January 26, 2007: In a recent statement on UPS national contract talks, IBT Parcel Division Director Ken Hall announced he would also continue bargaining with UPS Freight on a contract covering 125 employees at the Indianapolis terminal—the only UPS Freight barn represented by our union.
The outcome of the simultaneous contract talks will determine the future of benefits and contract standards for UPS and freight Teamsters alike for years to come.
- Will our union use our bargaining leverage at UPS to win the right to organize UPS Freight company-wide without interference from management?
u Will the UPS Freight contract protect Teamster standards—or will it undercut the UPS and National Master Freight agreements?
- Will we strengthen our benefits by including UPS Freight in our Teamster funds—or will Hoffa give in to UPS management’s designs to undermine our benefits and break out of the funds?
Our union leaders have sent mixed signals about where they stand. With the future on the line, Teamster members need to demand that our negotiators hold the line and protect our future.
Standing with Hall and Freight Director Tyson Johnson on the podium at the Teamster Convention, Hoffa announced, “A historic card-check agreement will soon bring 12,000 UPS Freight employees under IBT contract.”
Later it was revealed that the card-check agreement only covered 125 employees at one terminal, just one percent of the company’s workforce.
Now top Teamster officials are openly saying that UPS Freight Teamsters may be kept out of our union pension plans. Brad Slawson, General Secretary-Treasurer Tom Keegel’s right-hand man and an International rep in the Freight Division, announced at a union meeting that any contract with UPS Freight will probably not include the Central States Pension Plan.
If Slawson is right, that would be a disaster to Teamster efforts to reverse our benefit cuts. UPS Freight would add $180 million in contributions to Teamster pension plans every year—strengthening our benefits and protecting our funds for the future.
A UPS Freight contract that fails to include the Central States Pension, and other Teamster pension plans, should be rejected by the Freight Division and the IBT.
Organizing UPS Freight Wall to Wall
The simultaneous negotiations with UPS and UPS Freight increase our bargaining power and give us the leverage we need to win a company-wide contract at UPS Freight that meets or beats NMFA standards.
Yellow Roadway CEO Bill Zollars has already announced that any deal between the Teamsters and UPS Freight will “set precedent” for the National Master Freight Agreement. Zollars has also expressed interest in early bargaining. Translation: if our union settles short at UPS Freight, Yellow Roadway wants early talks to bargain the same concessions.
The UPS Freight contract will also set the standard for other nonunion freight competitors we need to organize. A weak UPS Freight agreement would also give UPS the incentive to siphon away work done by UPS feeder drivers.
The IBT needs to put the power of 215,000 UPS Teamsters behind the 125 Teamsters at UPS Freight.
UPS management is hungry to settle early. If our union is going to give UPS an early deal, we need to win a company-wide UPS Freight agreement that meets the standards set by the NMFA and UPS contracts, including strong Teamster benefits.
President Hoffa and our union negotiators need to make it clear to the company and to Teamster members that we will settle for nothing less. If and when he does, Teamster members need to get behind him in this fight.
January 26, 2007: Teamster negotiators have given UPS until just March 31 to negotiate an early agreement.
Now is the time to get involved and to stand strong and united.
Management wants an early deal. We’ve got to Make UPS Deliver or say no to an early settlement.
Our Teamsters National UPS negotiating Committee has scheduled seven weeks of intensive bargaining, beginning the week of Jan. 22, and given UPS until the end of March to reach agreement on an early contract.
UPS is the big dog of the trucking industry. With 215,000 Teamster employees and more than $4 billion in after-tax profits, Big Brown sets the bar for many Teamster contracts to follow, and will be the key to restoring our pensions and retiree healthcare.
No UPS contract has ever been more critical. It’s all on the line: our pension and health benefits; working conditions; organizing the nonunion competition; the future of of Teamster power.
The current six-year UPS contract doesn’t expire until Aug 1, 2008. But shippers and shareholders are pressuring UPS to reach an early settlement.
This gives us leverage—and we need to use it.
In 2002, UPS Teamsters were promised the “Best Contract Ever.” Instead, the contract left key problems at UPS unresolved and ushered in an era of benefit cuts for hundreds of thousands of Teamsters at UPS and beyond.
It’s time to make UPS and our union negotiators deliver the improvements Teamsters were promised five years ago.
So far, the union has said that UPS management has to pony up to secure members’ pension and health benefits for the future. The union has also put forward proposals to deal with excessive overtime, subcontracting, new technology, and the right to organize UPS Freight, Supply Chain Solutions, and other nonunion subsidiaries.
That’s a start. But our negotiators put forward a good initial package in 2002 also. When push came to shove, key issues were pulled. Members were kept in the dark and sold a weak deal that we’re still paying for today.
We can’t let that happen again.
UPS wants an early deal. We’ve got to make them pay for it. We have leverage, if we unite to use it. The company should only get an early settlement if we get what we need. Teamsters can Make UPS Deliver the contract we deserve.
January 26, 2007: UPS Teamsters have launched a rank-and-file campaign to “Make UPS Deliver” the contract that working Teamsters deserve.
“Our goal is to give UPS Teamsters a voice in these negotiations and to make sure that the company and our union negotiators deliver the contract we deserve,” said Michael Savwoir, a Local 41 feeder driver involved in the effort.
The UPS Negotiating Committee kicked off early bargaining in September and has scheduled seven weeks of intensive talks from January 22 to the end of March.
“We have no intention at this point of scheduling talks past the end of March,” said Ken Hall, the co-chair of our Negotiating Committee in an official statement on Jan. 17. “We expect the company to be prepared to negotiate so we can reach agreement on the issues by the end of March.”
Members Kept in the Dark
But despite the compressed timeline and the huge issues at stake, union negotiators have remained quiet about the issues at the table. UPS Teamsters have had little voice in these critical contract talks.
“This is our contract. We need to get involved and show management and our negotiators that we’re paying attention to the issues and we won’t settle short like we did the last contract,” said Darwin Moore, a steward from Local 243 in Detroit. “We’re asking UPS Teamsters who care about our future to get involved. Visit the website. Share your opinions. Pass out bulletins and spread the word.”
A website will soon be online at makeUPSdeliver.org where Teamsters can get information and post their comments and opinions. Bulletins can be downloaded there to distribute to UPS Teamsters. Flyers and updates are also available by calling TDU.
In 2002, UPS and the Teamsters settled early, two weeks before the contract expiration. UPSers were promised the “Best Contract Ever.” Instead, the contract resulted in the worst pension and benefit cuts in Teamster history.
That contract also left key problems unresolved like excessive overtime, subcontracting, supervisors working, low pay for part-timers and 22.3 workers, unfair job bidding procedures for combo jobs, and a growing nonunion sector at UPS to name a few.
This year, UPS management wants to settle a full year early to keep shippers and stockholders happy, preferably before their 100th Anniversary on August 28. This gives us leverage, and we need to use it.
The company should only get this early settlement if UPS Teamsters get what we need. The power to Vote No and reject an unacceptable offer and send our union and UPS back to the bargaining table gives us the power to win the contract we deserve.
For more information about the “Make UPS Deliver” campaign, visit www.makeUPSDeliver.org or contact TDU today.
Local 804 President and fund trustee Howie Redmond voted against the cuts, but never informed members that UPS management was seeking cuts.
“Local 804’s officers certainly knew we had a problem and that management wanted cuts. Why was that hidden from the members?” said Local 804 alternate steward Jim Reynolds. “Now they’re going to blame everyone but themselves. Respect and responsibility come from what is done, not what is said.”
“Local 804 officials have said ‘our pension is sacred’ so what’s happened is sacrilege,” Reynolds said.
The announcement was kept under wraps until Nov. 30, just after the Local 804 election and the International election. Could that be a coincidence?
Local 804 officers say the cuts affect them, too. True, but they don’t mention that they are covered by at least two pension plans plus a 401(k).
“Howie is on the national negotiating committee that right now is supposedly negotiating to protect our pensions. We’re always told how powerful he is,” Reynolds said. “But when our pensions were on the line, he and Hoffa and Hall came up empty-handed.”
“If Local 804 members want to reverse these cuts, we better stand up for ourselves and get involved,” Reynolds said. He suggests that members turn out in force for the union general meeting Sun., Dec. 17.
“The union plans to address pensions and healthcare first.”
IBT press release on UPS
early bargaining, Oct. 2, 2006
December 6, 2006: Less than two months after the IBT announced that it would “address pension and healthcare first” in UPS bargaining, the company imposed a 30 percent pension cut on thousands of UPS Teamsters in New York City (see article on page 3).
In pushing through the cuts over the objections of Local 804, management was testing our International negotiators.
Local 804 is one of our union’s largest UPS locals and, as the first local to win 25-and-out retirement, a symbol of top-notch Teamster benefits.
If the Hoffa administration was serious about protecting Teamster benefits through early bargaining, this was a place to make a stand. Instead, they took a pass and thousands more Teamsters took a pension cut.
It’s time to put reality to the promise to “address pensions and health care first.”
More Issues At Stake
Pensions are just the beginning. There are many other issues left unresolved in Hoffa’s “Best Contract Ever” that can’t be neglected again.
- Organizing UPS: We have to win the right to organize UPS Freight, without a union-busting campaign by management.
- Excessive Overtime: We have to win protections against unwanted excessive overtime, and make our jobs livable, so we can make it to retirement.
- Full-Time Jobs: We have to win more full-time jobs, at least 2,500 per year.
- Fairness for Inside Workers: We have to win justice and upgrade the wages of full-time insiders and combo jobs (22.3), and upgrade the miserable $8.50 part-time base wage.
These are issues that all UPS Teamsters can unite around to win.
December 6, 2006: The IBT election is over, and James Hoffa won the power to oversee the union’s bargaining with UPS. A centerpiece of Hoffa’s election strategy was to win big at UPS, our union’s largest employer. He didn’t. Despite outspending Leedham 10-1 and with 90 percent of local officials campaigning for him, Hoffa had to settle for no better than half of the UPS vote.
Tom Leedham won the majority of the UPS vote in the Central and Southern regions, with Hoffa winning a majority in the East and Western regions. Leedham won among the UPS Teamsters in many big locals, including New York, Chicago, Seattle, Cleveland, Atlanta, Houston, Portland, Charlotte, Cincinnati, St. Louis, New Orleans, Detroit, Nashville, Memphis, Des Moines, Columbus, Harrisburg, Pa. and a number of other cities and some states.
Hoffa won his share of big locals as well, but the point is that UPS Teamsters did not unite behind Hoffa as he hoped, but voted in large numbers for a new direction.
Hoffa has the opportunity to reach out to tens of thousands of UPS Teamsters who voted for Leedham, and tens of thousands more who declined to vote, by taking a unifying and aggressive approach to UPS bargaining. Now is the time.
What could unify our members? The kind of year-long contract campaign in 1997 that won the hearts of our members, the strike, and a break-through contract.
We have the power at UPS. The key to that power is a united, informed and active membership.
TDU will work hard to make this happen, and will get behind any leadership program that moves it forward.
December 5, 2005: In an historic win, our union has organized two FedEx Ground stations near Boston. Workers voted 22-8 for Teamster Local 25 at the two small stations.
Instead of recognizing the union and bargaining, FedEx intends to challenge the union victory at the NLRB and court, to drag it out. FedEx Ground drivers are contractors who buy their own trucks, but the NLRB has ruled that they are employees.
The union has lost most earlier organizing attempts at FedEx, so this victory could mark a positive trend. Organizing FedEx Ground (along with FedEx Freight and FedEx Express) is a long-term priority for Teamster strength. Local wins like this one can help spark a movement, but it will take a major commitment by the International Union to finish the job.
December 5, 2006: An academic study by three economists entitled “Corporate Political Contributions and Stock Returns” and reported in the New York Times indicates that in recent years UPS has donated PAC money to more Congressional candidates than any other corporation. UPS’s corporate PAC gave to 629 Congressional and Senate candidates from October 1999 to October 2004.
The study found that corporate buying of Congressional influence has a positive effect on stock price. It shows a statistical correlation between the number of candidates receiving money from a corporation, and increases in share value. It also indicates that corporations that spread their money around to many Congressional candidates get the most benefit.
December 5, 2006: UPS’s third-quarter after-tax profits rose to $1.04 billion, with strong growth in domestic and international shipments. Profit in the largest business line, domestic packages, rose 8.8 percent and international profits jumped 22 percent.
UPS reported only one weak spot: integration of Menlo Forwarding (UPS Cartage Services Inc.) and Overnite (UPS Freight).
UPS Bargaining Opens
November 4, 2006. Will the present International Union leadership fight for a good contract at UPS?
One bad sign is that they are already keeping contract information secret from the members. At the October contract proposal meeting they wouldn’t even let local officers leave with copies of the union’s proposals, which they promptly handed to management.
Fortunately, TDU has obtained copies of the both the union and employer non-monetary bargaining proposals.
There are not too many surprises in the union proposals. There are somewhat fewer proposals overall this time around, perhaps in line with Hoffa’s and management’s shared interest in settling quickly.
Proposals around perennial problems, like supervisors working and excessive overtime, are fairly predictable and attempt to patch up weak language. It is fine to beef up penalties for failure to release drivers who request “regular” work hours, but problems still exist if management just dumps the work on other drivers. Penalties need to be automatic (like double time after ten hours) and staffing levels and workloads need to be addressed.
Very disappointing is the lack of any card-check/neutrality proposal. In 2002 four pages were devoted to this issue. This time it is mentioned merely as an addendum to a proposal on subcontracting and does not address the need to obtain organizing rights at all other UPS divisions, not just for bargaining work being subcontracted. This critical demand needs to be added to our union bargaining program.
TDU has also obtained a copy of management’s initial bargaining demands. These, as with the union proposals, do not include any of the most important items: benefits, wages or full-time job creation. Nothing is included about their move against our pensions. In fact, the proposals are so skimpy that it is clear that management is not showing its real hand.
The UPS demands cover some ongoing back and forth on issues like supervisors working and subcontracting (only locals where subcontracting originated get to file over it). These are put in to counter union proposals.
They include a fair share of management nitpicking; for example, they are often up in arms about bereavement leave. There’s also one on bidding to another job and being disqualified (longer wait to qualify again) and one on bidding into feeder (must stay two years).
A couple of management proposals are based on recent events: they want to be able to adjust meal and break periods (a response to the big California wage and hours lawsuit now underway) and a demand that Teamsters give up the right to honor picket lines setup on highways (in response to the Pennsylvania Turnpike toll booth strike of a couple years ago).
The company is always interested in trying to further weaken innocent until proven guilty (they want the right to discharge a worker already under pending discharge if they have a second offense). Sadly, our union under the current leadership is ready to go along with this (innocent until proven guilty was largely eliminated in the freight contract).
There are some interesting changes proposed under “competition” (Article 26) and “emergency reopening”. Competition language has to do with new services or products and sets out a procedure (60 days notice, and if the parties disagree it goes to arbitration). Emergency reopening of the contract could be over any national law which increases the employer’s health care costs, or “any other event.” They like early bargaining so much they want the right to do it virtually whenever they want.
They also want the right to use a much weaker, watered down arbitration procedure in disputes over work and operations.
But the big bombs have yet to drop. For years, UPS has waged a campaign to eliminate union pensions. And the restoration and improvement of pension benefits is high on the list of member concerns going into this contract.
Also missing are any employer or union demands over wage rates, full-time job creation, or time off. Part-time new hire rates have been frozen for over two decades and real progress must be made on that and other fronts for any contract to receive membership support.
Click here for the UPS Union Proposals (Adobe Reader Required)
Click here for the UPS Employer Proposals (Adobe Reader Required)