Unions

UPS Full-Time Jobs Update

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 08:24

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
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Full-Time Jobs Giveaway Hurts Our Pensions

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 08:05

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
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Rebuilding Labor from Below

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 07:56

A review of Save Our Unions: Dispatches from a Movement in Distress, by Steve Early

September 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
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Teamsters & The Right to Vote

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 07:40
September 25, 2014: Jimmy Hoffa disappeared in 1975 and the Teamster leadership, already heavily penetrated by the mob, became more and more a tool of employers. In response, members started to demand the Right to Vote on International officers. Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) took up the challenge, and in 1989 Teamster members beat the mob and won the Right to Vote in International Union elections. How did a grassroots movement of working Teamster beat the odds and make history? First, we had a plan. In 1985, TDU members launched a national Right to Vote petition to put pressure on the Teamster leadership to hold elections for national officers. Volunteers collected signatures at worksites across the country. The petition, with tens of thousands of signatures, was presented to the 1986 Teamster convention. “The Funeral of TDU” At the convention, TDU delegates supported an amendment to the IBT constitution for direct election of IBT officials. Old guard officials voted it down overwhelmingly. Jackie Presser was elected at that convention over challenger Sam Theodus by a vote of 1792 to 24, or nearly 99%. Presser announced from the podium that it was “the funeral of TDU.” TDU was planning ahead. The fact that the most hated president in Teamster history could get 99% support from local union officials only showed how rotten the system was. Five years later, Sam Theodus was elected as part of the Carey slate. TDU worked with the President’s Commission on Organized Crime. We documented how mobsters and corrupt officials were ripping off Teamster members. And we put forward a detailed plan for Teamster elections. In 1988 the U.S. Justice Department sued the Teamster leadership under the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The government’s suit called for the Teamsters to come under federal trusteeship to “reorganize” the union. TDU fought the trusteeship, and proposed the Right to Vote as a positive alternative. A public campaign by TDU won the support of major newspapers, as well as members of the President's Commission. TDU National Organizer Ken Paff wrote the U.S. Attorney General saying “there is only one ‘reorganization’ under RICO that the government can effectively take: namely, to direct the IBT to hold rank-and-file elections.” Our amicus briefs in court, and our public campaign were getting traction. The Right to Vote is Won On March 13, 1989, one day before the trial was to begin, the Teamster officials threw in the towel to head off the trial. The consent order established a court supervised Independent Review Board to clean out corruption. Most important, it provided for the direct election of Teamster officers. The Wall Street Journal reported the next day that “the terms of the settlement were greatly influenced by the concerns and platform of Teamsters for a Democratic Union.” TDU’s position against government trusteeship and for the right to vote had prevailed. Winning Fair Rules Once we won the Right to Vote, TDU focused on winning fair rules that leveled the playing field. The Right to Vote isn’t worth much if the incumbents control the rules and the election. TDU filed briefs in federal court to strengthen the independent Election Supervisor—and we won. In an important change, the Election Supervisor took charge of delegate elections. Members who run for Convention Delegate won the right to run in a fair election that was not controlled by their local officers. We fought for numerous changes in the Election Rules. For example, we proposed an Accredited Candidate Petition Procedure so candidates with proven membership support could get their message out to the members by having access to the Teamster membership list. We proposed that candidates be given worksite lists for all locals so Teamsters could campaign member-to-member. We won that too and a whole lot more. The Teamster leadership fought every single improvement in the rules. In fact, they opposed the whole idea of having Election Rules. What’s at Stake in the Current Fight? Today, elections are a part of the Teamsters Union. Hoffa would not dare come flat-out for abolishing the Right to Vote. Instead, he is trying to gut members’ voting rights through the back door—by getting rid of the independent election supervisor and eliminating fair election rules. The Hoffa administration already successfully passed an amendment to the Teamster Constitution that would give Hoffa’s GEB the power to handpick the election supervisor and write their own election rules. (See Article III, Section 5(a)(2)) The consent order agreement with the Justice Department is the only thing standing in the way of an election with sham rules and a phony election supervisor controlled by Hoffa. The biggest rule change the Hoffa administration wants governs nominations. Right now, candidates get on the ballot if they have the support of 5% of the delegates to the Teamster Convention. The Hoffa administration wants to change this rule to make it harder or impossible for opposition candidates to get on the ballot. Then Hoffa’s real goal will be achieved: the elimination of International Union elections altogether. That’s what’s at stake. We cannot and will not let that happen.Issues: TDU HistoryTDUHoffa WatchTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 291 October/November 2014
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Pat Flynn Cuts a Deal: Kicked out for Eight Years

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 07:18

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
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Alarming Trends in Package Delivery

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 12:45
Alexandra BradburyLabor NotesSeptember 24, 2014View the original piece

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.

- See more at: http://labornotes.org/2014/09/high-flying-drones-and-basement-wages-alar...

Issues: UPS
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Organizing Under Hoffa

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 11:56
September 24, 2014: Teamster membership loss is outpacing organizing efforts since Hoffa took office. A new report looks at Teamster organizing and what can be done to turn it around. Teamster organizing dropped precipitously the first year that Hoffa took office—and with a few notable exceptions, it has slumped since. Those are the findings of a new report by the Teamster Rank & File Education and Legal Defense Foundation (TRF). To prepare the study, TRF reviewed all available organizing data from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from 1999 when Hoffa took office through 2013, the most recent year for which data is available. TRF also analyzed organizing results among public employees and airline workers who are not covered by the NLRB, as well as card-check agreements like UPS Freight. Teamster membership dropped from 1.41 million in 1999 to 1.25 million in 2013—a loss of 160,000 members. But even these numbers hide the full story because some 110,000 members were added by affiliations with four other unions: the BLET and the BMWE (two formerly independent rail unions), the Graphic Communications International Union and the Coalition of University Employees. Without these mergers and affiliations, Teamster membership would be just 1.1 million today. In other words, the Teamsters has lost some 270,000 members since Hoffa took office. Organizing Nose Dive Teamster organizing numbers nosedived the year Hoffa took the wheel of our union. Over 20,000 workers voted to join the Teamsters in NLRB elections in 1998. Hoffa took office the next year and new member organizing dropped by 30 percent. Under Hoffa, new members organized in NLRB votes has never topped 14,000 in any year, let alone 20,000. The high water mark for organizing in the Hoffa years was 2007-10, a four-year period in which 48,680 workers joined the Teamsters in NLRB votes—an average of 12,170 a year. The organizing numbers have dropped every year since. Since 2011, the average number of workers voting to join the Teamsters in NLRB elections has dropped to just 5,827.  School Bus Drivers Successes  What drove up the Teamsters organizing numbers from 2007-2010? The Driving Up Standards campaign—a coordinated national organizing effort aimed at organizing school bus drivers. In 2007, school bus industry giant First Student, based in Britain, negotiated a “neutrality agreement” with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) requiring management to stay neutral in union organizing drives. Absent the usual anti-union management campaign, our union’s win rates in First Student organizing drives soared. Twenty-five thousand school bus drivers joined the Teamsters from 2007-2010. School bus drivers account for nearly two out of every three workers who joined the Teamsters in NLRB elections during the four-year span when Teamster organizing was on the rise. Without the SEIU’s help, the Teamsters was unable to secure a neutrality agreement with another school bus giant Durham School Services. When First Student organizing targets started to dry up, so did membership growth. Last year, the number of workers that voted to join the Teamsters in NLRB elections sunk to 4,733—an all-time low in the Hoffa years. Organizing Outside the NLRB The NLRB accounts for a lot, but not all, Teamster organizing. The Union scored three significant organizing victories in the airline industry—America West customer service representatives in 2004 and United and Continental mechanics and ramp workers in 2008 and 2010. Some were nonunion; the United Mechanics were in the AMFA, an independent union, which the Teamsters displaced. Just this month, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the IBT joined forces to successfully win representation of the customer agents at American Airlines, following the merger with US Air. The IBT gained about 1,500 members. In all, some 24,000 airline and rail workers have joined the Teamsters in union elections conducted by the National Mediation Board. Public sector workers also don’t vote in NLRB elections—but their organizing numbers have been even more modest than airline. The big exception is 2010 when the IBT says it organized over 16,000 public sector workers. But that claim is misleading. It includes 12,000 employees at the University of California who became Teamsters when their union, CUE, affiliated with the IBT as the newlyformed Local 2010. Organizing and Union Bargaining Power Organizing new members is supposed to build our union’s bargaining power and help us win better contracts for all workers. The Hoffa administration’s signature organizing drive of the past decade was supposed to do just this, at UPS Freight. In 2006, Hoffa and Ken Hall cut a deal with UPS to bring UPS Freight workers into the Teamsters under a card check agreement that allowed workers to join the union without having to go through the NLRB. Wherever the majority of workers signed union cards, UPS Freight recognized the union. It went easily. But there was a catch. In exchange for card check at UPS Freight, Hoffa and Hall agreed to concessions in the 2007 UPS agreement. Then they inked a substandard contract with UPS Freight—with no Teamster pension, a first for a national trucking company. Instead of organizing UPS Freight to strengthen Teamster contracts at UPS and in freight, Hoffa and Hall did something very different. They cut a deal that traded concessions in a coreindustry contract for the right to sign up 12,000 more dues-paying members. Organizing for Change Organizing isn’t easy—especially in a tough economy. Employers who won’t give workers a nickel routinely open their pocket books to hire highpriced union-busting consultants. Throw in anti-union labor laws and a weak NLRB and any union has its work cut out for it when it comes to organizing. But our union can and must do better. Here’s a few places to start: Cut Dues Waste & Put Money into Organizing: The Hoffa administration wastes $3 million every year on multiple salaries for union officials who already have another full-time union job and salary. That money and other dues waste should be put into organizing. Strategic Campaigns: To organize nonunion competitors and build Teamster bargaining power, our union needs to make a long-term commitment to strategic organizing efforts in our core industries. Fight for Strong Contracts: Concessionary contracts undermine Teamster organizing. Fighting for good contracts—and good first contracts—is a must if we want to grow our union. In industries targeted for organizing, we need to work toward coordinated national bargaining and contract language that builds our bargaining leverage by allowing workers to respect picket lines. Support Local Union Organizing Efforts: When local unions are organizing nonunion competitors, the IBT needs to be there with organizers, resources and strategic support. Build an Organizing Army: There are many skilled, highly dedicated organizers in the Teamsters—at the International and in the locals. The IBT needs a strategic plan to grow an even bigger army of staff and volunteer organizers. To win against the union busters, we need organizers who are trained in proven tactics and best practices. If we want to protect and improve our contracts and benefits—and bring more workers into the middle class—we need to organize the nonunion competition, grow the union and build our bargaining power. An analysis of the Hoffa record on organizing shows we are coming up short. It’s time for a new direction. What are your ideas for boosting Teamster organizing. Send your idea  to organizing [at] tdu [dot] org

 

Issues: Hoffa WatchTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 291 October/November 2014
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Organizing in Waste

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 11:52
September 24, 2014: Private sanitation is a growth industry—and as demand for a green economy expands, recycling is a growth industry too. The Teamsters represent 30,000 members in the waste industry. But most private sanitation workers are nonunion. The two top companies in the industry, Waste Management and Republic, are among the largest Teamster employers and control the majority of the waste and recycle industry. Organizing drives in waste—and strategic campaigns to win strong sanitation contracts—can grow our union’s membership and strengthen our bargaining power in this core industry. The IBT Organizing Department has scored some wins in waste. We need to build on this organizing and coordinate bargaining against these corporate giants. The goal can’t just be more members, but winning strong contracts that raise standards across the industry.Issues: Hoffa WatchTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 291 October/November 2014
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Port Organizing

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 11:50
September 24, 2014: One area where our union has made a long-term strategic commitment is the Port Worker organizing campaign. In a global economy, workers have leverage at key points in the logistics and distribution chain-trucking, warehousing and ports—but only if we’re organized. Port workers are at a critical chokepoint in that logistics chain. As part of the Port Organizing campaign, the union has built alliances with environmental groups and community organizations. Because almost all port drivers are wrongly classified as independent contractors, organizing is a long term project that requires a political strategy as well as organizing.Issues: Hoffa WatchTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 291 October/November 2014
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Locals Start Freight Organizing. Where's the International?

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 11:26
September 24, 2014: One hundred thirteen Con-way workers at the Laredo Texas terminal voted to join Teamster Local 657 on Sept 11. It’s a first-time win for our union. The same month, Southern California Joint Council 42 filed for organizing elections at three Con-way terminals, in Los Angeles, Santa Fe Springs, and San Fernando. And, Philadelphia Local 107 filed for organizing elections at FedEx Freight. Is this the start of movement to organize in freight and trucking? We hope so! It’s certainly a good first step, and it should spread. But there are serious challenges. FedEx and Con-way are national trucking outfits and corporate giants. They will have nationally coordinated efforts to resist and discourage organizing—including trying to retaliate against terminals that vote for the union. The IBT has to be fully prepared to support local union efforts. When Columbus Local 413 and other locals started organizing at Conway in 2011-12, the International dropped the ball. This time around, as locals take the initiative, the IBT organizing department needs to be on call with ready resources and personnel. No local union’s resources can compare to the International Union. Local unions and freight workers are stepping up to take action. The IBT needs to get behind this movement and help drive it to victory.  “It’s great that we’re finally making some gains in organizing FedEx Freight and Con-way. It’s a long time coming. But if we’re going to win on a wide scale, we need to shore up Teamster pride in freight. That starts with much better contract enforcement.” Troy Justus, ABFLocal 413, Columbus, Ohio

 

Issues: Local Union ReformFreightTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 291 October/November 2014
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Time to Challenge YRC Purchased Transportation

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 11:14

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
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Members Will Determine Future of Local 710

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 11:04
September 24, 2014: The membership of Local 710, based in the Chicago area but also covering parts of Illinois, Indiana and the UPS hub in Davenport, Iowa, find themselves with more questions than answers following the imposition of a trusteeship on their local. Stewards and concerned members have begun to meet and discuss plans for moving forward with a membership led direction for Local 710. The trusteeship removed Pat Flynn and other officers based on charges stemming from a credit card scheme and financial mismanagement. John Coli, a Hoffa Vice President and head of Chicago area Joint Council 25, has been named trustee. A September 30 hearing has been scheduled to allow members to hear the basis for the trusteeship and ask questions. One answer is clear. Members will need to play the key role in returning Local 710 to the powerful historic role it has played in the Teamsters. Over the past two years, Teamsters working at UPS, YRC, ABF, Holland and UPS Freight have all overwhelmingly voted down concessionary contracts. They have been ready to fight to defend their jobs and livelihoods but have had little support from leadershipin Local 710 or nationally. In February, UPS Teamsters in Local 710 voted down the proposed contract by 73%. Members understood that UPS can deliver far more than what was offered. They also opposed changing health insurance without guarantees that it will mirror their current benefits. The rank and file rejection in February has been met with a seven-month silence. “The vast majority of our UPS membership voted a strong No on the proposed contract. The proposal was terrible, particularly on retiree health coverage and cost,” commented Jon Tezich a feeder driver out of the Elkhart, Indiana UPS facility. “We need to realize that we may face a very similar contract vote soon. We need real gains on this contract, not just giving into whatever UPS wants. We need to stand together on our demands and Vote NO until we get what we have worked for and earned.” The UPS contract will be an early test for the Hoffa-Coli trusteeship. Will they just stall and then bully the membership into settling short? “We can’t sit on the sidelines and wait to see what happens,” said Bret Subsits, an ABF road driver and member of TDU. “We have to rebuild our local from the membership up. That will take the commitment of stewards and other active members getting organized first at our companies and then networking from jurisdiction to jurisdiction in Local 710. We need to start with contract enforcement—filing grievances and getting them resolved for the membership—and then moving on from there to greater communication among concerned members. It won’t be easy but the trusteeship can be a big opportunity for making positive changes in our union. But we, the members, have to step up.” Local 710 members are starting to do just that: link up to build a network to take back their local. If you have questions or want to get more involved in helping to determine the future of Local 710, contact TDU.Issues: Local Union ReformTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 291 October/November 2014
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Teamsters Raise the Stakes with Solidarity—and Win

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 10:56

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
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Round One: Victory at BNSF Rail Workers Fight for Jobs, Safety

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 10:45
September 24, 2014: Rank and file rail workers—including Teamsters in the BLET—have won an important round in the fight to maintain two-person crews in America’s rail cabs. In mid-September, conductors on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) soundly rejected a contract that would have allowed one-person crews. "Rail workers told the BNSF railway, their union leaders and fellow rail workers that they will not support single-person crews,” said Ron Kaminkow, an engineer for Amtrak and member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLET) affiliated with the Teamsters. Kaminkow is General Secretary of Railroad Workers United (RWU), a network of rail workers in various unions, including the Teamsters. RWU seeks to build solidarity and break down petty rivalries fostered by certain union officials. The conductors’ union, the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers union (SMART) negotiated the deal in secret, then tried to sell it with smoke and mirrors and a “signing bonus.” “The surprise attack coming from the union, on the two-person train crew, lit a fire under the rank and file like I have never seen in my 13 years of railroading,” said JP Wright of BLET IBT 740. Wright is the RWU Co-Chair and a TDU member. RWU’s press release notes that the contract rejection is “a decisive victory, not just for the trainmen and engineers on the BNSF, but for every railroad worker in North America.” It is especially important for the 33,000 rail engineers of the BLET-IBT. These Teamsters would be under the gun to accept single person operating crews, if the BNSF had won that concession. Rail unions have spent too much time fighting each other and too little building solidarity to protect jobs. The result is the carriers get concessions, even while profits are high. RWU is working to change that. RWU was instrumental in coordinating the opposition to the contract among trainmen and engineers, with conference calls on strategy, leaflets, stickers, rallies and media coverage.  BNSF, which is highly profitable and owned by Warren Buffett’s Burkshire Hathaway, is the second-largest rail carrier in North America. The deal would have affected about 3000 conductors. Until this battle, the front line of battle against single-person crews has been at a smaller carrier, the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway. A hundred members of the BLET-IBT 292 struck the W & LE a year ago, shutting down its operations, after the company tried to impose single-person crews. A federal temporary restraining order sent the engineers back to work. Local BLET Chairman Lonnie Swigert said they will do it again, if they have to. Bargaining is presently deadlocked. The issue is critical to both jobs and safety. No one would want to fly on a 747 with a one-person crew, although planes have auto-pilot. Do you want a 15,000 ton train with a one-person crew rolling through your town? “It would create a massive safety hazard,” a BNSF conductor in Seattle and member of RWU stated. Kaminkow said the priority now is to build on the solidarity that powered this win. The RWU statement calls this “the opening shot in a protracted war” to preserve union jobs and public safety on North America's rail lines. To get in touch with the RWU movement, go to www.railroadworkersunited.orgIssues: RailTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 291 October/November 2014
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Birmingham UPS shooter identified: Family member calls him ‘one of the best men I’ve ever known’

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 13:58
Joe SongerAL.comSeptember 23, 2014View the original piece

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
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Clydeside, Scotland: Wobblies call for Morning Star boycott

IWW - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 13:07

From Libcom.org

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:

Quote:
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.

read more

Categories: Unions

UPS shooting: 3 dead, including shooter, at Birmingham facility

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 11:08
Carol RobinsonAL.comSeptember 23, 2014View the original piece

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
Categories: Labor News, Unions

UPS Expands Into Brokerage to Tap Fast-Growing Sector

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 11:37
Rip WatsonTransport TopicsSeptember 22, 2014

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
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Marching for a Healthy Planet and Good jobs

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 10:50

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
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Making the Case for the Right to Vote

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 07:10

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
Categories: Labor News, Unions

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