2, 2010: Teamsters who believe in protecting our contracts and benefits are coming together for change.
If it seems like contract enforcement has never been weaker, you’re not imagining things.
The Hoffa administration has given up on standing up to the employers until the recession is over—at least.
Don’t take our word for it. International Union officials say so themselves.
Hoffa’s point man at UPS, Ken Hall, recently announced that “2009 was not the right time” to enforce the contract because of the economy.
That goes a long way toward explaining our union’s surrender at UPS, YRC, ABF, UPS Freight, carhaul and many other employers.
Hoffa Waves • Top Teamster at UPS says it's the "WRONG TIME" to enforce the contract
It’s not easy to make gains in a recession. But that doesn’t mean we have to give up the store.
Hoffa’s only answer to corporate America is go-along, get along. That’s not a strategy. It’s surrender.
Teamster members who believe in protecting our contracts, jobs and benefits are coming together for change.
TDU is our tool to share information, enforce our rights and take back our union. Stand up for your future. Join today.
April 2, 2010: The 2009 financial reports for Teamster locals, joint councils, conferences and the International Union are now available.
The International Union form, which is 432 pages long, shows some big cuts made:
- Representation spending is down by 15 percent.
- Political activity is down 43 percent
- Grants to locals and strike benefit expenditures are down, too.
But Hoffa took a raise. Last year his total compensation was $362,869. With members hit by wage cuts or freezes, pension cuts, and layoffs, do you think Hoffa could have at least frozen his salary?
To find out how to get a copies of the LM-2 forms, call TDU at (313) 842-2600, or go to www.TDU.org/lm2
April 9, 2010: Baltimore Teamsters have suffered some of the worst pension cuts in the country.
Turning that around won’t be easy. But members are coming together to fight for their rights.
In 2008, pension trustees in the largest fund in the local, the Local 355 Fund, blindsided members and cut their pension accrual to zero, freezing their pensions.
Those cuts affected members at UPS, Sysco, U.S. Foods, and many smaller employers.
Earlier this year, Local 355 members found out that the Local 355 Fund was heading into the Red Zone this April.
They are not the only ones with problems. Last year, Local 355 freight Teamsters, who are in a separate fund, found out officials were drastically cutting early retirement benefits.
Members Come Together
TDU members at UPS, New Penn, YRC, and Sysco responded by organizing a pension workshop.
They flew in pension attorney Ann Curry Thompson to explain how being in the Red Zone will affect members in the Local 355 Fund.
She also gave an update on the new pension legislation before Congress, and how it could help Teamsters in the Baltimore freight pension plan.
“The Local 355 Fund is going into the Red Zone, but it’s not time to panic,” said Ron Reinhardt, a Local 355 retiree who helps coordinate the Maryland TDU chapter.
“It is time for members to get together, pay attention, and get informed. That’s what we’re helping members do.”
Baltimore Teamsters have already shown that organizing works.
After trustees froze their pensions, hundreds of Teamsters signed petitions. Local 355 officials responded and unfroze the pension, restoring a small accrual.
Now that the Local 355 Fund is going into the Red Zone, Local 355 officials are prevented by federal law from cutting the accrual rate again.
At the pension meeting, members made plans to go back to their worksites and educate members about what they learned, contact members of Congress about the new pension legislation, request new pension information from the Local 355 fund, and keep building the Local 355 TDU chapter.
“Local 355 members have had some of the worst pension cuts in the country, hands down,” said Kenny Walker, a UPS Teamster, during the meeting.
“Turning that around won’t happen overnight. It starts when members get informed and organized.”
Change Starts When Members Get Informed
“Turning our pensions around won’t happen overnight.
“It starts when members get informed and organized.”
Kenny Walker, UPS Local 355, Baltimore
Members Want Info
“Unfortunately, our local leaders think it’s OK to keep members in the dark and spoon feed us information only when they see fit.
“We’ve taken matters into our own hands. I’ve been getting the word out at ABF, YRC, and of course New Penn. And we just held a very successful TDU education event.”
Doug Foltz, New Penn Local 355, Baltimore
April 2, 2010: As of the end of March, the International Union was meeting with ABF regarding a concessions proposal to present to ABF Teamsters. A meeting for freight local officers is set for April 19, perhaps to see a concession proposal before it goes to a vote of the members.
Freight Director Tyson Johnson has held some 25 conversations with ABF in the past year about their situation, and contends that concessions are needed to help the company stay healthy.
The International Union says any deal with ABF will include equality of sacrifice: salaried personnel, management and execs will take the same percentage cut that Teamsters take.
Many members and locals submitted important considerations to the International in March, including: no change in the pension; any concessions to be short-term, and contain a snap-back provision to return to full contract; full on-going disclosure of ABF’s finances and books; and noting that ABF is actually gaining market share and poised to make money when the economy improves.
A concession proposal will go to the members for a vote. The General Executive Board has taken action to override the separate Chicago Local 705 and Local 710 contracts and lump them into a national vote along with the locals in the national master contract. Due to prior litigation, TDU has won the right for independent member observers of the vote count.
ABF: Stop Crying, Give Us the Facts
“Nobody wants to give back a dime without more details on what ABF management is willing to sacrifice or give up on contract language.
“We need to learn from the YRC concessions and be sure that negotiations don’t just lead to a surrender to the company proposals.”
“ABF should be focusing on what they do well: quality trucking, not crying.”
Everette Cole, ABF, Local 728, Atlanta
April 2, 2010: On March 16 YRC filed its annual 10-K report with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
In that report, management made the startling claim that they can impose further concessions on Locals 705 and 710 without taking any vote.
Regarding Local 705 members, management states they continue to discuss with this unit the ratification of the full wage cut.
Who are they discussing it with? Hoffa? That would be news to Local 705 members.
Regarding Local 710 members, the SEC filing claims that management has “implemented the temporary pension contribution cessation” despite its rejection three times by the rank and file.
The most startling statement in their filing is that “The Company believes that it can impose all of the labor agreement modifications due to the merger of the unit with another larger bargaining unit [the national contract].”
So YRC management arrogantly claims they could unilaterally impose the full concessions on Local 710 (and presumably 705) members, but they are not doing so to get them to “consensually approve the modifications to avoid a labor dispute.”
Contract approval is an internal union matter. Did Hoffa give them the green light for this stand?
April 2, 2010: Sometimes shining a light on injustice wins a quick victory.
Just three days after TDU.org exposed a deal between YRC and the IBT to weaken the freight contract clause requiring the call-back of laid-off Teamsters, the deal was canceled.
In a management memo dated March 18 and headed “25% O/T methodology – not good news” Holland VP for Labor Relations Steve Blubaugh informed managers that they must return to the “old” (proper) way to calculate recall of laid-off Teamsters when overtime exceeds an average of 10 hours per week per active Teamster.
On March 15, TDU.org revealed a memo from YRC labor man Bob Jones which directed managers to implement a “recent agreement between the IBT and the company” that will “give the company greater latitude in O/T utilization without triggering recalls of laid-off Teamsters.”
YRC started to implement the new deal at some Ohio terminals and it would have gone national.
Article 5, Section 6 of the freight contract is enforced by many stewards and locals, and results in numerous laid-off Teamsters being recalled to get work and protect their family health benefits. If your steward and local are not monitoring this provision, you should start doing it.
The so-called “agreement between the IBT and the company” would have allowed employers to use excess overtime up to 90 hours a week over the aggregate limit, instead of the 50 specified in Article 5 of the contract, before triggering recalls.
It’s good news when we can stop a corrupt deal that would have kept more Teamsters on layoff.
April 2, 2010: YRC’s Reddaway regional subsidiary still has not been able to impose concessions on the Oregon and Washington locals, which have a regional contract. The International freight division has taken bargaining away from the locals; it’s not clear what is happening on it. On March 9, members decisively rejected the last offer.
The locals have filed a grievance over the refusal of Reddaway to pay its pension obligations, which continue under a contract extension.
April 2, 2010: The Hoffa administration says it’s “Not the right time” to enforce the UPS contract.
Hoffa administration officials offered plenty of excuses, but no action plans for contract enforcement, during a national conference call for UPS shop stewards.
Ken Hall, Hoffa’s point man at UPS, told stewards the IBT was doing a good job standing up to UPS at the national grievance panels. He blamed contract enforcement problems on members for failing to file good grievances—and on local officials for bringing cases with “no facts.”
On the critical issue of defending full-time 22.3 jobs, Hall said it’s “not the right time” to enforce the contract.
Hall addressed a series of issues where the International Union has come under fire for failing to stand up to UPS, including 22.3 full-time job elimination, 9.5 violations, and supervisors working.
Full-Time Job Elimination
The National Grievance Panel has not heard a single one of the hundreds of grievances filed on UPS’s elimination of 22.3 jobs. The contract requires UPS to maintain 20,000 full-time 22.3 jobs, but thousands of these positions are vacant or were never created in the first place.
Hall was unapologetic about the International Union’s inaction, saying “Quite frankly, 2009 was not the right time” to enforce Article 22.3. Apparently, 2010 is not the right time either. Our union didn’t take up any of the 22.3 grievances at the national panel in March.
Article 22.3 clearly requires UPS to maintain 20,000 full-time 22.3 jobs, and makes no exception for falling volume.
After the 1997 strike, the company refused to create 22.3 jobs. Our union took the issue to arbitration where the company relied on a sentence in the contract that declared the company’s obligations under Article 22.3 would be “null and void” if “there is a reduction in volume causing layoffs.”
UPS lost that arbitration. And the language about volume was eliminated from the contract in 2002. But Hall said the International Union won’t take action to protect 22.3 jobs until the economy turns around.
“Even though we think we’re right,” Hall said, “We don’t want to roll the dice” with an arbitrator. Meanwhile UPS continues to destroy full-time combo jobs.
9.5 & Sups Working
Addressing 9.5 violations, Hall blamed the lack of contract enforcement on Teamster members, saying “One of the problems that we’ve had with 9.5 is that while our members say the company is abusing it, we see very few grievances that make it to the national level.”
First, Hoffa and Hall watered down the 9.5 language to make it harder for members to file grievances. Now, they blame the lack of 9.5 grievances on the members.
Hall gave a similar response on supervisors working violations. He admitted the violations go “on all over the country,” but pinned responsibility on members for failing to file and properly document grievances. “In many cases sups work on a daily basis in a particular location and no one files a grievance about it,” Hall said.
No doubt this is a real problem. But what about the thousands of good grievances that are filed and are settled for dimes on the dollar?
Apparently it’s not Hall’s job to enforce the contract. It’s to pass the buck and blame the members!
Fewer Excuses, More Enforcement
Our contract can’t be enforced unless stewards and members document violations and file grievances. TDU publishes materials to help members do just that. From there, it’s up to our union leadership to take action.
It’s hard for members to enforce the contract when our officials are wringing their hands and passing the buck.
Management is walking all over our contract. UPS Teamsters need fewer excuses and more enforcement.
When Is the Right Time?
“Ken Hall says it’s not the right time to enforce Article 22.3 and save our full-time jobs. That’s easy for him to say.
“I took a $3 an hour pay cut when UPS eliminated my 22.3 job. Now I’m working a split shift at part-time wages.
“When my union asked me to strike in 1997, I didn’t ask if it was the right time. I picked up a picket sign and I hit the street.
“We need action, from the IBT, not excuses.”
Karen Berry, UPS, Local 767, Dallas
April 2, 2010: The Teamsters Union and UPS are backing legislation that would make it easier for FedEx workers to join our union.
For years FedEx has used its lobbying muscle to be classified as an airline. This puts FedEx under the Railway Labor Act, which makes it much harder for workers to organize.
Every other freight and parcel carrier—including UPS—is covered by the National Labor Relations Act.
The Teamsters and UPS are jointly backing legislation that would close the FedEx loophole. This reform was passed by the House last year as part of much broader legislation—the FAA Reauthorization Act. But the Senate version of the bill kept the FedEx loophole intact.
The differences now have to be worked out between the two houses of Congress.
Employees are paying the price for the FedEx loophole. FedEx workers are paid less per hour than comparable UPS Teamsters—and FedEx contributes much less an hour toward their benefits.
Closing the FedEx loophole will make it easier for FedEx workers to get the pay and benefits they deserve. It will also protect UPS Teamsters in contract negotiations where the company always points to the lower wages and benefits paid by the nonunion competition.
Our union needs to step up the grassroots pressure on politicians to pass this important legislation. Teamster members need to be ready to do our part.
April 5, 2010: IBT Vice President and Package Division Director Ken Hall says local officers and members are to blame for weak contract enforcement because they bring cases “with no facts.”
Here are five changes the International Union could adopt today to increase contract enforcement.
1. Stop Golfing with UPS management. Treat contract enforcement as work, not a vacation. Stop holding grievance panels at resorts. Ban golf outings between UPS brass and union representatives at the panels. You wouldn’t believe how much this still goes on.
2. Conduct a National Audit of 22.3 Jobs Elimination. The International Union doesn’t know how many of the 20,000 full-time 22.3 positions required by the contract are actually filled—or where the existing jobs are. Stop preaching about documenting violations and start doing it. Conduct a national audit of full-time 22.3 jobs by having every UPS local document the 22.3 jobs in their jurisdiction. Then use the evidence to take a national grievance to arbitration. Thousands of jobs have been lost. We can’t wait any longer.
3. Bargain Stronger 9.5 Protections. Instead of blaming members, make it easier to document and grieve 9.5 violations. Article 37 allows the 9.5 committee “to adopt guidelines to balance” the company’s needs with “an employee’s legitimate need to avoid excessive overtime.” UPS used this loophole to water down the 9.5 rules. It’s time to get some fair balance here.
4. Provide Enforcement Guidelines & Training. Print clear guidelines on how to document winning grievances. Launch a nationwide program with trainings for stewards and members in every UPS local.
5. Create an online database of grievance decisions for stewards and local officers. National and regional panel decisions should be available to local officers and stewards with case summaries and explanations for the decisions so we know how to document, prepare and win future cases.