Freight Teamsters: Don't Give Up, Step Up
January 3, 2014: Millionaires like Harry Wilson are getting rich off the concessions that are destroying good union jobs.
Our union should be leading the fight, but Hoffa Jr. is no Hoffa. He has turned his back on freight, UPS freight, carhaul, and trucking Teamsters.
Complaining in the break room won’t save our pensions or our union. But rank-and-file Teamsters standing together can take back our union.
In some locals, TDU members have defeated pension cuts, elected new leadership, and won better contracts. To take back the International union, we need a united movement.
Don’t give up, step up. Join TDU today.
Teamsters before us put their lives on the line to win what we have. $40 is a small investment to stop Hoffa Jr. from throwing it all away.
Hoffa-Hall and the Downsizing of the American Dream
January 3, 2014: The labor movement is launching a national effort to raise the minimum wage. But Teamster wages and benefits are bottoming out under Hoffa and Hall.
The labor movement is launching a national effort to raise the federal minimum wage to more than $10 an hour and to boost local and state minimum wages even higher.
In the meantime, Teamster wages are bottoming out under contracts negotiated by James Hoffa and Ken Hall.
Even under our largest contract for the most profitable Teamster employer, UPS, our wages are falling behind.
If UPS part-time wages had kept pace with inflation since 1982, the starting wage would be over $20 an hour today. Instead under the contract negotiated by Hoffa and Hall, many UPS part-timers will start at $10 an hour through 2018.
That’s less than the $10.10 an hour that is the target minimum wage under federal legislation that will be introduced this year.
Labor unions and community allies are campaigning for even higher minimum wages in many states and local areas. For example: new legislation just won in the two largest counties in Maryland and the District of Columbia will raise the minimum wage to $11.50—raising the pay of Teamsters hired at the Landover, Maryland UPS hub in the middle of the contract term.
Teamsters should not have to wait for minimum wage legislation in order to get a pay increase.
Other Teamsters are not at minimum wage, but their pay and standard of living is falling behind. Under Hoffa Sr., a Teamster job was a ticket to the middle class. Under Hoffa Jr, freight Teamsters have seen their pay and pensions gutted while tycoons like Hoffa appointee Harry Wilson have made millions off of the concessions at YRC.
Hoffa’s pay has ballooned to $367,864 since he took office. He’s not feeling any pinch or planning any fightback. That’s up to working Teamsters to do for ourselves and that is what TDU is all about.
TDU members will be there in the campaign to raise the minimum wage. We’ll also be organizing for living wages and against contract concessions in our own union.
Good pay, quality benefits, a secure pension and some power on the job. These aren’t supposed to be exclusive perks for top Teamster officials. In TDU, we’re working to rebuild a Teamsters Union that fights for a better future for every working Teamster.
TDU Moving Ahead In 2014
January 3, 2014: Teamsters head into 2014 with a full plate of challenges. Hoffa and Hall have spent 2013 doing nothing for Teamsters at UPS, UPS Freight, ABF and YRCW. Our pensions are under attack. Many of our local leaders are discouraging or burned out.
TDU members are working to make real changes in the direction of our union, starting in our shops and locals and right up to changing the IBT leadership.
Contact TDU to find out what you can do in your local or workplace to build a stronger Teamsters union.
Local Education Conferences
“We’re planning on holding a TDU educational conference in 2014. We’ve done them the last couple years and they’ve been a great way to get members together to talk about the problems we face and how we can make changes.They’re like a mini TDU Convention with workshops taught by Teamsters and labor educators. Part-timers from UPS are stepping up and getting involved and so are Teamsters from lots of different locals.
“Where there’s information, there’s unity and where there’s unity there is power.”
Local 804, New York
Distributing Teamster Voice
“Teamster Voice is a great newspaper for learning about what’s going on in our union. We passed out hundreds of copies over the course of the last few months and plan to do more in the coming year. It was a good tool to have for the contract fight at UPS but it is also great for learning about things like grievance handling, FMLA and other jurisdictions. Get a bundle, large or small, and help us inform and mobilize Teamster members as we build a stronger union.”
Local 344, Milwaukee
Running for Local Union Office
“Members are frustrated with the union. But they’re also hungry for change and we’re getting a great response so far.
“Our challenge is to organize that hunger into a force that can turn Local 237 around. We want to put the members first and restore confidence that Local 237 Teamsters can win.”
Local 237, New York
Raising Money to Support TDU
“TDU depends on financial support to keep our movement strong. In Chicago, our chapter plans to host a fundraiser in the spring of 2014. We invite our TDU members, friends from labor, and other movement activists. It’s a fun way to pass the hat and sustain TDU.”
Local 743, Chicago
Defending Our Pensions
“Congress plans to make changes to our pensions in 2014. We’re getting organized to defend our retirement security.
“We’re planning a meeting for March to learn more about proposed changes and prepare for how Teamsters can respond. Our goal is to get active and retired Teamsters united to send a strong message that we won’t stand for any cuts to what we’ve earned.”
Minnesota TDU Chapter
Freight Teamsters Deserve Leadership
January 3, 2014: It has been one of the biggest failures of leadership in Hoffa’s 15 years in office. YRCW Teamsters were mailed a ballot for a five-year contract extension, without the union leadership even bargaining for them.
Whatever the outcome fo the vote is, we know this for sure: the Hoffa-Hall leadership has abandoned freight Teamsters.
For 15 years they have done nothing to defend our union or to organize in freight, or in carhaul, or other trucking fields. They don’t have a strategy and don’t understand Teamster power. They have not organized; they have not defended the national master contracts or the members’ pensions.
Now they have refused to even bargain for YRC Teamsters. They have left members to fend for themselves.
They take better care of their hedge-fund friend Harry Wilson than they do the Teamsters at the center of Teamster power and Teamster history.
If you voted yes, or if you voted no, know this: Hoffa and Hall gotta go. We need a new direction in our union. The time to build a movement to make it happen is now.
We Need to Clean House
“Regardless of how you voted on the new round of givebacks, you know we didn’t get any real leadership out of Hoffa and the freight division. And we do need leadership if our union is going to survive in freight. We need to clean house at the top of our union.”
Don McClure, YRC, Local 728, Atlanta
What “Equal Sacrifice?”
“Upper management continues to take high salaries and annual bonuses. Terminal management is over staffed in many locations. Where are their cuts and so-called “equal sacrifice”? Welch and his buddies put it all on Zollars, but working Teamsters continue to see mismanagement and incompetence. Why should Teamsters have to pay for it?”
Jim Price, YRC, Local 107, Philadelphia
UPS Freight Teamsters: Fed up with Hoffa-Hall?
January 3, 2014: UPS Freight Teamsters have been attacked by their own union leadership in the worst way: the denial of the right to a fair vote.
The question is, what will you—and other Teamsters nationwide—do about it?
The Hoffa-Hall leadership has announced that they will not allow a mail ballot vote on the UPS Freight contract. For decades, this is how all contract votes have been done for UPS package, for freight, for carhaul, airlines, and others.
Instead they have announced they will hold meetings to sell the deal, and then vote right there.
What’s wrong with this picture? Members need time after hearing about the contract to talk it over, and cast an informed vote. And all members—including those who cannot get to a union meeting—deserve the right to vote. And they deserve a vote which can be easily monitored so that all members will accept the result as fair.
Teamster solidarity sent Hoffa and Hall back to UPS management with powerful leverage to win a fair contract. Hoffa and Hall turned their back on their own members for six months, then came up with a dirty trick against them.
If you are fed up with them, don’t just complain, do something about it. Join the growing network of UPS Freight Teamsters working together for change.
Hoffa’s Concessions Tycoon
January 3, 2014: Meet Harry Wilson. Hoffa appointed this Wall Street tycoon to the YRC Board of Directors. Now Wilson is making millions on the YRC concessions deal.
Hoffa appointee Harry Wilson has received, or stands to receive, as much as $15 million for dealing with distressed companies that bargain with the Teamsters since he was first tagged by James Hoffa to work on YRCW’s 2011 restructuring. This includes a $5.5 million bonus if YRC members approve the concessions and a bank deal is consummated.
Who is this man?
Wilson’s early career was with various hedge fund and private equity firms. He made it big on Wall Street and retired at age 36.
He entered government work, and served as a major player on the Auto Industry Task Force, working on the GM and Chrysler bankruptcy cases. Then Wilson, a Republican, went into politics. He unsuccessfully ran for Comptroller of New York State in 2010.
Soon after that political foray, Wilson formed MAEVA Advisors in 2011. MAEVA is a low-profile operation, with a one-page website (maevaadvisors.com) that lists nothing but a phone number and an email address.
Then he hooked up with the Hoffa administration.
On February 28, 2011, Hoffa announced that Wilson was joining the YRCW restructuring efforts on behalf of the Teamsters to “break the logjam between the company and the lenders’ group.” Wilson also had a role in the Hostess restructuring, with MAEVA reportedly receiving $200,000 per month over an extended period. In October 2013 MAEVA filed papers requesting payment of $3.5 million in the bankruptcy court in the case. If Hostess had survived, the company would have been required to pay MAEVA’s fees.
But YRCW was a bigger cash cow. Wilson’s initial YRCW work in early 2011 paid him $125,000 per month, plus a bonus of $1.5 million in July 2011. That was just weeks after Tyson Johnson excitedly told the Teamster Convention in Las Vegas of the YRCW restructuring, in which Hoffa named Wilson as an IBT appointee to YRCW's board. Sources claim that Wilson convinced his fellow board members to pay him an additional $1.5 million for his role in the restructuring, for a total payout of over $3 million for work that lasted only five months.
Wilson is paid $175,000 per year as a member of YRCW’s board.
During the November meeting of Teamster local officers in Dallas, YRCW’s CFO, Jamie Pierson, told the Teamster officials that they had evaluated various restructuring experts and determined that MAEVA was the best resource to lead the restructuring.
On February 1, 2013, the YRCW Board engaged fellow board member Wilson to lead a strategic initiative related to restructuring again the company’s deals with the banks. The engagement agreement (contained in SEC filings) explicitly states that the IBT approved of this arrangement! According to the contract Wilson is receiving $250,000 per month and is eligible to receive a completion bonus not to exceed $5.5 million if members approve the concessions and the deal is consummated. Wow.
It seems odd for a public corporate board to select one of the directors to function as the company’s investment banker. This is complicated by the fact that Wilson was appointed by the IBT in part to protect the interests of Teamster employees. But the deal he has engineered requires those Teamsters to accept new concessions. Add to that the extra $5.5 million Wilson has riding on the concession vote. That’s quite a web of potential conflicts.
One thing is certain: no concessions will be taken by Hoffa, Ken Hall, or their appointee, Harry Wilson.
Freight Teamsters: Don't Give Up. Step Up.
Millionaires like Harry Wilson are getting rich off the concessions that are destroying good union jobs. To take back the International Union, we need a united movement. Don't give up, step up.
Meet ORION: Telematics on Steroids
January 3, 2014: ORION takes more decision-making out of the hands of drivers and gives management another tool to harass UPS Teamsters.
UPS is implementing new technology, the Orion Solution. It’s telematics on steroids.
ORION takes EDD and makes it dynamic. Your package car is still loaded according to the PAS system. But ORION rearranges your EDD to tell you where to deliver and do pick-ups stop-by-stop based on the shortest mileage for the day.
As a result, you may never run your route the same way twice.
You might be told to deliver packages from you 8000 section before your 1000 one day and be told to do it a completely different way the next day.
Drivers report the kind of high jinks that come whenever UPS first introduces new technology. For example: being told to deliver on both sides of streets even if it’s a divided road that can’t be crossed or ORION directing you to a location that’s the wrong-way down a one-way street because it is the next closest stop in terms of raw mileage.
Some of these kinks will be ironed out over time. But ORION can never account for weather, closed roads, traffic, accidents, and other real-world conditions, including the fact that on many routes the driver has to get some bulk stops off early or they have no hope of being able to move in the truck.
If need be, drivers can break trace. But the company target is to have drivers on 85 percent trace.
ORION gives new powers to a company that is already abusing technology to monitor, harass, pressure, and discipline drivers.
Like Telematics, ORION gives a target time for each delivery. It also calculates how many miles you should drive each day based on the packages on your trucks.
Drivers who follow trace less than 85 percent of the time or who drive more miles than projected by ORION get called into the office and harassed.
Drivers need to protect themselves by working smart.
It’s a good idea to document your day with a Package Car Log Book, available from TDU. Use the log book to document weather, traffic, management orders, or other unusual circumstances that may affect your route.
If ORION is giving you instructions that make no sense, put the problem back on management and then work as directed. Make an entry in the remarks column like “directed by sup” so it is in your delivery records.
Remember, the targets set by ORION are NOT recognized by the contract. The only production standard recognized by the contract is “A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.” (Article 37)
The biggest disciplinary danger with ORION and other technology is termination for “dishonesty.”
Even though they knew ORION was on the way, the new contract negotiated by Hoffa and Hall still allows UPS to fire drivers based solely on information from technology in cases of “dishonesty.”
With no help from Hoffa and Hall, it’s up to drivers to avoid the technology trap. Work smart. Follow the methods. Don’t let UPS jam you up by taking a shortcut that management sometimes ignores or even encourages.
If you get called into the office to talk about your performance under ORION, take a shop steward and keep your answers simple.
Unless you remember a specific problem, don’t guess to explain a discrepancy. If you don’t remember just say so. Don’t get drawn into a management fishing expedition or make up an explanation and give management the opportunity to hit you with trumped up dishonesty charges.
UPS Tries to Impose Brownout on Facebook
January 3, 2014: UPS is claiming the right to discipline Teamsters based on company “Social Media Guidelines” that govern everything from online chat rooms and forums to blogs, and Facebook.
UPS says “Activities that violate the standards outlined in these guidelines can lead to disciplinary action, including job termination.”
But will management’s attempts to control what you post on Facebook lead to a face-plant for Big Brown?
The NLRB has thrown out employer social media policies that are overly broad and would prohibit or have a chilling effect on workers’ legal rights to discuss wages, working conditions, or union issues.
UPS’s guidelines, which are posted at UPSers.com, ban virtually any online speech on union or workplace issues and clearly violate the National Labor Relations Act.
The guidelines state that: Employees should “Follow company procedures for employee concerns” and “Publicizing your concerns through social media is not an effective or appropriate manner to get issues resolved.”
Elsewhere, the UPS guidelines say: “Social networks or other tools hosted outside of UPS’s protected Intranet environment should not be used for internal communication among fellow employees. It is fine for UPSers to disagree, but please don’t use your external blog or other online social media to air your differences in an inappropriate manner.”
As written, these guidelines illegally prohibit concerted activity by Teamsters and other employees that is protected by the National Labor Relations Act.
The company’s social media rules need to be thrown out and re-written in negotiations with our union.
UPS management can’t be happy at how effectively UPS Teamsters used Facebook to build rank-and-file opposition to the contract, but the company can’t put the technology genie back in the bottle.
That doesn’t mean that Teamsters can post anything they want to about UPS without consequences. You can be legally disciplined in some cases for what you post, even if it’s on your own time and on your personal Facebook page.
For more information on union member rights (and wrongs) on Facebook, read “Can the Boss Fire Me for Facebook?”
UPS Teamsters Look Ahead
January 3, 2014: UPS Teamsters speak out on the contract fight and how we can keep organizing for a stronger union and against corporate greed.
We’ve Got To Stand Up for Ourselves
“When our own Teamster leaders agreed to give healthcare cuts to UPS, I realized if we wanted someone to stand up for us, we needed to do it ourselves.
“I went to the Vote No page on Facebook. I met TDU members. I got involved.
“Our Supplement and Rider may be over, but we’re just getting started in Southern California. More people than ever are talking about TDU. We’re building a network of people who can answer members’ contract questions and help them enforce their rights.”
Lena Molina, Local 63
Air Hub, Ontario, Calif.
Rebuilding Local Union Power
“After a long and strenuous.battle, we won the best supplement we have seen in a long time even though some things.will never change like.the daily fight for the respect that we deserve and the fight to enforcing our contract. Our goal moving forward into 2014 is changing the “norm” for our part-timers and to continuing protecting the pension of the hard-working men and.women of UPS.”
Kioma Forero, Local 804, Preload, New York City
“Members took back our union in the Local 251 election. I’m coming off the package car and getting to work full-time enforcing the contract. It’s never easy taking on UPS but we’ll give it everything we have whether it’s 9.5, sups working, or protecting members from unfair discipline.”
Matt Maini, Local 251, Business Agent, Providence
Sharing Information for a Stronger Union
“I joined TDU during the contract negotiations because I was fed up with the information brownout.
“When you look at the Teamster magazine, there’s nothing about us. It’s just PR for Hoffa and Hall. My local’s website hasn’t been updated since 2012!
“Like anyone who wants to know what’s really going on, I turned to the TDU website.
“When Hoffa and Hall gave UPS concessions despite all those profits, I knew it was time to man up and do something.
“I joined TDU. I volunteered at the contract vote count. I attended a TDU education conference in New York and the TDU Convention in Chicago. I got elected to the TDU Steering Committee.
“I want to get more people involved and I want to build a stronger union. It’s up to us to step up and share information with other members.
“I’m going to get a bundle of 100 Teamster Voice and spread the word here in Dallas. It’s time for change.”
Ron Beard, Local 767
Feeder Driver, Dallas
Contract Was a Wake-Up Call for Me
“I was once told silence leads to consent. The contract behavior of the IBT leadership was a wake up call for me, and to remain silent would violate my own conscience.
“Many of us across the country have concluded that the current International leadership has lost touch with the members. They have no plan, no vision.
“We need a vision to organize the unorganized and build Teamster power, and we need to unite all Teamsters to take back our union. This starts with you, then to your local union hall. We are the Teamsters Union.”
Angelo P. Demma, Local 2785
Package Driver, Palo Alto, Calif.
Time to Defend Our Pensions
January 3, 2014: Major changes to federal pension laws will be considered by Congress in 2014. Teamster members, along with the AARP and the Pension Rights Center, are organizing to defend your right to your pension.
The National Coordinating Committee for Multi-Employer Plans (NCCMP), which includes the Central States Pension Fund along with many Teamster employers and some unions, is lobbying for a law which would allow already-earned pensions to be cut. Thomas Nyhan, the Director of the Central States Fund, was a star witness in Congressional hearings in favor of cutting existing pensions.
The NCCMP is now aiming to get their bill into Congress by summer, after the coalition to save pensions got it stalled last fall. The Pension Protection Act of 2006 has a sunset clause and will likely be renewed or changed in 2014.
The IBT announced in December that it was launching a campaign to defend Teamster pensions and promised retirement benefits, after Hoffa switched over to oppose the NCCMP stand. If Hoffa follows through on this pledge, it will boost our efforts. We need IBT resources to build a national mobilization in every local and in Washington DC to defend pensions.
Take Action to Save Our Pensions
- Learn about the attack on union pensions and the dangerous new bill to cut our pensions at www.tdu.org/pensions.
- Distribute the Protect Our Pensions petition and collect signatures.
- Organize a pension meeting with retirees and active Teamsters in your area—call TDU for help planning your meeting.
- Volunteer to participate in a delegation to visit Congress or local lawmakers.