July 15, 2011: Carhaulers are voting on a new contract. The future of union carhaul is on the line.
In July carhaulers are voting by mail on a proposed new 51-month contract, which would expire on July 31, 2015. It is in large part a continuation of the current contract.
The proposed contract deal was reached on May 31. Wage increases are small: 30¢-30¢-35¢-40¢, so real wages will almost certainly fall behind the rate of inflation. But thankfully there are no monetary concessions.
The benefit language is left open-ended: the agreement provides that the employers must pay enough to maintain current benefits. The Central States Fund has a new rule that does not require any increases in contributions for the carhaul contract. Some increases to the health and welfare funds will be needed to maintain current benefits.
At the Detroit Local 299 meeting on the contract, some members questioned why there is no change in Article 22 (“new business”), which allows for reducing the contract mileage rate on some traffic.
Local 299 Jack Cooper driver Paul Kubal told us that “Article 22 should have been eliminated or reworked. It’s there to give the companies a chance to win back traffic from the nonunion carriers by offering half-rate on those loads. They’ve ended up abusing the language to play games with what they call ‘new business’ and that’s affected Teamster paychecks. That’s why I’m voting no and asking others to do the same.”
Whatever happens with the contract, there are big questions about where the industry is headed. Allied, which has been the largest carrier, is greatly reduced and it is not clear if it will make it for the long term.
Jack Cooper, the carrier which took over most of the GM work when Allied stopped hauling it in March, is struggling to get enough trucks to handle the work. Allied refuses to sell any of its parked equipment to Cooper.
Jack Cooper has also explored buying United Road, a major nonunion operator, but that deal appears to be off the table, at least for now. There is new language in the proposed contract that would allow the union’s national committee to approve the contract terms covering newly acquired operations such as this.
The future of union carhaul is on the line. Carhaulers are looking to the International Union for a strategy to use this opportunity to expand the union sector and protect jobs. Members have not gotten the leadership or even the communication that they deserve.
July 15, 2011: On July 6, ABF won a round in their court battle to win concessions equal to those given to YRC, but they are still not expected to prevail in the lawsuit.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the district court judge erred in tossing out ABF’s suit for lack of standing, and must consider the merit. So ABF gets to go back to the district court for a do-over, but that does not address the merits of their case.
ABF now has to show that the Teamsters Union had no right to give YRC concessions without granting them to ABF. That may prove to be impossible. ABF withdrew from the employers’ joint bargaining group prior to the last contract.
ABF Teamsters rejected concessions negotiated by the Hoffa administration in May of 2010.
July 15, 2011: Sandy Pope officially accepted nomination for General President in a speech to the Teamster Convention on July 1. Teamster Voice brings you excerpts below.
I am the president of Local 805 in New York City. We’re a small local—but we fight big. And we defend Teamster jobs.
When corporate real estate developers and the mayor announced they were going to close the Red Hook Piers in Brooklyn, I led a three-year campaign to save Teamster jobs. We mobilized. We built alliances with unions and community groups. And we won!
We beat City Hall. We kept the piers open. And we saved hundreds of union jobs.
This is just one example. But it drives home a bigger point. If we’re going to win the War on Workers, it’s going to take more than one-time rallies and photo ops.
When I’m General President, members will not be used as props for the Teamster Magazine. Members will be mobilized to win.
Hoffa doesn’t have a plan for Teamster Power at our largest, most profitable employer. UPS is on track to make record profits this year. But Teamster members at UPS are getting hammered.
Excessive overtime is out of control. Clerk, air driver and full-time jobs are being eliminated. Production harassment is RELENTLESS.
Hoffa is letting UPS walk all over the contract. The grievance panels are broken.
Saying YES to Teamster Power starts with saying NO to contract violations.
Protecting Teamster Pensions
Good pensions are the foundation of Teamster power. It’s the General President’s job to protect this foundation through good times and bad.
Hoffa has failed this critical test. Worse, Hoffa has mortgaged our future by letting employers walk away from the Central States Fund.
In this economy, Teamsters don’t expect pension miracles. They want and deserve a plan to protect their retirement.
Under my leadership, Local 805 won 25 & Out for the first time. When times got tough, I didn’t let employers walk away from our funds. I negotiated record increases in employer contributions.
When stock market losses forced us to temporarily suspend early retirement benefits, I won protections to guarantee 25 & Out for every member within five years of retirement.
Teamsters in the Central States and Freight Teamsters everywhere wish Hoffa had won these protections.
Sandy Pope: Teamster Bio
I joined the Teamsters Union 33 years ago. Early on, I experienced Teamster power in action that changed my life.
I was in Canton, Ohio when Teamster steelhaulers voted to strike rather than accept a substandard contract. Waves of Teamsters poured out of their union hall to hit the pavement, stop every steelhaul truck and shut the industry down.
I spent the next month working in their strike headquarters. When the dust was settled, Teamster steelhaulers had won a record contract.
That was Teamster power! It wasn’t declared in a press release. It was built by Teamster members standing shoulder to shoulder.
After the strike, I went to work in the freight industry. My handle was Troublemaker—and I earned it. I cut my teeth on picket lines and in organizing drives. Later, I came off the truck to organize full-time for Local 407.
In the 1990s I served our union as an International Representative—helping locals bargain contracts and take on the nonunion competition.
I’ve been through many campaigns since I joined the Teamsters in 1978. But I have never forgotten the lesson taught to me by those steelhaulers and freight Teamsters in Cleveland—that Teamster power comes from members in action.
Hoffa: A Career Union Politician
Hoffa doesn’t get it. He says, “The Hoffa name means power.” That’s a campaign slogan—NOT a strategy. Hoffa didn’t come up through the ranks. He’s a career union politician who rode into office on his father’s last name and on the shoulders of other Teamster leaders.
And that’s why Hoffa is so threatened by Teamster members and by local officers who have their own ideas.
Where I see Teamsters, I see leadership and power. Hoffa sees a threat to his job.
Organizing the Nonunion Competition
We need to organize the nonunion competition to protect our existing contracts.
I will increase funding to local unions that have a strategic plan for organizing. I will put more IBT organizers in the field assigned to help locals.
I will take the politics out of organizing. The per capita paid to the IBT is the members’ money. It should not be dangled as a political carrot—or used as a stick.
Rebuilding Teamster Power in Freight
When I started, freight was the heart and soul of Teamster Power. Hoffa has driven our union over a cliff in the freight industry.
Rebuilding the National Master Freight Agreement won’t be easy. It will take a long-term action plan and long-term commitment.
That has to start today with enforcing our standards—and fighting for real union standards at UPS Freight.
When freight Teamsters believe in our union again, then we’ll be able to organize.
Political Action that Works
It’s a tough political climate for organizing—and for the labor movement.
Politicians from both parties have let us down on the Employee Free Choice Act. The right of FedEx workers to organize. Pension protection. Fair Trade. The list goes on.
As General President, I will stop writing blank checks to corporate politicians who forget all about us as soon as the ballots are counted.
We will use Teamster political action funds to educate and mobilize members and our allies to elect pro-labor politicians—and to hold them accountable.
How We’ll Win this Election
If you want new leadership and a new direction in the Teamsters, I need more than your vote. I need you to get involved.
We’re going to win this election the same way we’re going to rebuild our union’s power—by organizing Teamster to Teamster.
I will go to Teamster shops day and night across North America. I need you to reach out to Teamsters where you live.
Get the tools you need from our website. Share the information. talk to other Teamsters. Contact my campaign.
The future is ours to win. Let's do it together.
July 15, 2011: Across our union, members are spreading the word about Sandy Pope and our campaign for new Teamster leadership.
Orange County, Calif.
“When Sandy Pope came to southern California, we scheduled three days of total campaigning in grocery, freight, UPS, dairy, and mass transit,” said Chuck Robinson, a member of Local 952 at Albertson’s (right).
“Members have been hearing a lot about her campaign, and they really appreciated getting to meet Sandy and ask her questions.”
“We bought a bunch of Sandy Pope t-shirts and we’re wearing them every week to show our support,” said Susan Bell, a Local 641 Teamster at the Elizabeth, N.J. YRC terminal.
“I’ve also gone to other Teamster worksites in New Jersey to tell other members about Sandy Pope. She’s walked in our shoes. She knows what we’re going through.”
“Old Hoffa supporters are telling me they’re now checking out Sandy Pope’s campaign,” says Rosemary Stedronsky (above, center), a part-timer in Local 63 at the Ontario UPS hub.
“We haven’t won them over yet. But they’re not happy with our last contract and they’re impressed with Sandy Pope’s experience and her new ideas.”
Members show their support for Sandy Pope’s campaign at the Memphis UPS building (above).In July, concerned Teamsters are campaigning at worksites in Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Cookeville, and more.
“I’ve been passing out Sandy Pope campaign literature at UPS facilities in Akron, Middleburg Heights, Highland Heights, and Boardman, Ohio. One thing is obvious: UPS rank-and-filers are itching for change,” says Michael Carano, a UPS package car driver in Local 348.
“Hoffa supporters are few and far between. It is up to each of us to get out in the trenches and tell our brothers and sisters just who it is who will deliver—Sandy Pope, our next General President.”
“The campaign is getting exciting now! I’ve been out talking to Teamsters in Florida and Georgia,” says Mike Schaffer, a YRC road driver in Miami Local 769. “I just finished handing out leaflets to dockworkers on lunch in Lake Park, Georgia. Every day is an opportunity to do something positive for the campaign.”
“I met up with six campaign volunteers from other locals to hit the UPS barn in Allentown. They were very upbeat, it was great to have them there,” said Local 773 member Patricia Depietro.
“Members are frustrated, but we collected about 90 names and email addresses in just one morning.”
July 15, 2011: Hoffa lost his first running mate when Tom Keegel declined to run for reelection. At the Convention, the Hoffa Campaign nominated two Secretary-Treasurer candidates. What gives?
Union slates usually put their strongest candidate at the top. But Hoffa is the least popular candidate on his team.
Hoffa got paranoid that Fred Gegare would pull his S-T candidate, which would leave Hall unopposed and his name off the ballot.
Hoffa is desperate to keep Ken Hall’s name on the ballot. Maybe he’s afraid of having to debate Sandy Pope instead of sending Hall as his stand-in.
Ghost candidate aside, the next Secretary-Treasurer of the Teamsters Union will be Ken Hall. This election is about choosing the General President. Sandy Pope is the superior choice.
“Everything with Hoffa is a big show. The convention was all smoke and mirrors.
“But when you pull the curtain back, all’s not well within the Teamsters.
“Teamster members know the reality and want serious change.”
Bill Zimmerman Nabisco, Local 206 President, Portland, Ore.
Facing Teamster Reality
“There were a lot of good speeches and fanfare at the convention. But now we’re back home facing Teamster reality.
“That means giving members an action plan they can believe in and be a part of. It means showing results that start to turn our union around.”
Butch Lewis, President Local 100, Cincinnati
Too Much Happy Talk
“If you sat there in Vegas and heard the speeches, you would think we were kicking butt at YRC. Come on! “We need more than happy talk. Working Teamsters need real leaders who have a plan for enforcing our contracts and the will to make it happen.”
John Lattanzio, YRC Local 690, Spokane
A Hoffa Rally
“The convention was more like a campaign rally for Hoffa. It was full of pomp and circumstance.
“It was my first convention so it was very enlightening to see. But it was disappointing because we really didn’t tackle the issues Teamsters face in much depth.”
Vicky Kloos Local 320, Minnesota Public Sector
July 15, 2011: With all of the violations happening at UPS, you would think our union’s biggest contract would have been a hot topic at the recent Teamster Convention.
But during the entire five-day Teamster Convention in Las Vegas, only one delegate got to speak on UPS issues from the convention floor: shop steward and TDU member David Thornsberry of Teamsters Local 89 in Louisville.
Brother Thornsberry was also the only convention delegate to have the microphone cut off by the chair while he was speaking.
Thornsberry rose to speak during a debate on a resolution entitled, “The Fight to Preserve Jobs and Standards.” Secretary-Treasurer Tom Keegel said Thornsberry was “not on the subject” and shut off his microphone.
Thornsberry’s remarks are printed in their entirety here. (Source: Proceedings 28th Convention International Brotherhood of Teamsters.)
Remarks on the Resolution ‘The Fight to Preserve Jobs and Standards’
I’m a UPS package car driver from Local 89 in Louisville, Kentucky.
[Chorus of boos.]
I am a 24-year Teamster and a union steward and a proud Sandy Pope delegate.
[Applause and boos.]
I rise to speak in favor of this resolution. I walked the picket line in 1997 in our historic strike. We said Part-Time America Won’t Work and we meant it. Because of that historic strike, we won 20,000 new full-time jobs at UPS.
The company has been eliminating these jobs. There are missing 22.3 jobs and displaced 22.3 workers at UPS in my Bluegrass facility.
22.3 Teamsters and their families are hurting.
This is a good resolution. I support it.
We had a good Teamster slogan at UPS. I believe in it: “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.”
Brother Hall, Brother Hoffa: Now is “the right time” to enforce the language in our contract.
David Thornsberry Local 89, Louisville, Ky.
July 28, 2011: In early June, 5,000 United Airline mechanics voted down their proposed tentative agreement. Now they are looking at how to get a bigger voice in our Teamsters Union.
Whether they voted Yes or No on the contract, airline Teamsters want our union to be a powerful force for workers in their industry.
They want the right to elect their negotiating team. They want real communication between the leadership and the rank and file. They want an airline division with the staff and the vision to back them up in bargaining, and to mobilize members to win a good contract.
United Airline Teamsters are joining with other airline Teamsters to back Sandy Pope for Teamster president.
Greg Sullivan, a United mechanic in San Francisco and a Local 986 chief steward, said, “Sandy Pope has the vision, the smarts and the program we need. She’s not afraid to involve the members in decisions and in mobilizing for a good contract.”
Sandy Pope is reaching out to airline Teamsters in various crafts and at various carriers.
If you are an airline Teamster who wants to learn more about the Sandy Pope campaign, call (718) 282-0282 or visit www.SandyPope2011.org.
“Sandy Pope has the vision, the smarts and the program we need. She’s not afraid to involve the members in decisions and in mobilizing for a good contract.”
Greg Sullivan, United Airlines Mechanic Local 986, San Francisco Airport
July 15, 2011: UPS management is so confident of their cozy relationship with IBT President James Hoffa that they are crowing about it to industry executives.
UPS CEO Scott Davis told a gathering of CEOs and financial analysts on June 1 that, “The relationship with the Teamsters is better than it’s ever been before.” (Stanford C. Bernstein 27th Strategic Decisions Conference, 06/01/2011).
“That is just about as close as any labor negotiator says to ‘I love you,’” Traffic World magazine reported after similar remarks in 2000 by a top UPS negotiator.
In 2000, Traffic World declared that, “UPS is enjoying a love fest with Hoffa.” Today, another industry publication, DC Velocity, reports that CEO Scott Davis is “happy with the way things are” and would like to negotiate the next contract with Hoffa.
Davis has good reason to be happy. The CEO made $10.7 million last year, a 72 percent hike over his total compensation for 2009. Davis’s pay has quadrupled since 2007.
Over the same period, the Hoffa administration has given Davis record contract givebacks and has turned a blind eye while management walks all over the contract.
Production harassment and 9.5 violations are at an all-time-high. Management has eliminated many of the 22.3 full-time jobs we went on strike to win in 1997.
We can’t afford to have management’s sweetheart negotiating our next contract.
Time to End the Love Affair
“When UPS management is happy with your union president, you know you’ve got a problem. The election for General President this fall is our chance to end UPS’s love affair with Hoffa for good.
“Sandy Pope is the tough negotiator we need. She’ll mobilize our union and stand up to the company.
Bob Slezak, Local 59, UPS, Cape Cod, Mass.
August 3, 2011: The minimum wage in Washington State is now $8.67 an hour according to Washington State Labor and Industries. That is 17 cents more than the starting rate for part-timers in the UPS contract.
In 1997, minimum wage was $5.15. Teamster General President Ron Carey and the members fought to raise the starting rate to $8.50. That’s 68 percent higher than the minimum wage at the time.
If we kept up with that equivalent, UPS starting wage would be $14.31—nearly $6 more than it is today and well above the minimum wage.
We have Teamsters who work the Spokane Hub who can’t afford gas to get to work because $8.67 times 17.5 hours a week minus the initiation fee and dues leaves almost nothing.
It’s damned hard to get these young guys to feel pride at being a Teamster when this is the kind of union welcome they get at the guard shack.
By Tim Hill, UPS Feeder Driver Local 690, Spokane, Wash.