January 3, 2011: Members from across our union our coming together to support Sandy Pope. Find out why.
“We gave concessions to help YRC survive but not to gut the contract. The company seems to think it has a green light to do whatever they want.
“We need leadership—not doormats. Hoffa has to go.”
Jim Crunkilton, YRC Local 40, Mansfield, Ohio
"Waste Management has a plan to weaken our union—and they’ve been putting it into practice.
“Hoffa doesn’t have a plan to fight back. He makes big promises but he won’t deliver.
“Sandy Pope is a leader who knows how to get results. She’s got my vote.”
Isidro Valdivia, Waste Management Local 396, Los Angeles
“UPS Teamsters are mad and are looking for solutions.
“With production speedup, excessive workloads, and diminishing job protection—and the 2013 contract just around the corner—Sandy Pope is our best hope to restore dignity and an equal playing field.”
Mike Carano, UPS Local 348, Akron, Ohio
“Petitioning for Sandy showed Teamsters want a change of direction for our union. We’re organizing a campaign committee to focus efforts in St. Louis. We’ll make a month by month plan to make sure Sandy’s message gets heard.
“We’ll be there for members to get more active in the campaign. We know a committed group of Teamsters can make a big difference in our union.”
Roziland Coleman, UPS, Local 688, St. Louis
“Hoffa made a lot of big promises when we joined the union. But he split our bargaining unit in San Francisco into two separate locals, so that we wouldn’t be able to have a real voice in our union.
“Sandy Pope will put our SFO members into one united local, so that we can make this union our own.”
Greg Sullivan, Local 986, United Airlines, San Francisco
“While UPS management has been cutting full-time jobs and violating our contract, Hoffa and Hall have been making excuses.
“We’ve got members laid-off and working split shifts, and part-timers who’ve been waiting for a full-time job for over a decade.
“The time for excuses is over. That’s why I’m supporting Sandy Pope.”
Mark O’Neal, UPS, Local 391, Greensboro
“We have been losing jobs every year and we can not get any help to stop it.
“We need someone who is motivated and willing to fight, and Mr. Hoffa just isn’t willing. He doesn’t care about the brothers and sisters losing their jobs, because he never was one of us! It’s just time for Mr. Hoffa to quit and let a true Teamster take over.”
Carl LeDonne, Construction, Local 341, Pittsburgh
“I’m sick and tired of Hoffa giving away our pensions and leaving members with no support.
“The time has come to send a message to our leaders at the top that we will not tolerate this anymore.
“We need to elect delegates to the Teamster Convention who will send a message from all members that we are taking our union back!”
Joe Konetz, Roundy’s, Local 200, Milwaukee
December 20, 2010: Our right to vote for top Teamster officers gives us the power to win a stronger union.
A lot of working people feel helpless in today’s economy. Fortunately, Teamster members don’t have to.
Unlike many workers, Teamsters have the power to do something to protect our jobs, our paychecks, our benefits, and our future.
We’re Teamsters—and our union can be a powerful force for fairness when we get our act together.
Our right to vote in this year’s International Union election gives us the ability to elect leaders who will put Teamster power to work for us.
The change we need is within our grasp. But it won’t happen by itself. It’s up to Teamster members to seize the moment.
It’s starting to happen. A thousand Teamster volunteers collected more than 50,000 signatures to make Sandy Pope an accredited candidate for General President.
It will take ten thousand Teamster volunteers to turn out the 175,000 votes we need to win when the ballots go out in October.
A volunteer army of 10,000 out of 1.4 million Teamsters. That’s an achievable goal.
Our future is up for grabs. Will you be on the sidelines or will you get involved? It’s up to us.
January 3, 2011: In early December, a bill was introduced in Congress that will escalate the attack on public employee pensions.
This little-noticed bill is a shot fired at the pensions of millions of American families.
In early December a bill was introduced in Congress that will escalate the attack on public employee pensions.
The Teamsters Union represents 200,000 public workers and we need to respond.
The bill, sponsored by Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif), would force states to report pension fund liabilities in the strictest possible way. A change in pension accounting may not seem significant, but the impact will be huge.
The legislation would dramatically increase state and municipal debt by forcing governments to exaggerate the money needed to finance public employee pensions. The goal of the legislation is to make public workers a target and increase pressure on governments to slash public employee benefits.
The legislation is even stricter than changes that helped undermine workers’ pensions in the private sector. States and municipalities who don’t comply would lose their ability to issue tax-exempt bonds. No city or state can function without issuing bonds.
This little-noticed bill is a shot fired at the pensions of millions of American families.
The Teamsters Union and the whole labor movement and our allies need to mount a campaign to defend workers’ pensions, including the 200,000 Teamsters who work for local and state governments.
Shredding the Safety Net
The safety net of pensions earned for a lifetime of work is being shredded. Too many workers are being forced into 401(k) plans, and many of those took a beating when the stock market tanked in 2008.
The corporate attack on pensions almost certainly contributed to the severity of the Great Recession and the slowness of the recovery. More people over 60 are working, and fewer people under 60 can find jobs. People who lost pensions are not spending, and thus consumer demand continues to slump.
We need to defend the pensions of public service workers: the hard-working people who repair our roads, protect our public safety, pick up our trash, bring us safe drinking water and operate our schools, parks, jails, and transit systems.
And we need a movement to defend their pensions, and to win pensions for all working Americans.
Time to Stand Up and Defend Good Pensions.
“Public employee pensions are next on the chopping block. The Teamsters Union needs to stand up and defend good pensions—in both the public and private sector.
“Under Hoffa, Teamster pensions are getting steamrolled. We need to stand up and defend our retirement security before it’s too late.”
Erik Jensen, University of Minnesota
Local 320, Minneapolis
Hoffa Won’t Do It.
We Have To.
“Public employees have taken wage freezes and lousy contracts to protect our benefits. Now our pensions are under attack.
“There are more than 20,000 public employees in Local 237 alone. We’re the biggest local in the Teamsters. Hoffa has never stood up for us. We need to stand up for ourselves.”
Vincent Lattimore, School Safety
Local 237, New York
December 20, 2010: Freight Teamsters have gotten little but bad news from their employers and from the Hoffa administration.
Now freight retirees in the West—and those soon to retire—are facing health cost increases of over 400 percent!
The Western Teamsters Welfare Trust (WTWT) is raising the cost of retiree health care for many retirees from approximately $125 to a whopping $725 per month per individual ($1,450 to include spouse coverage). Even those eligible to join an HMO will have to pony up to $511 per month (or $1,022 for spouse coverage).
A Dec. 6 letter spells it out: due to fewer active freight Teamsters in the fund, there is not enough money coming in to continue the retiree Pre-Funding Program. Teamsters will be hit with impossibly high costs. This situation of isolating freight retirees should never have been allowed to happen. In the Central States Health and Welfare Fund, retirees pay $200 ($400 for a couple) because the fund has a broader base of funding along with funding from active freight Teamsters.
IBT Sits Back
YRC Teamsters who retire early have lost two years of pension credits and many have lost their eligibility for 80-and-out (age plus service years), but at least they could look forward to affordable health care coverage. Now that is being ripped off.
Once again the union leadership sat back, allowed the situation get to the edge of a financial cliff, then told Teamsters there’s no choice but to slash benefits.
If James Hoffa, Tyson Johnson, Ken Hall and Randy Cammack were covered by this fund, you can bet your rent money that action would have been taken to address the situation. They all have free health care for life, paid by Teamster dues.
YRC Teamsters have given up tens of thousands of dollars of wages and more than that in pension credits to save their company and jobs. Now many are facing the impossibility of retiring, due to this escalation of health care costs.
December 20, 2010: Sandy Pope announced her campaign for General President on Oct. 10. Since then, she’s been taking her message to Teamsters across the country, listening to members concerns and addressing the issues.
Here are excerpts from what Sandy Pope has had to say at recent campaign meetings about where she stands on issues that matter to working Teamsters.
Close the Concessions Stand
“Hoffa gave concessions to UPS when the company was making record profits. That told every employer, ‘The concessions stand is open in the Teamsters Union.’ It’s time to send Corporate America a new message: The concessions stand is now closed. We’re done giving up and giving back.”
Enforce Our Contracts
“Winning strong contracts starts with holding the employers to the contracts they’ve already signed. The grievance panel system isn’t working for members or our union. It’s time for an overhaul.”
Put Union Power Before Union Politics
“Even my opponents will tell you that I work with everyone in this union. That won’t change because I’m a candidate and it won’t change when I’m General President.
“There is too much political b.s. in this union. To meet the challenges ahead of us, we need all hands on deck.
“If you want to stand up to the employers, then let’s stand together.”
Take On the Nonunion Competition
“The nonunion competition is eating us alive, nationally and at the local level. If we’re going to win good contracts and benefits, we can’t ignore the nonunion companies that are paying cut-rate wages and no benefits. We’ve got to take them on.
“Locals that put together a real organizing plan and dedicated organizing budget will get a rebate on their per capita payments so they can pay for organizing drives. We’re going to take the politics out of this. I don’t care who your local backed, if you’re behind organizing you’re going to get organizing funds to make it happen.”
Stand Up to UPS Management
“Hoffa gave UPS record givebacks in the last contract and has let management walk all over that agreement ever since.
“Production harassment, 9.5 violations, full-time job elimination, subcontracting, you name it. What Brown wants, Brown gets, because to Hoffa, UPS is a dues cash cow—plain and simple.
“UPS is making billions in profits. It’s time for national leadership that will unite our members and our locals and stand up for our contract and our future.”
Teamster Financial Reform
“Hoffa has given himself a raise every year, while eliminating International organizers and staff that we need to help members and locals stand up to employers.
“Teamster officers work hard and should be paid well for what they do. But last year, Hoffa paid himself more than $350,000. That’s an insult to Teamster members who are taking it on the chin. I’ll cut my salary and lead by example.”
No Blank Checks to Politicians
“We’ve got to stop writing blank checks to politicians who forget all about us.
“Instead of handing money over to politicians, we should use our political action funds to organize rallies, marches, phone banks and membership action that puts the heat on politicians.”
Bring Our Union Into 21st Century
“We need to put new technology to work for Teamster members.
“Teamsters who want to enforce our contract rights should have access to an online database of arbitration and grievance panel decisions.
“We’re taking on 21st Century employers with 20th Century tools. That’s got to change.”
Rebuild Union Power in Freight
“I started out as a freight Teamster when Teamster power meant something. Rebuilding that power starts with restoring our backbone.
“We need to rebuild the NMFA, build Teamster identity and power at UPS Freight, and give the nonunion competition a reason to join our union.”
“There is one candidate in this race who has reversed Teamster pension cuts—and that’s me.
“When the president of my local sided with employers and cut members’ accrual to zero, I teamed up with other members, ran for office and won. We filed a lawsuit against the employer trustees and increased members’ pension accrual.
“Like everyone, the Local 805 pension fund took major losses in the stock market crash. We’ve put together an action plan that is taking us, over time, to full funding. We’ve negotiated record increases in pension contributions.
“In this economy, Teamsters don’t expect pension miracles. They want—and deserve—a plan to rebuild our funds and protect our retirement security.”
December 20, 2010: YRC thinks our union will take pretty much anything management wants.
But members are pushing back.
Since YRCW got the concessions approved in the vote, they decided that YRC Teamsters and the Teamsters Union will take pretty much anything management wants. But Teamster members are pushing back.
“Most Teamsters were willing to vote yes to try to save the company and the job but we didn’t vote to work for free,” reports Glenn Nicodemus, a Holland line haul driver out of Ft. Wayne, Ind. “The company is using the MOU to do whatever they want and we can’t get any clarifying language out of the IBT.”
Breaking the Agreement
At the Copley, Ohio terminal, YRC decided to expand the concession agreement in terms of straight eight-hour bids. After members and Local 24 pushed back, the issue was put on hold—at least for now. The steward they fired over a nonexistent work stoppage is back to work.
In Chicago, Kansas City and elsewhere, YRC eliminated rail shuttle jobs, taking trailers to and from the rail yards, saying all that work would be done by road drivers under the one pick-up and delivery concession clause. Again, a push back from Teamster members has that situation held off, at least for now.
Then Holland management decided that they could have road drivers do drop-and-hook work at breakbulk terminals, although the concession agreement specifically prohibits this practice. They claim there is some difference between “distribution centers” and “breakbulks.” Even worse, they decided road drivers should perform this work for free, without going on the clock to be paid. This affects several Holland terminals in the Midwest.
Teamsters Demand Action
Once again, Teamsters and some locals demanded action from the International, and at least for now, the problem has been stopped.
As one YRC steward told us, “They signed this concession agreement, and it doesn’t seem like the International Union has much of an idea what it means, or how to enforce it. We gave the company a hell of a lot. It’s time for the Hoffa administration to demand that YRC live up to its obligations.”
We Won’t Work for Free
“Most Teamsters were willing to vote yes to try to save the company and the job but we didn’t vote to work for free.
“The company is using the MOU to do whatever they want and we can’t get any clarifying language out of the IBT.”
Glenn Nicodemus, Holland
Local 414, Ft. Wayne, Ind.
December 20, 2010: YRC Teamsters were asked to vote for massive concessions for nearly five years, and were offered one benefit: resumption of pension credits, at a smaller contribution rate.
The question now is: what pension credits will they get?
Members are entitled to know the answers, but so far, they’re not getting any. The Central States Pension Fund trustees met on Dec. 7-9, but didn’t bother to take up the issue.
As we go to press we have no information on what the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Fund will do. There are reports that the Western fund may refuse to give credits, and put the $1.75 per hour YRC pension contribution into a 401(k) type plan called the Pacific Coast Benefits Fund. That would be a tragic situation for YRC Teamsters in the West who are working to qualify for their 80-and-out (age plus service years) early retirement.
Why didn’t the Hoffa administration work out these pension issues before finalizing the deal?
January 18, 2011: We Would Never Do That, Swore Hoffa and Hall.
"Ken Paff argues the [Central States] pension plan is worth saving. He’s afraid, though, that the Teamsters may be willing to give it up to get UPS Freight employees, who are not unionized, into the Teamsters fold.
"However, the Teamsters say they have no intention of pursuing that strategy.
"‘It would be ludicrous for us to even consider trading away something in a 240,000-member contract in exchange for us getting 15,000 new members,’ said Ken Hall, co-chairman of the Teamsters UPS National Negotiating Committee."
Reprinted from the Aug. 28, 2007 issue of Traffic World:
One month after claiming they would never “even consider” trading givebacks to UPS to get UPS Freight , Ken Hall and James Hoffa did exactly that.
Hoffa and Hall let UPS pull 44,000 Teamsters out of the Teamster Central States Pension Fund, gave away the language that requires UPS to create more full-time jobs, and gave Brown a five-year freeze on the base wage of part-timers.
In exchange, they got the green light to organize UPS Freight under a substandard agreement.
Did Hoffa and Hall sell out Teamsters for their own political gain? Did they lie about it? Would they do it again?
You be the judge.
January 3, 2011: What should TDU be doing in 2011? We asked Frank Halstead, a co-chair of TDU’s International Steering Committee, the leadership body that was elected at the TDU Convention in November.
Teamster Voice: Why do we need TDU in 2011?
Hoffa and his administration have failed Teamsters in every possible way. They’re failing at the bargaining table. And then they’re failing to enforce the weak deals they negotiate.
They’re failing to involve the members in their own union, and help build a strong union for the future. They’re failing to organize.
TDU is the only organized group that members can seek help from when the leadership is failing them.
Voice: What is TDU’s job this year?
Change looks like active, informed members participating in their union. Fighting for better contracts. Enforcing the contracts they work under. Organizing nonunion workers. Being directly involved in all levels of our union.
TDU has the tools to help members get involved and make this change real. But many members aren’t aware of TDU’s existence, or they don’t know how helpful TDU can be.
Our job this year is to go out and talk to these members, listen to their issues, and help them get involved in our movement.
We’re doing that right now in Southern California, where our TDU chapter is sponsoring a new series of workshops in Spanish on legal rights in the union and writing and presenting grievances.
Voice: What will it take to win the election and get rid of Hoffa?
During the petition campaign, I heard more than ever before Teamsters saying that we need change.
If we’re going to win, we need to turn those feelings into action and organization. It’s going to take a grassroots army, going member to member and building support for Sandy.
That’s what TDU does best.
TDU can’t do it all on our own. We need to build big alliances and reach out to all Teamsters who see that we need new leadership.
But TDU gives us the tools to go out there and get the job done.
If we want to win this election, and get the good quality leadership we all deserve, then we need to talk to members about TDU and ask them to join.
December 20, 2010: Cincinnati members have voted for a new team to lead their local.
Butch Lewis, a Holland city driver and former candidate for International Vice President on the Tom Leedham slate, led his Teamsters First Slate to victory in Cincinnati Local 100. Lewis has been a steward, business agent and past officer in Local 100.
“The membership voted for change,” said Lewis.
“Our local represents everything from UPS to freight, manufacturing to bus drivers, construction to public sector. It’s our job to bring members together to win strong contracts and then make sure they get enforced.”
Support at UPS gave the ticket a big boost. UPSers Sam Bucalo (secretary-treasurer), Teresa Turner (trustee), and Dave Couch (recording secretary) led the slate’s efforts at UPS.
Ten of the eleven candidates for executive board and elected business rep on the Teamsters First slate won.
“We’re counting on Butch’s experience to help get this local moving in the right direction,” commented Rusty Monahon, a TDU activist and driver out of Holland.
We Will Bring Members Together
“The membership voted for change.
“Our local represents everything from UPS to freight, manufacturing to bus drivers, construction to public sector.
“It’s our job to bring members together to win strong contracts and then make sure they get enforced.”
Butch Lewis, President-Elect, Local 100, Cincinnati