September 25, 2014: Despite growing volume, UPS has shrunk the Teamster workforce.
When the recession hit in 2008, UPS went lean and mean. They reduced hiring, implemented new technology, increased harassment, and eliminated full-time jobs.Management’s goal was to boost profits by squeezing more work from fewer workers. They’ve succeeded. Last year, UPS Teamsters delivered 1.4 million more packages every day compared to 2009. And we did it, with one thousand fewer UPS Teamsters on the payroll, according to the company’s own annual reports. A review of Teamster pension fund data shows the biggest shrinkage came in full-time jobs. Package drivers weren’t replaced when they retired; full-time 22.3 jobs were eliminated altogether. UPS Teamsters filed hundreds of grievances on 22.3 job elimination, but the Hoffa administration refused to enforce the contract. “Frankly, it’s not the right time,” to enforce Article 22.3 Package Division Director Ken Hall said. “Even though we think we’re right, we don’t want to roll the dice with an arbitrator.” UPS management got the message. From 2009 to 2011, UPS shed 9,000 Teamsters from the payroll. Ground volume grew by 3 percent during the same period. The wheels finally came off the truck at peak last year. Understaffed and underprepared management suffered a very public meltdown. That debacle and growing pressure from Amazon and other e-commerce customers is finally making UPS do what Hoffa and Hall would not: create more full-time jobs. After years of little to no hiring, members are moving into the package and feeder ranks. Hall tried to take credit for the hiring in a press release, saying that UPS made the move “in the face of strong Teamster enforcement of the new National Master UPS Agreement.” Yeah, right. If Hall is really in the mood for “strong, contract enforcement,” maybe he will finally require UPS to turn over a report of all 20,000 fulltime 22.3 jobs the company owes under the contract—and share that information with every local union. UPS is required to maintain over 20,000 full-time 22.3 jobs nationally. Without that report, members have no way of knowing how many of the 22.3 jobs have been created and no way of enforcing the contract. To gear up for peak, UPS is hiring a record 95,000 seasonal employees. In an unusual move, Teamster retirees have been given the green light by the IBT-UPS Pension Fund, the New England Pension Fund, the Local 688 Pension Fund and others to come back to work as seasonal feeder drivers while collecting pension benefits at the same time. UPS will be ready for peak. They can’t afford another rerun of last year. But what comes next? Under Hoffa and Hall, UPS is delivering more packages with less Teamsters—and fewer full-time jobs. It’s time for a u-turn.Issues: UPSTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 291 October/November 2014
Teamster pension funds are paying the price for full-time job elimination.
September 25, 2014: More ground deliveries should mean more full-time jobs—and more participants in Teamster pension funds. But a review of pension data shows what’s happening is just the opposite. As ground volume has grown in recent years, the number of full-time jobs has fallen.The IBT-UPS Pension Fund covers 45,000 UPS Teamsters in the Central Region and South. It’s the largest Pension Fund in the country that covers only UPS full-timers—making it a good barometer of full-time job growth. From 2009 to 2012, the number of Teamsters in the IBT-UPS Fund fell by 2,887—a six percent drop. Over the exact same period, ground volume grew by six percent. More packages—but fewer full-time jobs. The story is even worse in the New Jersey Local 177 Pension Fund—the next largest fund that exclusively covers UPS full-timers. From 2007 to 2012, the number of Teamsters in the Local 177 Fund fell by almost 11 percent—a loss of 421 full-time jobs in one local. UPS saved money on payroll and on pension contributions—and the Local 177 pension plan paid the price. Contribution hours dropped from 7.8 million a year to just 6.9 million, costing the Pension Fund millions of dollars in lost contributions. The pension fund's actuaries issued repeated warnings, that “There have been very few new hires” and warned of the negative impact on the fund’s health. The problem wasn’t the stock market. For the last decade, the Local 177 Pension Fund has earned an average rate of return on investments of 5.22%. Pretty good, considering that like every pension plan, Local 177 took a big hit when the housing bubble burst in 2008. But even solid stock market returns can’t make up for a shrinking jobs base. The real problem is UPS not replacing Teamsters who retired. In 2001, for every 59 retirees collecting a pension in Local 177, UPS was paying pension contributions for 100 Teamsters who were working full-time. By 2012, there were 100 retirees for every 100 working Teamsters. Pension Changes As part of the new contract, Local 177 members voted to divert 30¢ of their wage increase into the pension fund. As a result of the wage diversion, the Pension Fund was able to increase pension benefits by $400 a month. But these increases are being paid for by Local 177 members, not UPS. The Local 177 Pension Fund has also changed the rules so that members have to work 2080 hours to get a full pension credit. Local 177 officials said this change was needed because growing numbers of members were skipping work and shorting the fund needed pension contributions. But that explanation doesn’t jibe with the Pensions Fund’s own records which show that the average worker is actually getting more pension hours contributed on their behalf every year—not less. In 2001, members averaged just 1,791 hours of contributions; today that number is 1,981. The result of the new 2,080 rule is that the average Local 177 member will have to work longer to retire. At the current rate, the average Local 177 UPSer will have to work 26 years to be able to retire with 25 years of pension credit: a whole extra year at Big Brown. UPS workers have paid a steep price for the declining number of full-time jobs—and so have our pension funds.Issues: UPSPension and BenefitsTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 291 October/November 2014
A review of Save Our Unions: Dispatches from a Movement in Distress, by Steve EarlySeptember 25, 2014: It’s no secret that the U.S. labor movement is in distress. To those who care about how to turn that situation around, Steve Early has a message worth reading in his Save Our Unions: Dispatches from a Movement in Distress. The book describes the problems facing workers—and some possible solutions such as organizing more union members, waging successful strikes, or developing new union leadership at the local or national level The chapters are essays (many have appeared previously in various magazine and labor publications), most of which tell stories of real people and struggles. Early doesn’t pull punches. The good guys and gals don’t always win. But sometimes they do, and those lessons are valuable for all of us. Early worked for decades as an International Rep in the Communication Workers of America, but also has a long history with the Teamsters Union. In 1978 he was instrumental in facilitating a merger of two new Teamster reform movements: Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) and PROD, which had been launched with help from Ralph Nader. A decade later, he helped the Ron Carey campaign win the 1991 election, and took a temporary position in the Ron Carey administration as a consultant in 1992. He’s been a supporter of TDU ever since. In one section of the book, “Rebels with a Cause,” Early reports and compares struggles for democracy in the Teamsters, mine workers, steelworkers, transport workers, auto workers, and more. Early isn’t afraid to examine weaknesses in high places in labor, as in the book section “Is there a Leader in the House?” But he doesn’t dwell on top officials—the book focuses on the tactics, strategies and real people working to alleviate labor’s distress. Teamster Local 391 steward Nichele Fulmore summed it up in a blurb on the book cover: “It’s hard to fight the war on workers when unions behave like business and act like it’s all about the money. This book shows why we need a labor movement that represents all working people, not just a few.” There are lots of books on labor. Few are rooted so clearly in the struggles, victories and defeats of workers and their unions as Save Our Unions. This is Early’s third book in the past several years, since he left full-time union work. Let’s hope it is not the last.Steve Early will be at the TDU Convention Nov 7-9 in Cleveland. If you are there, you can get a signed copy of Save Our Unions at a discount and hear more of his analysis on why labor is in distress and some ways forward.Issues: Labor MovementTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 291 October/November 2014
September 25, 2014: Pat Flynn, the former head of Chicago Local 710 who was charged with embezzling union funds via gift credit cards for members, has cut a deal with the IRB: pay the union back $58,000 and an eight-year ban from holding any Teamster position or salary.
The Independent Review Board (IRB) charged Flynn on June 19. In August, he signed a deal and repaid the union $24,780.99. This sum was much less than $58,000 because Flynn was owed his “commissions” for July! Flynn’s total salary (including “commissions”) last year from the local was $482,958.
The settlement agreement will in all likelihood end Flynn’s career. But the future of Local 710 is in the hands of the members.Issues: Local Union Reform
Their employer is the U.S. Postal Service, but a few unlucky Bay Area letter carriers were hired only to find out their job is actually delivering groceries for online retailer Amazon at 4 a.m.
It’s an experimental program being staffed with City Carrier Assistants—the lowest tier of union letter carriers, permatemps who make $15-17 an hour. To find their way in the dark they’re issued miner-style headlamps
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.UPS
Issues: Hoffa WatchTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 291 October/November 2014
Issues: Local Union ReformFreightTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 291 October/November 2014
September 24, 2014: YRC drivers are fed-up with pictures like this. It’s time to go beyond complaining and challenge subcontracting.
There is language in the YRC MOU that offers protections, if it is utilized and enforced. It’s time to do just that.Here is some of the language that exists in the MOU: “The maximum amount of over-the-road purchased transportation shall be limited to 6% (starting with Calendar Year 2014) of YRC Freight’s total miles...” “The use of PTS under this section 7(e) is for direct, closed-door service from distribution center to distribution center only...” “At those locations where PTS is utilized, YRC Freight shall provide protection for all active bid road drivers during each dispatch day the PTS service is used and all active extra board road drivers during each dispatch week that PTS service is used.” “The protection for boards at intermediate relay locations will be weekly earnings, calculated using the four (4) week average method. As an example, if PTS is dispatched from Kansas City destined for Atlanta, the board at the intermediate relay in Nashville will have earnings protected that week.” “YRC shall report in writing on a monthly basis to each Local Union affected and to the Freight Division, the number of trailers tendered to any purchased transportation provider. YRC Freight also shall report the carrier’s name (including DOT number), origin, destination, trailer/load number, trailer weight and the time the trailer/load leaves YRC Freight's yard. In addition, YRC Freight shall, on a quarterly basis, unless otherwise required, send to the office of the National Freight Director a report containing all of the above indicated information in addition to the total number of miles YRC Freight utilized with purchased transportation, inclusive of the type of PTS utilized, including whether the purpose was for avoiding empty miles, overflow or one-time business opportunities such as product launches.” “...each time YRC Freight uses purchased transportation providers to run over the top of linehaul domicile terminal locations and/or relay domiciles, said dispatches shall be counted as supplemental or replacement runs, as applicable, for purposes of calculating the requirement to add new employees to the road board. The formula for recalling or adding employees to the affected road board shall be thirty (30) supplemental runs in a sixty (60) day period.” If local unions and the International enforce this language, it will be clear that YRC is committing violations, and we will gain additional work and additional Teamster jobs. This means consistently filing grievances, networking stewards from terminal to terminal, and demanding real enforcement from the grievance panels and the Freight Division.Issues: FreightTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 291 October/November 2014
September 24, 2014: Teamsters at the Twin River Casino took a gamble that solidarity could beat corporate greed at Twin River Casino. Now they’ve beaten the house.
The money never stops flowing at Twin River Casino, the largest gambling and entertainment venue in Rhode Island.But the winnings always stopped when it came to Local 251 members who work as parking valets at the Casino. Until now. With their old local union leadership cozy with management, the odds were stacked against them. Teamster parking valets took concessionary contracts that created three tiers of employees. The lowest tier of workers made just $2.89 an hour (plus tips). If they wanted family healthcare they had to pay for the coverage themselves. This summer, Local 251 members at the Casino bet that solidarity could pay off—and they won a new contract with higher wages, work rule improvements and affordable healthcare for members and their families. How They Did it Local 251 members elected new union leadership this year and embraced a new approach to contract negotiations. For the first time, rankand-file members sat on the negotiating committee. When Twin River Casino management refused to budge, members Voted No to reject the Casino’s concessionary contract offer. Then workers took their case to the public. They leafleted the Casino and talked to customers. They launched a social media campaign under the theme “Poverty Wages are a losing bet” that targeted fans of the Casino’s own Facebook page. Local 251 joined forces with the Working Families Party to launch an online petition telling “Twin River Casino should pay its parking valets a fair wage and provide affordable healthcare coverage for their families.” The Working Families Party (WFP) is a grassroots political party of unions and community groups, including some Teamster locals. They teamed up with Teamsters Local 804 in another winning campaign to save the jobs of 250 Teamsters fired by UPS in New York City. More than 5,000 public supporters signed the Twin River Casino petition in less than 24 hours. The day after the petition was launched, management sat down with the Local 251 bargaining committee and the Casino folded. The new contract raises wages and delivers affordable family healthcare coverage to workers and their families. In addition, the new contract improves members’ rights and protections on the job, including stronger job security, the right to honor primary picket lines, a better grievance procedure, fairer disciplinary policies, and improvements in union access, job bidding, seniority, and more. When Twin River management walked into the first bargaining meeting they said, “We like things the way they are.” Members called their bluff. The Casino had nothing. Thanks to rank-and-file unity and organized public support, members had a full house!Issues: TDULabor MovementTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 291 October/November 2014
Birmingham, Alabama --Three people are dead -- including the gunman -- after a shooting this morning at a UPS facility in Inglenook, according to Birmingham officials.
The incident happened just before 9:30 a.m. as police received multiple calls of an active shooter at 4601 Inglenook Lane, the customer service center and warehouse. "Patrol units responded quickly; they rallied and made entry,'' said Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper. "They were able to clear the building and, of course, during the shooting, multiple employees exited the facility."
Click here to read more.Issues: UPS
The Clydeside branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union call for a boycott of leftist daily newspaper the Morning Star over allegations of mishandling domestic abuse reporting.
In a statement released on their blog, the group said:
The Clydeside branch of the Industrial Workers of the World fully supports one of its members, Rory MacKinnon, in his dispute with the Morning Star. Fellow worker MacKinnon was disciplined by the Morning Star for asking questions — just what a journalist should do. We urge all members of the IWW, and the progressive Left, to join us in a boycott of the Morning Star until this issue is satisfactorily resolved.
Birmingham, Alabama --Three people are dead -- including the gunman -- after a shooting this morning at a UPS facility in Inglenook, according to Birmingham officials.
The incident happened just before 9:30 a.m. as police received multiple calls of an active shooter at 4601 Inglenook Lane. "Patrol units responded quickly, they rallied and made entry,'' said Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper. "They were able to clear the building and, of course, during the shooting, multiple employees exited the facility."
Click here to read more.Issues: UPS
UPS Inc. said it is pursuing an expansion of truck brokerage through its Freight unit, adding new capabilities in a fast-growing sector where the company does not currently have a major presence.
Ken Burroughs, vice president of strategy for UPS Freight, outlined the company’s plans for Transport Topics during an exclusive Sept. 16 interview.
He said, “We have put an emphasis on growing the brokerage capability. We have been assigned the corporate responsibility to grow the business. Brokerage is growing, and we see this as a natural evolution of the products the company can offer.”
Truck brokerage revenue, as measured by the consulting firm Armstrong & Associates, has grown more than 25% over a four-year period to become almost a $50 billion business.
When asked about revenue and profitability targets, Burroughs answered that “the sky’s the limit,” without elaborating. UPS does not disclose details about business volume or revenue beyond what is stated in its quarterly financial reports.
The corporate profile for UPS, which ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics list of the 100 largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers, provides a size perspective. UPS Freight’s truckload revenue of $190 million through the first half of 2014 contributed just 0.7% of total corporate revenue.
“We want to grow as much as we possibly can,” Burroughs said, targeting what he termed double-digit annual growth “indefinitely.”
“We recognized the revenue — and profit opportunity. We look at both,” Burroughs said.
He explained that UPS has been in the brokerage business “to a certain extent” for about six years, functioning as part of its Freight unit whose primary business is less-than-truckload service.
The move by UPS is coming at a time when truck brokerage markets are changing with the ongoing acquisition strategies at companies such as Echo Global Logistics and XPO Logistics that are increasing the size of some industry participants.
XPO ranks No 45 on the Transport Topics list of the largest U.S. and Canadian logistics companies. Echo Global ranks No. 5 on the TT Top 25 Freight Brokerage Firms list.
“We are not as big as some others,” Burroughs said, describing the UPS operation as a “relatively small brokerage. We’re nowhere near the Coyotes or TQLs.”
His reference was to two brokers: Total Quality Logistics, with annual revenue of $1.4 billion, ranks No 42 on the TT Logistics 50 list; and Coyote Logistics, with revenue of $786.4 million that puts it at No. 9 on the Freight Brokers list. UPS Supply Chain Solutions and Freight unit rank No. 5 on the TT Logistics 50 list, with annual revenue above $9 billion.
UPS’ brokerage business currently has a base of about 10,000 carriers, with more than 100 people working on brokerage opportunities.
Burroughs said more carriers and workers would be added as business grows.
“We want to see if we can provide a differentiated type of service to our carrier partners,” Burroughs added, while underscoring that UPS Freight has a stringent carrier qualification process. “We want to develop a relationship with them.
“Our real intent here from a longer-term strategy is to be able to handle any type of service the customers need,” while seeking to capitalize on technology, the UPS official said.
One technological tool he cited was the ability to offer price quotes to customers for either heavy LTL freight [more than 10,000 pounds], truckload or intermodal.
Burroughs emphasized that the brokerage unit isn’t being used to cover loads that can’t be handled by the truckload business. Most UPS truckload freight is moved through dedicated contracts, he said, and brokerage business is transactional.
Burroughs also said the move is part of an effort to expand UPS without using much capital.
Another consideration, he said, was the fact that UPS customers have indicated their interest in using multiple products when available, such as the brokerage option.
The initiative is separate from other existing activities in the Supply Chain and Freight unit, such as distribution or international freight management, Burroughs said.Issues: UPS
TDU members and other Teamsters joined hundreds of thousands in a massive march against Climate Change in New York City. A labor contingent of union members led the march under the slogan, “A Healthy Planet and good jobs.”
The media reported a turnout of 310,000. March organizers say it was actually over 400,000. Either way, it was quite a crowd.
For too long, it’s been jobs vs. the environment. But on Sunday, we were all in it together.Issues: Labor Movement
September 18, 2014: Petitions signed by more than 12,000 Teamsters are on the way to Judge Loretta Preska calling on her to rule against the Hoffa administration’s bid to end fair elections for International Union officers.
TDU legal counsel, Barbara Harvey, has submitted a letter to the court defending the Right to Vote and asking the Judge to hold a hearing on the issues.
Judge Preska oversees the consent order, a court-approved agreement that guarantees Teamster members the Right to Vote in independently-supervised elections with fair rules. The Hoffa administration is going to court to overturn this agreement.
The Hoffa administration has already pushed through an amendment to the Teamster Constitution that would give them the power to hand-pick the election supervisor and write their own election rules. (See Article III, Section 5(a)(2))
We know what that would look like.
Earlier this year, the Hoffa administration re-wrote the rules in the middle of the UPS contract vote so they could impose UPS contracts that had been rejected by the members—including a 93 percent No Vote in Louisville.
In an earlier contract vote in the carhaul industry, TDU exposed in federal court that Hoffa’s handpicked election supervisor had certified fraudulent voting results without ever seeing the ballots or voting results let alone supervising the vote count.
The consent order agreement overseen by Judge Preska is the only thing standing in the way of an election with sham rules and a phony election supervisor controlled by Hoffa.
That’s why Hoffa administration attorneys are going to court to try to gut it. And that’s why Teamster members are fighting back.
TDU has always opposed government interference in the union. But we support the consent order’s requirement that Teamster members have the Right to Vote for International Union officers in independently-supervised elections with fair rules.
Teamster members have made their voices heard through the petition drive. TDU and our legal counsel will continue to press the case.Issues: Hoffa Watch