Immediately after reaching a deal that ended last month's transit strike, some of BART's top managers were privately insisting they got the better end of the bargain. They claimed to be actually happy with the public perception that they caved in giving workers a 15.4 percent raise over four years.
From the Boston IWW
On the weekend of Nov. 16-17, the Boston IWW held two separate actions in Harvard Square to protest the Cambridge Police’s Nov. 14th attack on our legal picket at Insomnia Cookies, where the union is conducting an organizing drive. Cambridge cops swarmed our picket, assaulted and then arrested a Wobbly — supposedly for assaulting them! Our Fellow Worker was punched, thrown on a car trunk and then the ground, and pinned partially under a car before being dragged away. This was a totally unprovoked attack on a legal picket on a public sidewalk. IWW members and allies protested in Harvard Square on Friday Nov. 15, and returned on Saturday, Nov. 16, making the streets of Cambridge ring with our chants (“Cambridge PD / Stop the brutality!”), and letting community members know what local cops have been doing to suppress labor rights, civil liberties and free speech.
Guaranteed Extra Boards
I have been involved in the negotiations of many ATDA Agreements since 1987 and I have never reached an Agreement that provides that the extra board is not guaranteed. In fact, when I became a train dispatcher on the SP in 1981, I was on a guaranteed extra board. That was 32 years ago. Now someone suggests that the ATDA would regress over 30 years and make an agreement that the extra board would not be guaranteed? Well, that person is wrong.
The main purpose of the extra board is to be on call to fill the vacancies caused by vacation, illness and many other reasons. Those that are on the extra board have a quality of life that has a lot to be desired. The ATDA has been and is committed to bettering the quality of life for the extra board by enhancing the conditions under which extra board dispatchers work, some of which include:
· having a wage guarantee,· having assigned rest days,· having consecutive rest days,· having extra board positions considered regularly assigned positions,· having extra board positions bulletined and filled by seniority choice,· having extra board dispatchers referred to as Guaranteed Assigned Dispatchers (GADs)· having defined calling times (ie., two hours before the start of the shift),· having an exclusion that GADs are not required to be available for call before or after the call time,· having a provision that defines the different GAD zones,· having a restriction on the number of positions a GAD is required to learn,· having an exception that allows a GAD to learn more positions at his/her own choice,· having the GAD in the order of call for overtime service, and,· having a requirement that the GAD be paid off assignment when used off zone
While I may have forgotten something, the point is that we continuously strive to better the quality of life for all those we represent including those on the extra board.
I'm not sure how many decades have passed since "many union contracts that UP has negotiated for in the past that extra boards are not guaranteed" or what the credentials of the person is that made that statement. Regardless, the ATDA does not pattern its work rule negotiations after what other unions may or may not negotiate. As I have previously said, ATDA's negotiations are based on what the train dispatchers who will be covered by the agreement want and ultimately ratified. They are not based on what some other ATDA train dispatchers want, much less what some other union does or doesn't do.
The guaranteed extra board provisions of ATDA Agreements are written, binding contracts between the parties that requires the company to pay those on the guaranteed extra board at least 40 hours' pay each week regardless of the number of hours they work, as long as they are available for a call during the defined calling times. The company cannot work you two days a week and pay you only for the days you work. And, you are entitled to two rest days each week.
Why would we even suggest to the UP dispatchers something like a non-guaranteed extra board that would be so far inferior to what we have on other ATDA properties? Why would the UP dispatchers even consider ratifying such a thing? They wouldn't.
David W. Volz
American Train Dispatchers Association
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San Francisco transit officials are calling for a return to the bargaining table, saying an expensive provision was "erroneously" included in a labor contract that settled a union dispute that had caused two recent strikes.
Our condolences go out to Mr. López’ family, friends and colleagues. Nuestras condolencias a los familiares, compañeros de trabajo y amigos del señor López.
Oscar López Triviño was murdered on November 9 in the Colombian city of Bugalagrande a day after he and other members of his union, SINALTRAINAL, received death threats from paramilitaries.
The union had been on hunger strike at Nestlé since November 5. The IUF — the global union federation for food workers — has joined with the national center CUT and unions around the world in condemning this assassination of yet another Colombian trade unionist.
They have called on the government to swiftly bring the perpetrators and organizers of this crime to justice through a full and transparent investigation, and to provide all necessary security for other union members at high risk.
November 14, 2013: YRCW management is in talks with the IBT Freight Division over a five-year contract extension. On November 12, the IBT held a conference call of union officials, who overwhelmingly approved opening up the contract for the purpose of negotiating the extension as long as there were no new concessions.
YRCW CEO James Welch has made clear he is looking for fast action on extending the present contract terms until 2019. In addition, he has indicated he wants new contract language to curb absenteeism and increased, “flexibility.”
The November 12 IBT conference call was just one week after Welch made his case to Teamster locals officials in Dallas on the proposal, and distributed materials. Each local was supposed to meet with YRC members or survey them and then voice the members’ input on the conference call.
The IBT constitution requires a majority vote of approval by the 26,000 YRCW Teamsters for any contract extension. Members should have a chance to discuss and evaluate any proposal before it is mailed out for a vote. TDU will continue to post information as it become available.Issues: Freight
YRC CFO Jamie Pierson told Bloomberg that he did not expect to see negotiations completed before a Nov. 15 goal the company set when officials met with leaders of the Teamsters Nov. 5 in Dallas. YRC officials have said a deal must be completed soon in order for the Overland Park-based trucking company (Nasdaq: YRCW) to refinance before its debts begin to come due in February.
YRC formally acknowledged it is in “discussions” with the labor union that represents more than 25,000 of the company’s 32,000 employees but has not commented further on the situation. CEO James Welch did not take analysts’ questions on the subject during the company's quarterly earnings conference call.
Representatives of the Teamsters’ national office in Washington have also declined to comment on the negotiations.
YRC is seeking an extension or an amendment to its current contract with the Teamsters. The two parties current contract runs through March 2015. YRC has told the union it needs to extend the life of that contract into 2019. The company says an agreement is necessary for it to pay $1.4 billion in debts that were incurred under the watch of former CEO Bill Zollars which will come due in 2014 and 2015.
The existing labor agreement is based on three rounds of concessions the company and the union agreed on between 2008 and 2010. In those concessions, the union consented to a 15 percent cut in wages, suspension of pension payments and reduced vacation time for members. YRC began to make pension payments again in early 2012 at 25 percent of the rate paid in 2009.
The deal saves YRC an estimated $350 million in labor costs annually. It also gave the Teamster employees stock in the company and granted the labor union the right to nominate two members to the YRC board.Issues: Freight
The article mentioned was Sean's article from August 26th - which can be seen at http://trainsheet.blogspot.com/2013/08/do-you-actually-intend-to-support-this.html
I felt indeed a sense of great honor for an employee in the venerable successor to 1416 Dodge Street, to write under the august "name" of "E.H. Harriman," when posing some questions with regard to my article.
It was sadly interesting to see the same tired tactic of simply trying to plant the seeds of doubt and fear, but not being brave enough to even use his own name manifest itself. I have been struck with the way the lack-luster-anti-union "campaign" such as it is, seems to lack the courage and fortitude to honestly and openly debate topics of interest. The champions of the anti brigade seem to run on emotion and anger, and with much consternation refuse to engage in dialogue.
I am pleased to address "Mr. Harriman's" points , with his comments/questions/doubt sowing in italics:
I'll be nice and acknowledge the faults of upper management first.
Upper management has created a culture where merit and experience counts for very little. Nepotism is the law of the land at HDC, and it matters not what you know or how you perform, but who your mommy or daddy is and what position they hold at UPRR. The number of qualified applicants they pass over in favor of their children, spouses, friends, or other relatives is appalling, much like their failure to hold protected minority groups accountable for their actions. I feel as though women, people of a different skin color or sexual orientation, or anybody related to upper management, all receive passes to a certain degree whenever they screw up.
Since they don't have the intestinal fortitude to deal with certain “protected” dispatchers, what do they do? They burden everybody with tedious and stupid new rules and procedures completely UNNECESSARY for all but a few bad apples.
I must admit to being a little taken aback from your characterizations of the the Harriman. I believe they are doing the best they can, they are just unaware they are heading in the wrong direction. The collective bargaining process will help them make the Harriman a better place in general, the dispatchers to be taken better care of, and to insure fair and objective treatment for all.
This is about making things better. It is NOT about being anti UP or anti management. It is not about retaliation, but about progress toward better pay, benefits, and working conditions for the train dispatchers.
Relations with management will be just as toxic. Don't believe me? BNSF dispatchers have 29 cases pending arbitration through the ATDA. That's exceptionally high given the relatively low number of BNSF dispatchers.
Relations with management will only be toxic if management makes them that way. Do you mean to imply that the UP currently has a toxic relationship with 85% of its employees? (That is the number labor relations points out as being represented in the Collective Bargaining Process) Of course not, one only needs to peruse the Labor Relations website to see that they take a positive and professional attitude with dealing with non-agreement employees.
Your comment about the "relatively low number" of BNSF dispatchers is interesting. They are currently the largest group of train dispatchers represented by the ATDA and are comparable to the UP in terms of size.
I spoke with ATDA Vice President David Volz this morning to inquire about this and some other items you raised.
He advised that as of the last report he had, there were 72 cases on the BNSF that were somewhere in the arbitration process.
70 of those cases involved discipline, or the ATDA making sure that the due process rights of those where an allegation of a rules violation has been made are protected.
Only two involved a dispute over the application or interpretation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. This is anything but a "toxic" relationship between the BNSF and the ATDA.
He further shared that there are many good accomplishments on the BNSF from the Joint Leadership Team (JLT) which is a collaborative team made up of ATDA System ("local") officers and management from the dispatcher's office.
The following is a list of accomplishments from the collaborative Joint Leadership Team:
Below is a partial list of accomplishments since the 2008 version of the JLT started...
a. Shift specific days on Regular Relief jobs.
b. What happens when a temporary vacancy goes "no bidders", contained in a Letter of Understanding (LoU).
c. LoU about breaking in on jobs.
d. Standard Dispatcher Qualification Process (how many days allowed to break in on a job on each job in the office).
f. Skills classes
g. LoU - Probationary dispatchers will not train others.
h. LoU about how we break in on Relief jobs.
i. LoU about our exercise of seniority when returning from any absence of 5 or more days.
j. Settlement of $125,000 from the Company about our rights when we return from said absence.
k. LoU's about pay for being held off temporary and permanent vacancies-the time allowed to be held off without penalty, the amount of penalty, and how they are paid. We now get paid by putting the letters "HOT" or "HOP" on the sign-in sheets, we were required to file time-slips.
l. LoU establishing float vacation days after arbitration determination that Agreement did not support a claim for single-day vacation.
m. LoU defining Physical Displacement.
n. LoU establishing GR days and RD for GATDB dispatchers. Prior to this LoU, they were required to work their 2 days prior to vacation, and no guaranteed days off during work week.
o. Dispatchers allowed to use Sick Leave if EAP is needed, if they put themselves in EAP before an incident.
p. Electronic bidding of bulletins.
I can't say I'm surprised the topic of pay and healthcare comes up. I'm not opposed to periodic raises based on merit and cost of living. On the other hand, I'm disappointed you view this in the context of "$35,000 and $40,000 a year shift" in salary increases, also pointing out "that does not include time and a half work."
Greed is corrupting your thought process, Sean. You complain about having to work overtime as a salaried employee, but suddenly it's okay as long as you're being paid overtime for it? Either way it's more time at work and less time with family. No dollar amount is enough to replace the latter.
Ad hominem attacks are never professional "Mr. Harriman," particularly when coming from the perspective of one attempting to argue against the Union. The carrier's principle objection is that it will cost money - and where does the money go - to the Train Dispatchers.
I havent posed a double standard. I've never complained about working. I enjoy what I do, but I know that if we take this step I will make a lot more money than I currently am, by being paid in line with what is the normal framework of running a dispatching office in this industry. We are the only Class One train dispatchers doing business this way.
It's quite simple, my main responsibility is to look out for my family. I am given with an choice between two methods of compensation at work - the current non-agreement way or what is standard in the railroad industry - being represented. Being represented will mean $35,000 - $40,000 more per year for my family. Why would I choose to make less?
I'm no longer at HDC, but I spoke with one of your guys behind the organizing efforts. I asked him about healthcare, specifically the section of Obamacare outlining the so called "cadillac tax" for the most luxurious plans. He never heard of it. This is alarming for so many reasons. The very people encouraging others to vote YES do not have sufficient knowledge about why to vote yes. In case you haven't heard, labor unions are livid about this cadillac tax because it will very likely reduce their health insurance benefits down the road. The company will have to pay a 40% tax on healthcare plans valued over certain amounts - and they will use this as leverage at the bargaining table. You guys will have to take a cut in benefits, pay more out of pocket, or forego wage increases to preserve the same level of coverage.
It seems improbable that one of "your" (sic) guys had not heard of the "Cadillac tax."
This is what was included in the fax which we all as Train Dispatchers received on April 8, 2013:
What is the National Health and Welfare Plan?
This is the health insurance benefit enjoyed by the
railroad employees who fall under a collective
Is it Obamacare? Absolutely not! This healthcare
benefit is a collectively bargained agreementnegotiated by the ATDA as well as other laborunions who represent craft employees.Under Obamacare is this considered a CadillacPlan and will I have to pay more taxes for having
it? As the law reads now, yes it is considered a
Cadillac Plan but NO you will not pay higher taxes
for having this benefit. Per the current law, in 2018there may be a tax for such plans, but any such taxwill be paid by the company, not the employee.
As far as the labor unions being "livid" your comment does not indicate you understand the situation.
Of course, unions are in business to look out for their members, and if there was something on the horizon that may cost their members money they would, of course, be concerned.
The problem with your story is the health benefits in the National Plan can not be reduced because the company may be paying a tax on the Plan. The company may want to recoup some of that from the employees, but they can't unless the employees agree to it through the negotiating and ratification processes.
The National Plan costs the carriers about $2.5 billion per year now. Using your logic, wouldn't that give the company a leverage to shift more costs to the employees? But yet the company still pays that cost. You simply can not say that wage increases will have to be given up to maintain the current level of benefits.
I've heard all kinds of varying propaganda about what will happen to your pensions. Don't know who to believe. Factoring in future wage increases for the younger dispatchers, your pensions are going to be worth OVER A MILLION dollars if you stay with the company until retirement and live until 80. Don't be stupid and throw that away.
Two points come to mind here. No one is trowing away the Pension. What is a fact is that it becomes part of the negotiations. If you look at the Pension Website two things jump out: (1) that it is not guaranteed, and the UP reserves the right to discontinue or modify it at any time and (2) they point out it is not available to non-agreement employees UNLESS it is included in their Collective Bargaining agreement.
There are some ATDA represented dispatchers who choose in their contract to keep their carriers "Officer's" pension.
I sit close to a young dispatcher who is making around $76,000 a year. For his wage to go up to the $120,000+ range will make a far greater impact on his sum total of quality of life than waiting the 35 plus years for retirement to then hopefully cash in on a pension plan that is not guaranteed to exist.
All in all, I don't think you guys have the bargaining power you think you do. There's far too many people at headquarters and other locations with recent dispatching experience. I can tell you firsthand they are not very sympathetic to your plight and would gladly sit in your chair again should you guys decide to walk out.
I don't think you understand the process.
First, why do you think we will be walking out? Our expectation, if represented, would be for the carrier to negotiate in good faith. Are you suggesting that while now we are termed "valued members of the management team" that suddenly the carrier will be filled with vengeance and spite against the same group of employees they are currently "valuing?"
Second, let's say there is this Cecil B. Demille's cast of thousands ready to step in, and is as motivated as you say, and let's say that they have maintained their qualification to dispatch, (which they haven't), surely you are not suggesting that a solemn procession of Renzneberger Vans will unload a group of capable and functioning dispatchers who will just walk to desks and take up dispatching? Any even so, if this fictional story were to happen, do you think that all the rest of the labor organizations would not honor the walk out?
This is simply not a reasonable point made by you, and also is one that we should never reach. The impact of the train dispatchers is immediate, and their instantaneous integral necessity is obvious.
Another point about this feigned army of former dispatchers, "not very sympathetic to our plight." I understand the organizers have heard from a great number of them with two basic points they make.
First the compensation of the train dispatchers will be greater under the representation of the ATDA than they are making at HQ, so they are very interested in leaning about how they as a former Train Dispatcher can protect their seniority and preserve their right to return to dispatching should they either choose to do so, or their position become eliminated at HQ.
Us being represented gives the very people you allege to be "unsympathetic" great advantage and security, and the from the number contacting the organizers, they are quite hopeful we are successful.
I hope you guys make the right decision.
My hope is that each train dispatcher objectively answers the question, what is in the best financial interest of their family when making this choice. While choosing to be represented will cost more money for the carrier, they pointed out to the stock holders in the last election that even if it were to happen they did not see it impacting the stock price.
It is really a simply matter of the Train Dispatcher's being given a choice and deciding under which model they whish to work, and which model will be in their best interest.
I believe the choice is clear VOTE YES!
Full blog at www.trainsheet.blogspot.com
YRC Worldwide Inc. saw its third-quarter revenue increase by $15.9 million from the same quarter the previous year, and operating income dropped by $21.5 million during the same time period.
The Overland Park-based trucking company (Nasdaq: YRCW) brought in $1.253 billion in consolidated operating revenue in the quarter that ended on Sept. 30. That's up from $1.237 billion in the third quarter of 2013. Consolidated operating income was $5.8 million, down from $27.3 million reported in the same quarter last year.
The loss per share was $4.45, compared with a gain of 40 cents a share during the third quarter of 2012.
The report comes as YRC is asking members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to extend the two parties' current labor agreement for an additional five years. The current agreement runs through March 2015.
CEO James Welch has told leaders of the labor union that represents more than 25,000 of the company's 32,000 workers that the union needs to sign on to a new agreement soon for the company to be able to pay its $1.4 billion debt, which starts coming due early next year. If the union does not agree to an extension, the company could be staring down bankruptcy.
The current labor agreement is based on three rounds of concessions the company and the union agreed to between 2008 and 2010. In those concessions, the union consented to a 15 percent cut in wages, suspension of pension payments and reduced vacation time for members. YRC began to make pension payments again in early 2012 at 25 percent of the rate paid in 2009.
The deal saved YRC an estimated $350 million in labor costs annually. It also gave the company's Teamster employees stock and granted the union the right to nominate two members to the YRC board.Issues: Freight
Each week, GoLocal shines the spotlight on one individual who is making an impact on Rhode Island.
This week, GoLocal sat down with Teamsters organizer Nick Williams to talk about his current and future plans, in light of the opposition slate United Action taking the recent Local 251 elections.
Tell us about how you came become involved in the United Action movement here with the Teamsters.
It all started for me when I began working at my first Teamster job at Rhode Island Hospital 8 years ago. I was hired to work at the Lifespan Distribution Center, which was basically Lifespans warehouse that held all non-pharmaceutical supplies for the Hospital units. We had a supervisor there that was out of his depth. He was constantly breaking the contract, and we were constantly filing grievances. He was fired, and replaced by our Teamster Business Agent's Brother. Right then I knew something was really, really wrong with our union. They were obviously in bed with management. I tried to make an argument with HR and the Department Of Labor that there was a serious conflict of interest with our new Supervisor. They agreed, but said it was not illegal, so there was nothing they could do. Out of frustration, I went home and I googled "Teamsters Local 251 SUCKS." One of the entries that popped up, ironically was www.251unitedaction.org. It was a site run by a couple of guys that worked at UPS, which was another company that was contracted with Local 251. I reached out to them, met them for some coffee, and the rest is history.What are the three biggest issues facing the Teamsters, either locally, nationally, or both?
I think the biggest problem facing the teamsters locally has been a poorly run Local. The political power of Teamsters local 251 has been poorly wielded for so long, that endorsements are just given away and politicians are not being held accountable to their promises to the working class here in Rhode Island and in Mass. For instance, Teamsters local 251 is the bargaining entity for the 60 hard working Teamsters at the Fall River Department of Public Works, which is run by the City of Fall River. Recently, there was a heated Mayoral race, and the incumbent sought the Teamster endorsement. Well, the DPW workers have been working without a contract for several months leading up to the Mayoral race, and you would think the Leadership of 251 would use the leverage of an election to finally strike a deal in exchange for the endorsement. Nope. The incumbent was re-elected and the 60 Teamsters in Fall River are still without a contract, or uniforms, or the necessary safety gear. This is unacceptable, irresponsible, and one of the many reasons we NEEDED to make this change in local 251.
Nationally, our biggest problem is our image, and the inability of our National Leaders to emphasize the role of organized labor as it relates to rebuilding the Middle Class. There is plenty of information out there that clearly shows the correlation between shrinking Union membership, and the shrinking middle class. Even Business Insider recently published an article about how we need labor unions more now than ever. But before we can grow, we need strong leaders at the national level with the ability to nurture that growth and take us into the future. Currently, in my opinion, we do not have that leadership in place. But the essence of Democracy is not lost on our members, and I am hopeful that we will make the necessary changes at the national level in 2016.Take us through a day in your life.
Well, since the election, my focus has shifted from list building, organizing members, reaching out to other companies in the Local 251 umbrella, and generally running our campaign to reaching out to other local labor leaders, and preparing our slate for the huge transition we are about to undertake. In a normal (I use that word LOOSELY..there is nothing normal about my days lately) day, I spend most of it conversing with our secretary-treasurer elect and other national contacts that I have made from my position as a Steering Committee member, and newly elected co-chair of a group called Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) trying to ensure as smooth of a transition as possible.
TDU is in contact with many leaders of the Teamsters, and their advice and counsel is going to be one of our greatest assets moving forward. I also still have to work third shift at Rhode Island Hospital during the lame duck months, make time to play with my amazing 10 year old son, Jacob, 4 year old daughter, Sophia, and my newest 9 month old edition, Riley, as well as try and get a few relaxing minutes with my beautiful wife, Audra, who has been extremely supportive throughout all of this. I couldn't have done it without her full support, she is awesome!What are the challenges you face in continuing to be successful, now that you won the election?
Going forward, we have to remember where we came from. We cannot lose touch with the members, after all, the Union is nothing without the members. We have to remember the things that were wrong, and make sure we fix them. We want to be sure our members are educated about their contract, labor laws, and other entities that effect their employment. We are of the opinion that an educated and involved membership creates power within our union. We have a plan to execute all of these goals, from a Local 251 university, to mandatory steward elections, to contract action committees. Member involvement is our number one goal going forward.Tell us something nobody knows about you.
I learned how to apply and fill gel-tip and acrylic nails when I was single as a way to meet women. I highly suggest this to any single guys out there! You'd be surprised!Role model:
Abraham Lincoln. He led us through a civil war that could have torn this great country apart at the seams, was able to unite the country shortly afterward, and put an end to Slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation. All in just over 4 years!Favorite restaurant:
Marchetti's in Cranston. Best lobster roll in New England!Best elected official in RI right now:
Mayor Angel Tavares. His no-nonsense, honest approach to the difficulties facing the City of Providence during his term as Mayor has been refreshing.If you could have dinner with anyone in the world today, who would it be?
Bob Dylan. I'm a HUGE fan of his music/poetry.Issues: Local Union Reform
- The Story And Struggle Of Starbucks Workers In Chile
- Eurest Fires IWW Member In Frankfurt
- Worldwide IWA Action Against Santander Bank
- A Response To Patriarchy In The IWW
- In November We Remember Every Wobbly Killed
- Re-Remembering The Mexican IWW
Download a Free PDF of this issue.
Teamsters Local 118 has agreed to put its Wegmans Food Markets contract to another union vote, reports said Wednesday.
The union, which represents more than 900 warehouse workers and truck drivers, has twice voted to reject contract offers from the retailer, reportedly over concerns about proposed changes in a pension plan.
The Buffalo News Wednesday said that Wegmans and the Teamsters met with a federal mediator earlier this week, and that Teamsters were expected to vote again on Thursday.Issues: Warehouse Newswire
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The company continued its spin in its recent post to its website accusing ATDA Vice President David Volz of personal attacks against UP’s General Director of Labor Relations and the company. The Vice President’s comments were truthful and contained a concise explanation of what exactly took place.
It is apparent the company's intent is to cloud the issues to mislead, mischaracterize and misstate the facts. It’s one thing to do that in an attempt to convince you that you should remain in your non-union status, quite another when it tries to disparage the members and officers of the ATDA.
We will not tolerate any hateful language of any person, including any carrier officer, towards our members.
The ATDA adopted a Non-Discrimination Policy years ago that states:
"It is the policy of this organization not to discriminate against any of its members or employees because of their race, religion, sex, age, or national origin. As we strive to promote the establishment of just and reasonable working conditions for our members, we also are committed to providing such working conditions to the organization's employees, including a workplace free from intimidation, hostility, or discrimination."
While the UP train dispatchers are not yet members of the ATDA, we apply this policy universally, not selectively, in conducting the daily business of our Organization. Vice President Volz's immediate response to the comments made by an anti-union UP train dispatcher against ATDA's members clearly demonstrates standing up for the principles set forth in our policy.
The Director of Labor Relations characterized in an email to me our Vice President’s response as "…libelous attacks on Union Pacific and on me personally." When I reviewed all of the information, I respectfully disagreed with his interpretation and saw no need to take any further action, even after the threat of legal action and/or an unfair labor practice.
Are we not growing weary of the Carrier’s tired and repetitive allegations of accusing the organizers of untruths and misstatements? Ironically, the company ends its post by saying "…it is certainly fair to ask yourself if you want someone who would opportunistically use horrific imagery in an unwarranted attack…" Didn’t the email thread between the anti-union dispatcher and the General Director of Labor Relations do just that?
Let’s get on with the real business at hand and not be misled by these deceptive and diversionary tactics.
F. Leo McCannATDA President
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November 8, 2013: YRC CEO James Welch presented his case to Teamster local officers three days ago for a five-year contract extension, in order to secure new financing.
It was not an easy sell. A number of officers at the meeting in Dallas asked tough questions, on everything from the botched idea to buy ABF to what else YRC will be asking for.
Welch declined to specify anything else the company would request in bargaining, except new language to curb absenteeism. The materials distributed indicate that wage increases may be in the extension deal.
Welch stressed the urgency of the situation to refinance debt at lower interest rates. He requested to open up the contract and get a vote by 26,000 Teamsters as soon as the end of December on a contract extension. The first debt payment is due February 15, for $69 million, and Welch stated that an extension would need to be in place to secure refinancing from banks.
YRCW has delayed by a week reporting third-quarter earnings as it seeks to start talks with the IBT, according to numerous media reports on the situation.
IBT Freight Director Tyson Johnson told local officials to meet with YRC Teamsters, and then report to the Freight Division on whether they should agree to reopen the contract to discuss an extension.
Some locals are distributing the materials from the November 5 meeting to members, which outline the company's presentation.Issues: Freight
YRC Worldwide Inc., saying it intends to negotiate an extended labor contract with the Teamsters union, has delayed release of its quarterly financial report.
The third-quarter financial report originally scheduled for Thursday has been pushed back to Tuesday of next week, a company statement said. The statement, released late Wednesday, did not indicate why a delay was needed.
The Overland Park-based trucking company said it intends to “engage in formal negotiations, extend its current contract (with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters) and increase its competitiveness in the market.”
Chief executive James Welch said in the statement that an extension would help secure jobs of the company’s 26,000 union employees and “substantially increase the likelihood” of refinancing the company’s debts.
Welch, in a letter to employees Oct. 30, said a new Teamsters contract was necessary before lenders would negotiate a refinancing. YRC has more than $1 billion in debts due in 2014 and 2015.
YRC’s announcement said “these developments” led it to postpone its earnings release.
The Teamsters have surrendered pay and benefits under their agreement with the company that expires at the end of March 2015. Their concessions helped the company avoid bankruptcy through two financial reorganizations. But with the economy still sluggish, YRC continues to struggle to return to financial health.
Company executives met in Dallas this week with more than 100 Teamsters officials, including Vic Terranella, president of Local 41 in Kansas City.
Terranella said the company didn’t talk about contract proposals but did say it wants a five-year agreement. He said a YRC official told the union representatives that the new deal would need to address absenteeism issues and profit sharing.
They also said, according to Terranella, that the new agreement would need to take effect immediately after approval rather than after the current contract expires.
The request adds to earlier suggestions that YRC may ask for additional concessions from the union rather than an extension of their current terms. Welch’s letter to employees had said the new contract would need to increase the company’s competitiveness, but it did not specify how.
YRC shares fell 71 cents Wednesday and closed at $10.13. The shares had jumped 28 percent Tuesday on reports that the company plans to ask for more concessions from employees.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz likes to play the good guy. He asked us to "come together" to pressure Washington to make a budget deal, raise the debt ceiling, and end the government shutdown. But when it comes to his own workers, its a different story. Across the world, Starbucks pays its 100% part-time barista workforce poverty wages, and busts unions when workers "come together" for change, even while raking in over $1.7 billion in profits this year. Right now, Starbucks baristas are on strike in Chile, where they make less per hour than the price of a cup of coffee.
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Rhode Island Hospital worker Nick Williams was so angry that his new supervisor was his union business agent’s brother that he came home from work and Googled “Teamsters 251 sucks.” And that was the turning point that led to rank-and-file Teamsters taking over the local that covers all of Rhode Island.
Williams had found the Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) website run by two 251 rank-and-filers. On October 31 all 10 candidates on their slate, United Action, were elected, with about 53 percent of the vote. They won despite an entrenched leadership group that had been in office since 1993—and despite threats by a Teamsters International vice president who said on YouTube, “They need to be punished.”
The 5,200 members of Local 251 work at dozens of employers, but more than 2,000 of them are the non-nursing staff at Rhode Island Hospital. At the local’s second-largest employer, UPS, two drivers had toiled for years, opposing bad contracts, organizing members to turn down excessive overtime, and running, unsuccessfully, a partial slate in 2007.
But the two drivers, Matt Taibi and Matt Maini, hadn't cracked the hospital. Until Williams joined their team.
Williams describes the state of the union at the hospital as “in bed with management.” Business agents would, with the collusion of managers, create well-paid jobs for their friends—sometimes even “no-show” jobs whose duties did not include reporting for work.
When the contract was near expiration, and its last and largest raise was due, BA’s would simply sign away the raise with a Memorandum of Agreement that members weren’t allowed to see, in violation of the Teamsters constitution.
Maini said the hospital had fired more than 400 workers in two years—and the union always advised members who were up for termination to resign. “Everyone knew someone who got screwed by the BA,” Williams said.
“The hospital had essentially been taken for granted by the local for 20 years,” said Taibi, who will be the union’s new top officer, secretary-treasurer, come January 1.
The person who’d originally brought the union to the hospital, back in 1993, was Paul Santos, who worked in the shipping department. Santos had been a steward but resigned, disillusioned. Most people at the hospital saw him as the person they trusted most on union questions.
Sandra Cabral, who works with medical records, says she “never cared for the union because I felt I was paying monthly for favoritism.” In January this year she was approached by a co-worker about TDU. She was interested off the bat, but “when she told me Paul was involved, I said I’m going to check this out.”
After Santos joined the dissidents, TDU grew from 10 members in the local to 100. Santos will be Local 251 president.
Early this year, the TDUers collected signatures for three bylaw changes. They wanted elected stewards, rather than appointed; elected rank-and-file members on negotiating committees; and any increase in officers’ salaries to be voted on by the membership.
Secretary-Treasurer Joe Bairos enjoyed combined salaries of $187,999 last year, from the local, the New England Joint Council, and the international union, as well as a car and an expense account.
The February union meeting saw 600 or 700 people come to debate the bylaws—up from a usual attendance of 40. More than 800 came to the March meeting, and had to vote in shifts, chanting about solidarity and democracy in the parking lot.
Because the incumbents mobilized, too, the bylaw changes won a majority but not the required two-thirds.
The next phase of the United Action campaign, with Williams as manager, brought 300 to 500 members each to a meatball dinner, a comedy night fundraiser, a picnic.
Williams says that when they’d go to neglected companies to campaign, the members would be hostile, thinking they were from the union. “But when they heard what we had to say, out of 130 in that barn, we got 100 for our email list,” he said.
The insurgents had the advantage of help from a TDU staffer on campaign strategy and logistics and from a TDU attorney who more than once backed the incumbents down from illegal actions.
After they take office the new officers will cut their salaries to free up $250,000 a year for member education and training, Taibi said. They will reintroduce the bylaw changes and plan an aggressive contract campaign at Rhode Island Hospital next year.
Cabral, soon to be recording secretary, is in charge of setting up a women’s committee. She says she wants to see hospital housekeepers—mostly women—receive equal pay with the men in environmental services.
At UPS, where 10- to 12-hour days are the norm for drivers, Matt Maini, the new BA, will organize members to enforce their contractual right to work only 9.5.
Maini has two back surgeries and a hip replacement to show for his long days and 21 years at UPS.
“If you’d asked me 15 years ago, I'd say this would never happen,” he said. “But we decided we were going to dedicate our lives to making this a real union for the members.”Issues: TDULabor Movement