From the Boston IWW
Four workers at Insomnia Cookies' Cambridge store went on strike on August 19, protesting poverty pay and wretched working conditions, and demanding $15/hr, health benefits and a union at their workplace. The company illegally fired all four. For the next six months strikers, IWW members, allies, and student organizations at both Harvard and Boston University held pickets, marches, rallies, forums, phone blitzes, and organized boycotts, while workers continued organizing at both the Cambridge and Boston locations. The union also pursued legal charges through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
March 4, 2014: A March 3 SEC filing revealed that James Welch, CEO of YRCW, sold 38,000 shares of company stock and made $956,840. The filing also noted that Welch owns 329,157 shares at a current value of over $8 million.
Meanwhile, Harry Wilson, YRCW Board member appointed by James Hoffa for the IBT, has resigned from the Board after he got $5.5 million for his role in the Teamster concession vote and the re-financing deal. Hoffa will now be able to nominate a replacement to the YRCW board.
Wilson made millions more in fees of $250,000 per month and for earlier services.
Prior to the concession vote, Welch and other upper management reps were challenged by Teamsters to prove their equal sacrifice. Their answer was they were working for much less than their market value.Issues: Freight
Increasing the national standard for twin trailers to 33 ft. from the existing 28 ft. would allow carriers to absorb up to 18% of future freight growth without any change in gross vehicle weight or additional miles traveled on roadways, the chief executive officer of FedEx Ground told a Congressional subcommittee Feb. 27. The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s subcommittee on highways and transit is holding a series of hearings related to highway funding and safety as it works to reauthorize those programs. The current act, known as MAP-21, expires Sept. 30.
Testifying before a hearing on the nation’s freight network, Henry Maier, CEO of FedEx Ground, told the subcommittee that projected benefits of allowing 33-ft. twins are based on data supplied not only by FedEx, but also ABF System, Con-way, Estes Express, Old Dominion Freight Line, UPS and YRC Worldwide.
“Industry-wide, that equals up to 1.8 billion fewer miles driven, more than 300 million gals. of gasoline saved and $2.6 billion in reduced costs annually,” Maier said. “Importantly, a reduction in truck trips would be environmentally friendly, saving fuel and emissions from trucking. This is an excellent example of an innovation that can have tremendous value – including increasing cost efficiencies – but it is one that cannot be implemented without Congress modernizing our transportation policy.”
Some states allow the larger trailers, and FedEx has been testing them in Florida since 2010, Maier told the subcommittee. Not only have the larger trailers been just as safe, but also some drivers operating them believe safety is enhanced because the longer combination is even more stable than those with 28-ft. twins, he said.
Deterioration of highways and bridges “is fast reaching crisis proportions,” Maier said. “As a business whose customers rely on us for fast and reliable service, we can attest that impassable roads and bridges lead to increased costs, service delays and untold equipment damage.”
Maier noted that MAP-21 calls for the identification of a 27,000 mi. Primary Freight Network comprising highways viewed as essential to the delivery of goods. This measure is inadequate given that the Federal Highway Administration says that more than 41,000 mi. of highways would be needed.
“While FedEx agrees in principle with the Primary Freight Network concept, we have concerns based on its limited scope,” he said.
FedEx agrees with the American Trucking Assns. call for greater emphasis to be placed on critical freight corridors and intermodal highway connectors.
Highways’ importance for manufacturers
The Volvo Group North America told the subcommittee that the health of America’s freight network matters to the company not only because of its importance to Volvo customers and their need for equipment, but also because it directly affects the competitiveness of Volvo’s American manufacturing operations in the global economy.
“Like any other manufacturer, we rely on a vast supply chain and our nation’s interconnected network of roads, airports, inland waterways and ports to support and supply our operations,” said Susan Alt, senior vice president for public affairs for Volvo Group North America and former head of the company’s North American supply chain operations.
“Just in time” and lean manufacturing philosophies in recent years have benefited Volvo, its customers and the overall economy, Alt noted. “However, to be efficient we must have the right material, at the right time, at the right place, and in the exact amount needed in the production cycle.”
While the company can plan for some uncontrollable events that impact delivery times, it can’t plan for unexpected delays due to traffic congestion, Alt told the subcommittee. “This is where we get in real trouble - when a truck is caught in a traffic jam and can’t make his delivery. The ripple effect of one late delivery can be costly. It means we don’t build the product on time – tying up capital; it means the product will be re-worked – tying up man-hours and not following normal quality production; it means sending workers home early; it means not delivering to a customer on time and hurting our competitiveness…all because of that one missed shipment.”
While transportation infrastructure is serving the supply chain adequately today, it’s not well-positioned for the future, Alt said. “Highway infrastructure continues to age without a systematic program to modernize key interstate networks; traffic is returning to peak levels that we have not experienced since before 2008 and we are gradually experiencing economic growth with a strong emphasis on exports.”
MAP-21 represented an important step toward reforming transportation policy, but “a full six-year, well-funded reauthorization is needed to address the persistent challenges that are already well-documented and recognized as problems facing our transportation system,” Alt told the subcommittee.
A critical concern is traffic congestion, Alt said, sharing one example from Volvo’s experience at its southwest Virginia plant located along I-81. Until a third truck lane was added, a stretch of mountains near Blacksburg, Va., was the site of many accidents, resulting in frequent delivery delays and production disruptions for the plant, she said. “Since the opening of the third lane, we have a marked improvement in on-time deliveries from that route. This is a real world savings that directly benefits our customers, as well as the safety of the driving public.”
Other witnesses at the hearing were Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb, testifying on behalf of the American Assn. of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and Palos Hill, Ill., Mayor Gerald Bennett, testifying on behalf of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.
- Being A Woman Organizer Isn’t Easy
- Mobile Rail Workers Win, Wobblies Organize Worldwide
- International (Working) Women’s Day
- Staughton Lynd: A Tribute To Rosa Luxemburg
- Jane LaTour: Toward Equal Employment For Women
- Addressing Sexual Violence In The IWW
Download a Free PDF of this issue.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union has issued a 9.5 Rights Enforcement Packet to make it easier to enforce your protections against excessive overtime.
Here are the ABCs of enforcing your 9.5 rights. Download the 9.5 Rights Enforcement Packet for the detailed explanation.
The ABCs of Enforcing Your 9.5 Rights
- Step 1. Document Your Excessive Overtime. Use the 9.5 Rights Documentation Form to document any work week in which you work over 9.5 hours on three days.
- Step 2. Tell your Center Manager you want to be on the 9.5 List. Fill out and turn in a 9.5 Opt-In List Request Form. Make sure to bring your steward with you.
- Step 3: Report a 9.5 Violation. Once you are on the 9.5 list, keep track of any work week in which you work more than 9.5 hours three times. Take your steward and report the 9.5 violation to the manager. Depending on the situation, an appropriate next step would be adjusting your load, triple time pay for hours worked over 9.5 hours in a day, or agreement to pay the triple time penalty on the next violation.
- Step 4 (if necessary): If your center manager doesn’t resolve the problem, file a grievance. The grievance should state that management violated Article 37 by working a driver on the 9.5 Opt-In list more than 9.5 hours, three times in one work week. The remedy should state: Pay triple time for all hours worked over 9.5 during the week. Adjust drivers’ load. Cease and desist from working driver over 9.5. Make whole in every way.
Click here to download the complete 9.5 Rights Enforcement Packet which includes a guide to enforcing your rights and forms to use to document your case.
Are you having trouble enforcing your 9.5 rights or getting action on your grievances? Click here to contact TDU today.Issues: UPS
Saturday, March 15
10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
CUNY Law School, 2 Court Square, Long Island City, NY
Join Teamsters for a day of union education and strategizing about rebuilding union power.
All members who register in advance are automatically entered in a drawing to win tickets to an upcoming Rangers or Knicks-Nets game. (You must be in attendance to win.)
Workshops include: Dealing with Difficult Supervisors, Investigating Disciplinary Grievances, Shop Steward Training, Running for Local Union Office, What it Takes to Win Your Case in Arbitration or at the Grievance Panel, and more!
Register in advance for just $20. Includes lunch. Onsite registration is $25.
Join TDU! A one-year membership costs $40 and includes free conference registration for first-time members plus five entries into raffle drawing.
Call NY TDU at 718-287-3283 to register today or get more information.
Or complete this form and we’ll contact you.Issues: TDU
Bus drivers in northern Vermont have voted 53-4 to strike against unsafe conditions, surveillance and discipline, and part-time status. The walkout is set for March 10.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.Issues: Bus Drivers
February 28, 2014: YRCW announced their 2013 annual and fourth quarter numbers and it’s clear that the regional carriers are pulling their weight. Operating profits were up to $22.7 million in 2013 for the regionals – Holland, New Penn, and Reddaway - while YRC Freight posted a 2013 loss of $15.4 million. YRC claimed losses due to weather, workers’ compensation claims, and weaker rates.
In late 2013, Jeff Rogers was removed as president of YRC Freight. He has been replaced by Darren Hawkins – formerly senior VP of sales and marketing at the company. CEO James Welch had held the post briefly prior to the change.
Upper management clearly needs a better plan to right the ship at YRC Freight. Teamster members have made countless sacrifices since 2009. James Welch needs to stop pointing fingers like he did in his February 14 letter to Teamsters. The focus needs to be on issues with YRC Freight management and operations – not the thousands of Teamsters who have done their part.Freight
New records obtained by the Defending Dissent Foundation prove that the United States Army used a multi-agency spy network to gather intelligence on nonviolent, antiwar protesters and to disseminate their findings to both the FBI and local police departments.
Activists filed a lawsuit against Thomas Rudd and John Towery — Panagacos v. Towery — in 2007, alleging that the U.S. Army had directed operatives to infiltrate and collect information about the activist movement in the Washington area.
According to the newly released documents, the U.S. Army paid Towery, a Criminal Information and Systems Officer, to spy on the antiwar group Port Militarization Resistance (PMR), as well as the Students for a Democratic Society, the Industrial Workers of the World, and Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Feb 26, 2014: Local 745 members held a TDU meeting in El Paso, Texas to talk about enforcing their contracts, the future of the union and rebuilding Teamster Power.
Teamsters in El Paso are members of Local 745 in Dallas which is 635 miles away!
That kind of distance takes the “local” right out of local union. So members decided to cook up some Teamster Unity of their own and organized a TDU meeting in El Paso on Feb. 22.
The meeting was organized by Teamsters at UPS and UPS Freight. Different generations of Teamsters came together with the common goal of building a stronger union for the future.
Members shared strategies for dealing with contract violations, including seniority, supervisors working, excessive overtime and production harassment.
How to stop concessions at UPS and UPS Freight was another hot topic.
“When we spoke up at the contract vote here in El Paso, they told us, ‘If you don’t like it, get out of the union,’” one UPS Freight Teamster said. “No way are we getting out of the Union. We’re getting even more involved.”
Rebuilding Teamster Power by informing and involving members. That’s what TDU is all about.
Click here to read more about TDU: Who We Are, What We’ve Won, Where We Stand.
Active and retired Teamsters in northeast Ohio are organizing a meeting for Saturday, March 8 to address pension issues. The meeting is sponsored by TDU and will be held at the Days Inn - Richfield at 10 am. Ann Curry Thompson, an attorney well versed in pension law, will be a guest speaker.
The meeting comes in response to Congress considering changes to pension law. Teamsters are encouraged to invite co-workers and spouses to learn more about possible cuts for those already retired or soon to be.
Details are available on this flier.Issues: TDUPension and Benefits
I recently read that Gap plans to raise its wage to $10 by the end of next year. Yet, Walmart, the country’s largest retailer, has failed to act while many of its 1.3 million workers are barely scraping by. We all know Walmart can do better, but is choosing not to. That’s why I call on you to pay Walmart workers a minimum of $25,000 a year so they are not forced to rely on government assistance.Why Act Now:
Tell Walmart it can’t claim to be neutral on raising the minimum wage when despite its massive profits last year, it chooses to pay its employees so little that many are forced to rely on tax-payer programs. It’s time to take responsibility and start providing decent jobs.
For more than two years, workers at Walmart have been bravely standing up for change at the retail Goliath. The company has sought to silence these workers by targeting and firing many of those who speak out. Workers have bravely gone on strike to protest this retaliation and Walmart is now facing prosecution by the National Labor Relations Board for this illegal intimidation.
While workers have made significant progress at the store-level in many locations, Walmart corporate continues to focus on shiny PR ads about opportunity in the company, rather than creating quality job. By the company’s own admission, most workers make less than $25,000 a year. Most deal with erratic work schedules and inadequate hours on top of low pay.
Worst of all, Walmart can afford to do better, but it chooses not to.
Despite its $17 billion in profits last year, it chooses to pay its employees so little that many are forced to rely on tax-payer programs. In fact, last November Fortune demonstrated how Walmart could afford to raise workers’s wages by 50% without hurting the business. Similarly, Demos concluded that Walmart could afford to give workers a “substantial raise.”
Click here to sign the petition.
Issues: Labor Movement
Last Friday, UPS Teamsters in Local 710 Voted No by 73% to reject a weak contract, which was patterned after the national agreement. The Local 710 ballot stated it was a strike authorization vote. But there will not be any strike. Why?
Because the “strike vote” was only a scare tactic to try to coerce members into accepting a contract they didn’t want. Hoffa and Hall have threatened to use the same scare tactics on the next contract vote in Philadelphia and in Western Pennsylvania.
UPS wants no part of a strike especially coming on the heels of the company’s Christmas season PR problems.
Any strike would be devastating to UPS. Brown has an integrated delivery network and cannot function without the packages that go through Chicago, the Louisville Worldport hub or the Philadelphia Airport Hub.
This gives our union leverage. But instead of using a strike threat against the company, Hoffa and Hall are turning it around as a scare tactic against the members.
The scare tactic didn’t work with the 6,000 members of Local 710, across Illinois, Northern Indiana, and Davenport, Iowa. Now will Hoffa and Hall try the same tactic in Pennsylvania?
Western Pa, Philadelphia, Louisville to Meet
Ken Hall has directed the union negotiating committees Western Pa, Philadelphia and Louisville to meet in Ft. Lauderdale during the National Grievance Panel meetings next week to discuss their unresolved supplements or rider, and their outstanding issues.
It’s time for Hall to back up these Teamsters, instead of continuing to use lies and scare tactics against them.Issues: UPS
U.S. safety regulators examining the fatal crash of a United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) jet last year highlighted the dangers of pilot fatigue, a pivotal issue for the cargo crews who often fly overnight.
Documents released by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board yesterday showed that the captain had complained about an arduous nighttime schedule, while the co-pilot didn’t take full advantage of a chance to rest before their shift began. Both pilots died in a failed pre-dawn landing on Aug. 14.
The strain of toggling between a daytime lifestyle and flying after dark can dull crew members’ responses in critical situations, said Bill Waldock, who teaches accident investigation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Safety officials said the pilots of UPS Flight 1354 made errors as they tried to touch down in Birmingham, Alabama.
“We’re basically daytime animals,” Waldock said in a telephone interview from Prescott, Arizona. “We like to be awake in the daytime and sleep at night. For a lot of people, it’s hard to flip-flop that.”
UPS, the world’s biggest package-delivery company, and FedEx Corp., operator of the largest cargo airline, do much of their flying at night, when there is less competition for airspace with passenger carriers. About two-thirds of UPS’s volume moves on night flights, said Jeff Wafford, a spokesman.Pilot Shifts
Nighttime and overnight flying is more challenging because pilots probably try to maintain a normal daytime routine when they’re not on duty, said Bob Mann, a former American Airlines executive who is now president of aviation consultant R.W. Mann & Co. in Port Washington, New York.
“That’s true whether you’re a general aviation pilot or a daytime airline pilot or a nighttime cargo airline pilot,” Mann said by phone.
Cargo carriers aren’t subject to more-stringent U.S. work and rest rules that took effect Jan. 4 for pilots on passenger airlines. Atlanta-based UPS said its maximum domestic workday for pilots is 13.5 hours, within the 16-hour limit set for freight operations by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
While shift work has long been linked with safety and health risks, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pilots flying irregular hours operate in an environment with far less room for error -- and much graver consequences -- than in most other occupations.Bounced Landing
NTSB investigators cited pilot fatigue in the 2009 accident on a World Airways jet flying 168 U.S. soldiers home from Iraq. The bounced landing in Baltimore destroyed the plane, and severely injured one person. Pilots also were tired on the Colgan Air turboprop that crashed near Buffalo, New York, in 2009 and killed 50 people, according to the NTSB, which stopped short of blaming fatigue for that accident.
UPS’s Flight 1354, an Airbus A300-600F, hit a hillside cloaked in darkness less than 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, breaking apart and bursting into flames at 4:47 a.m. local time.
Documents and testimony at yesterday’s hearing in Washington showed several mistakes as the pilots attempted to touch down at Runway 18, which is 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) shorter than the alternate strip. That runway also lacked an instrument-landing system that helps position planes when darkness or clouds obscure the crew’s vision.
“If you’re chronically fatigued, you’re more likely to make a mistake,” said Embry-Riddle’s Waldock. “If they were already fatigued and flying on autopilot, it might have lulled them into thinking they were a little further out.”Schedule Strain
UPS Captain Cerea Beal told a fellow pilot within a day of the crash that “the schedules are killing him and he could not keep this up,” according to records released by the NTSB.
While copilot Shanda Fanning, 37, went off duty at 6:15 a.m. the day before the accident and didn’t report to work until shortly before 9 p.m., she could have been asleep no more than 5 1/2 hours, according to an NTSB analysis of her schedule. Hotel and witness records showed she left her room for most of the day, according to the NTSB.
Beal, 58, had been off duty for seven days before reporting to work on Aug. 12, according to the records. He had called in sick on Aug. 9 at the same time he was attending a family reunion, according to the records.
“Even though the duty time seems reasonable, because it is on the back side of the clock, it is very possible to not get proper rest when you are off during the day,” said Kit Darby, who runs Kit Darby Aviation Consulting in Peachtree City, Georgia. “So you are tired no matter what.”Pilots’ Responsibility
Pilots are responsible for reporting to work rested and able to fly, Darby said.
Freight carriers are exempt from the new standards for passenger pilots, whose maximum work shifts were capped at a range of nine to 14 hours instead of 16. Passenger-airline pilots flying late at night, crossing multiple time zones or making numerous takeoffs and landings were restricted the most.
The pilots union at UPS has lobbied Congress and sued the FAA to extend the new rest rules to cargo airlines. While UPS said its analysis showed Flight 1354’s pilots would have complied with new passenger-carrier rules, the NTSB said that review didn’t take into account any previous multiday trips.
“I don’t understand, with the FAA’s stated intent that there be a single level for safety within the industry, why it only applies to the passenger side,” Mann said. “Its failure to bind the cargo industry to that goal seems out of line.”
The NTSB echoed that call yesterday, saying it has urged U.S. aviation regulators to apply the new fatigue standards to cargo operations.
“There is no reason to exempt pilots simply because they are carrying pallets rather than passengers,” NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said in a press conference after the hearing in Washington. Pilots flying in the wee hours “are even more susceptible to being fatigued.”Issues: UPS
By Transcona Slim, The Winnipeg Wobbly
The IWW’s Organizer Training 101 (OT101) is fundamentally different from any of the union trainings I’ve ever participated in with my business union. In 2010, I went to the United Food and Commercial Workers’ (UFCW) Prairies Youth Activist Retreat. It was five days long and held in a smaller vacation town in Manitoba. We spent the first two days learning the UFCW version of labor history and why we needed to vote for the New Democratic Party (NDP). We had a provincial NDP functionary (the Minister of Justice) come and speak to us about “our” issues. Incidentally, he side-stepped my question about why the NDP cancelled the university tuition freeze. We were told that, because of elections in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, we might be expected to act as volunteers for the NDP’s electoral campaigns and that the skills we learned were going to be put into that project. (Read more)
February 21, 2014. UPS Teamsters in Local 710 have overwhelmingly rejected the deal put forward by their local leadership and UPS management. The vote was 1827 No to 690 Yes.
Local 710 represents some 6,000 UPS Teamsters throughout Illinois (except Chicago), Northern Indiana and Davenport, Iowa, and has a contract separate from the national agreement.
Members feel that the deal too closely resembled the weak national contract (especially on health care) and was even worse in some ways: allowing a “two-tier” clause so that future hires (full-time and part-time) could be scheduled any five days and creating no new full-time jobs.
February 21, 2014: Get the latest news on the third vote on the Ohio Rider, Hoffa-Hall threats against UPSers in Philadelphia and Western PA, the upcoming national grievance panel and the information brownout on the IBT-UPS pension.
UPS Bargaining: Brownout and Threats
The information brownout has reached a new low. UPS Teamsters in Ohio, who have rejected their rider twice, will get a third ballot mailed to them on February 27, without any input or even information about changes to UPS’s offer.
Meanwhile, Hoffa and Hall are using threats and rumors to try to get Teamsters in Western Pennsylvania and Philadelphia to accept their supplements, which members have decisively rejected twice.
Hall’s office is spreading the word that the third vote may be a strike vote, and if members vote to strike, the IBT will not sanction extending picket lines beyond Pennsylvania.
Click here to read more.
UPS National Grievance Panel Set for March
The UPS National Grievance panel will meet in Fort Lauderdale, March 3-6.
The National Grievance Panel Docket is a whopping 116 pages. Subcontracting, the failure of UPS to post and replace full-time 22.3 jobs, and supervisors working are some of the most common violations cited.
Click here to read more.
UPS Pension Limbo Continues
Teamsters who are ready to retire are being held hostage by UPS and the Hoffa-Hall administration.
One of the selling points of the UPS contract was that 50,000 full-time UPSers who get a substandard pension from the IBT-UPS Pension Plan would get a $200 increase, retroactive to August 1.
But UPS Teamsters like Stevie Thomas, who call the IBT- UPS Pension Plan about retiring are being told a different story. Plan reps are still telling members that they have to wait until after the contract is ratified to get the pension increase.
Click here to read more about why they won't help Stevie retire.Issues: UPS