May 27, 2011: Six full-time drivers broke free from their lower tier scale at the UPS-CSI terminal in Oak Creek, Wisc. when they won a back pay settlement totaling $21,695. In addition, four of them saw their hourly wage increase by an average of $2.50 per hour.
In February 2009, these members did not receive the scheduled wage increase under the Local 344 addendum to the national agreement. UPS-CSI insisted on following the inferior national contract language on wage progression.
A Slam Dunk, Delayed
“We thought we had a slam dunk when the company essentially wanted to rewrite the progression language on a settled contract,” noted Karl Gartung, the steward and long time TDU member. “Our Local 344 BA, Bill Carroll, went to bat for us and persistently pushed the grievance at every stage.”
But delays kicked in. First regionally, then nationally waiting for an arbitration date, and finally as the IBT small package division attempted to negotiate (?!) a settlement. Two years later, just prior to the arbitration hearing, members got their justice but still had to wait another two months to get all the money that was called for under the contract.
“It was great that these hard working Teamsters finally got the money they were owed,” commented Gartung. “We stuck with it and it paid off in the end. But it’s a shame they had to wait this long on a clear contract violation. We have to find ways to step up the pace on contract enforcement.”
These Teamsters got some justice by their persistence and help from their local. But they also showed how weak the national leadership and grievance procedure can be, even when management blatantly violates the contract.
Getting What They Deserve
“It’s great that these hard-working members are finally getting the money they were owed. We stuck with it and it paid off in the end.
Karl Gartung, UPS CSI Steward
Local 344, Milwaukee
UPDATED MAY 26, 2011: Local 82 members have bounced a top Hoffa appointee and his number one thug from our union.
Their charges vindicated, they have one more goal: saving their local union and returning it to the members.
Hoffa’s former Trade Show Division Director has been officially bounced from the Teamsters. John Perry has signed an agreement with the Independent Review Board, agreeing to a lifetime ban from the Teamsters.
Perry, the former principal officer of Local 82, was Hoffa’s highest-ranked appointee in New England.
For years, Local 82 members courageously took on Perry who rigged contract votes, colluded with nonunion employers, and put a violent convicted criminal, Joseph “Jo Jo” Burhoe, in charge of doling out Teamster trade shows jobs to friends and relatives and other supporters of the Perry regime.
When he wasn’t running scams with employers, Burhoe served as Perry’s muscle. He beat one Perry critic unconscious, sending him to the hospital.
Members reported each of these crimes against our union directly to the International Union. But Hoffa stood by his man.
After Perry sent a letter to a Local 82 member threatening him with being “put in a trunk of a car, having your ribs broken and being hospitalized for freedom of speech,” Hoffa sent the same member a letter stating: “The International Union does not have agents in the Boston area to provide protection to you or your family and does not have the capacity to investigate all of your numerous complaints.”
In fact, Hoffa did have such an agent in Boston: John Perry, the man behind the threats.
Hoffa: ‘TDU was right’
Now Hoffa has been forced to admit that members and TDU were reporting the truth.
A hearing panel appointed by the International Union confirmed that contracts were improperly voted, jobs were steered to family friends and political allies of Perry and his enforcer, union funds were embezzled and spent without proper authorization, and other violations in 34 pages of findings, available here.
The entire former Executive Board of Local 82 has been banned from holding any office or job with Local 82 or any Teamster affiliate. They maintain the right of membership.
Burhoe, the convicted bank robber and FBI informant who protected Perry, has been banned from the Teamsters Union for life. Perry himself has agreed to a lifetime ban.
Local 82 is currently under International Union trusteeship. Local 82 members deserve the right to democratically run the affairs of their own local, not to have it merged out of existence, as some in the Hoffa administration would like to see happen.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union fought for, and won, the right of members to democratically vote over any proposed merger of their local union. Teamster members have used this right to stop politically-motivated mergers in the past.
Local 82 members have taken action and cleaned up their local. The future of Local 82 belongs to its membership.
Update—May 26, 2011: The enforcer for Hoffa's ousted Trade Show Division Director is is back working Teamster trade shows, this time for management!
Joseph "Jo Jo" Burhoe received a lifetime ban from the IBT for illegally working for Local 82 and running crooked hiring schemes in the Trade Show industry.
Under the ban, Burhoe is barred from knowing association with Teamster members. But Burhoe has been spotted working at trade shows supervising Teamsters for Demers Exposition Services.
Members have made the International Union and Hoffa's appointed trustee Dennis Taylor aware of Burhoe's new role. No word yet on any action the IBT will take to protect Local 82 members.
May 20, 2011: Bus drivers in Vermont have a new contract thanks to a year-long rank-and-file campaign that reached out to the community.
Just hours before their strike deadline, Teamster bus drivers in Vermont won a contract that delivers on the key issues.
The victory is the result of a well-organized contract campaign which proved once again that the best way to avoid a strike is to be prepared to win one.
Offer Rejected 52 to 6
Local 597 members overwhelming rejected a contract offer from the Chittenden County Transit Authority by a vote of 52 to 6. The rejected deal was agreed to by Local 597 officials behind the backs of the drivers’ elected bargaining committee.
The overwhelming contract rejection put CCTA management over a barrel. They had already publicly admitted that they would not be able to operate without the Teamster drivers.
And drivers had organized widespread public support thanks to early outreach to activists in other unions who organized a solidarity campaign.
The final contract talks lasted a grueling 10 hours. With a strike deadline looming, management caved in on drivers’ key issues.
- Protecting Full-Time Jobs: The new agreement provides the first-ever 40-hour guarantee for most full-time drivers. Management wanted to eliminate full-timers to 37½ hours a week.
- Scheduling Improvements: The new contract protects drivers from forced overtime and limits the spread time that drivers can be forced to work on a split shift.
- Ending Kangaroo Court Justice: The new contract includes language changes that will mean a more fair disciplinary procedure—including establishing the just cause principle, requiring progressive discipline, and establish a washout clause so management can’t keep old offenses hanging over drivers’ heads.
11th Hour Victory
The victory was won at the 11th hour but the successful contract campaign was anything but last minute.
Drivers held workshops with Teamsters for a Democratic Union a year in advance to begin preparing a contract campaign.
They organized a member-to-member communication network, built community support, organized rallies and a “Just Practicing” picket, and stood up to both management and their own local union officials.
We Stuck Together and Won!
“When members stick together, good things happen,” said TDU member Scott Ranney.
“When the no vote is 52 to 6, management and Local 597 officers had to stand up to take notice.”
May 20, 2011: Members have launched a campaign to reach 100,000 Teamster voters in June. Will you do your part?
Fed Up with Hoffa
“Teamsters in Memphis are fed up with Hoffa. It’s up to you and me to go out and tell members about why Sandy Pope is the best candidate.
“Now is the time to get the campaign rolling. We’ve set a goal of reaching 100,000 Teamsters.
“I know we can do it!”
Toni Jackson, UPS, Local 667, Memphis
Atlanta Backs Sandy Pope
“When Atlanta Teamsters met with Sandy, they got to see firsthand her years of experience in the truck and at the bargaining table.
“In Atlanta, we’re pulling out all the stops to get Sandy Pope’s name and message out—wearing Sandy T-shirts, raising money for campaign videos, taking the message Teamster-to-Teamster.”
Everette Cole, ABF, Local 728, Atlanta
“TDU brings together members who care about our union into a national network. If you want to elect Sandy Pope, we need you in TDU.
“With TDU’s help, we swept our delegate election. Now we’re continuing to build TDU and recruit new members in Local 690. Join today and let’s win this election.”
Tim Hill, UPS, Local 690, Spokane, Wash.