Teamsters for a Democratic Union
July 1, 2015: The UPS Package Division has launched a public campaign to call on UPS to drop its support for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), because of ALEC’s extreme anti-union and anti-worker lobbying.
In documents sent to all locals today, the IBT asks locals to post the leaflet on union bulletin boards.
ALEC is notorious for not only supporting, but actually writing, anti-union laws such as “Right to Work,” along with laws attacking the rights of teachers to join unions, and laws attacking worker safety. Then ALEC uses its money to get laws passed in state legislatures. It is funded by a number of major corporations, including UPS and FedEx.
UPS Among Many Teamster Employers
SourceWatch lists corporations which fund and support ALEC. Major Teamster employers listed include Anheuser Busch, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, CN Railroad, Crown Cork and Seal, CSX, Honeywell, J.R. Simplot, Marathon Oil, Norfolk Southern, and Waste Management, among others.
It is not clear if the IBT intends to take the campaign to these companies, or if Ken Hall is using the UPS campaign to bolster his sagging fortunes among UPS Teamsters.
The IBT notes that some Teamster employers have joined the many companies which have dumped support for ALEC in recent years, including PepsiCo and Coca Cola.Issues: UPS
June 29, 2015: Teamsters and retirees across the union are battling to save our earned pension credits. If Hoffa's on our side, here's how he can show it.
On June 18, 150 retirees converged on Washington to support the introduction of the Keep Our Pension Promises Act.
Hoffa serves on the board of the NCMMP, which drafted and lobbied for the pension cut legislation. But he sent International VP John Murphy to the Capitol on June 18 to support its repeal.
If Hoffa is serious about protecting our pensions, he needs to show it with action, not just words.
Three Simple Steps Hoffa can Take Right Now
- Post an Open Letter to the Central States Trustees and Director, asking them to temporarily hold off initiating pension cuts, and back our work on the Promises Act.
- Send a letter to all U.S. Local Unions and retiree clubs, asking them to voice support to all US Senators and Congressional Reps in their respective areas. And ask them to call on Central States Trustees to do the right thing.
- Send a blast email calling on all Teamsters and retirees to join this fight.
So far, we have not seen these minimal, low-cost steps taken. We call upon the Hoffa administration to take action now. And then go on to help mobilize for a mass mobilization in Washington D.C.
Teamsters and retirees are working together with allies to save our pensions. We expect our International union to be on our side – with actions, as well as press releases.
Sysco Corp. pulled out of a $3.5 billion acquisition of US Foods after a federal judge blocked the takeover. Sysco now faces a $300 million breakup fee payment to US Foods as well as $12.5 million fee to Performance Food Group, which had agreed to buy some US Foods facilities.
Sysco intends to buy back $3 billion in shares over the next two years.
The Federal Trade Commission in February said it would seek a court order to prevent a merger because it would “eliminate significant competition in the marketplace.”
Last week, U.S. Judge Amit Mehta issued the order blocking the deal. Sysco said earlier it likely would pull out of a deal if such an order was issued.
Sysco and US Foods together operate more than 13,000 trucks, which ranks them among the largest private fleets in the United States. Sysco ranks No. 2 and US Foods ranks No. 5 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
A combined Sysco-US Foods would have created a national broadline food-service distributor with an estimated 75% share of the market for goods supplied to such large customers as restaurant and hotel chains, hospitals and schools, FTC said. The FTC said the deal would result in higher prices due to reduced competition.
Sysco had fought for more than a year to gain government approval for the transaction, arguing that the deal would bring $1 billion in savings, letting it offer lower prices to customers.
Senate appropriators on June 25 voted to include a provision that would allow the use of twin 33-foot trailers nationwide in a fiscal 2016 transportation funding bill. The provision, introduced as an amendment sponsored by Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, was adopted by a vote of 16 to 14, mostly along party lines. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) voted favorably on the amendment, while Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) opposed it.
Click here to read more at Transport Topics
FedEx and UPS Use Election Spending, Lobbying and Backdoor Tactics to Push for Weaker Truck Safety Rules
A freight industry-created coalition that is using backdoor tactics to weaken truck safety rules has spent tens of millions of dollars on elections and lobbying in the past two election cycles, a Public Citizen analysis shows.
The new Coalition for Efficient and Responsible Trucking (CERT) is seeking to place a rider on congressional funding bills to overturn state laws prohibiting larger and heavier trucks. Other riders permit already overworked truck drivers to work longer hours and block stronger insurance requirements.
Click here to read more at Public Citizen.
Sysco Corp.’s planned $3.5 billion takeover of US Foods Inc. was blocked by a federal judge, who said a merger of the food distribution giants would probably reduce competition and raise prices for hotels and restaurants. The Federal Trade Commission’s request to delay the proposed merger was granted by a federal judge in Washington on June 23. The case now shifts to the FTC’s in-house administrative court, where the agency will seek to permanently block the deal.
Click here to read more at Transport Topics.
June 24, 2015: TDU members are joining the petition drive to give Teamsters a choice in the 2016 International Union election. Find out more and how you can help.
Teamster members want a choice against Hoffa-Hall so we can elect new International Union leadership next year. Now we’re taking action to make it happen and TDU members are all-in.
Tim Sylvester and the Teamsters United Slate have launched an Accreditation Petition Drive to collect a minimum of 50,000 petition signatures from Teamsters across North America by August 15.
Once the petition drive is completed, Tim Sylvester and Teamsters United will be certified by the Election Supervisor as official accredited candidates against Hoffa-Hall.
As accredited candidates, Tim Sylvester and Teamsters United will be allowed to publish information about their campaign in future issues of the Teamster magazine—free mailings to 1.3 million Teamsters.
As accredited candidates, the Teamsters United campaign will also get a copy of the Teamster membership list which will be used to support slates in the elections for Convention Delegate next year.
Just as important, the petition drive is a tool for reaching out to Teamster voters. It will take 200,000 votes to win the election next year. That means building a Teamster-to-Teamster volunteer network that can reach 200,000 members and talk to them about the election, our union and why they should vote for the Teamsters United Slate.
If you want new leadership and a new direction, sign up with Teamsters United to be a petition drive volunteer.
For information on election rules and how to participate in the petition drive, contact TDU or phone us at 313-842-2600.Issues: Hoffa Watch
Six months after Congress approved reducing benefits promised to workers covered by certain troubled pension plans, the IRS and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. have published proposed rules for how pension promises can be broken.
Tucked into the last-minute budget compromise signed by President Barack Obama in December, the pension legislation is of most interest to about 1.5 million workers and retirees covered by multiemployer pension plans that could run out of money in the next 15 or 20 years.
Click here to read more at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.Issues: Pension and Benefits
Mike Walden used a baseball metaphor in describing the introduction Thursday of federal legislation that would, if passed, eliminate pension cut provisions that are now law and could impact more than a million people in upcoming years.
“This is just spring training for a rally in the future,” said Walden, a retired Teamster truck driver from Cuyahoga Falls and head of a Northeast Ohio organization dedicated to repealing major parts, if not all, of the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014. The law allows financially troubled multiemployer pension plans to cut benefits to current retirees, primarily union.
Click here to read more at the Akron Beacon Journal.Issues: Pension and Benefits
June 18, 2015: Some 150 retired and active Teamsters stood proud at the Capitol as the Keep our Pension Promises Act was introduced in the US House and Senate. Frank Bryant, a UPS retiree from North Carolina, addressed the crowd, following remarks by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).
The bill is a product of efforts by the Teamster pension movement and our allies like the Pension Rights Center, that have been working tirelessly for the past year to head off pension cuts in the Central States Fund and a number of smaller Teamster funds in the northeast.
The proposed law would repeal the pension cut law passed as a sneaky amendment to the budget bill last December, and would provide a “legacy fund” within the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to help participants in pension funds where companies have left the pension system because of bankruptcy, deregulation, or moving offshore.
The PBGC is supposed to protect workers’ earned pensions, but is woefully inadequate and underfunded. The proposed law would close certain corporate tax loopholes to ensure funding.
“The fight for this bill is just starting,” said Butch Lewis who attended today and was also part of a delegation that visited the offices of Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman. “We will keep building the pension movement and we will be back in DC in force to make sure this legislation comes to a vote.”
Retirees and Teamsters came to Washington from a number of states, many bringing signs, banners and T-Shirts from their committees. The Pension Rights Center provided full support and expertise, and will continue to do so.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) has supported and provided organizational back up for this movement, and will continue to do so until victory is won, and pensions are protected.
The International Union, which helped fund the lobbying group which wrote the pension-cut law, issued a statement today supporting the Keep our Pension Promises Act. The trustees of the Central States Pension Fund – Teamster officials and management alike – supported the pension-cut bill and continues on its website to attack the movement to protect pensions.Issues: Pension and Benefits
June 18, 2015: Teamster retirees from across the Midwest and South at the US Senate this morning to support the Keep Our Pension Promises Act.Issues: Pension and Benefits
Ohio congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Bernie Sanders offer new legislation to repeal private pension cut provisions
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, are introducing legislation Thursday to repeal pension cut provisions in the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014.
The act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in December, would allow significant pension payment cuts to hundreds of thousands of retirees — primarily retired union members — covered by troubled and severely underfunded multiemployer plans.
Click here to read more at the Akron Beacon Journal.Issues: Pension and Benefits
In what could be an explosive decision, the California Labor Commission has found that a driver for Uber in San Francisco is an employee of the company. That’s from aruling filed in state court on Tuesday and first reported by Reuters. It’s pretty damning. “Defendants hold themselves out as nothing more than a neutral technological platform, designed simply to enable drivers and passengers to transact the business of transportation,” the commission writes. “The reality, however, is that Defendants are involved in every aspect of the operation.”
The driver, Barbara Berwick, has been awarded roughly $4,000 in unpaid expenses, plus interest. Uber is appealing the ruling. The company didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Click here to read more at Slate.Issues: Labor Movement
June 16, 2015: Teamsters are converging on the Capitol on June 18 to support the “Keep our Pension Promises Act” which will be introduced that day in the US Senate and House.
By cars, vans, and busses retirees and active Teamsters form North Carolina, Ohio, New York, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, and other states will stand with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and Senator Bernie Sanders, who are the initial sponsors of the act.
If you want to be present this Thursday morning, you can RSVP to the Pension Right Center and you can contact TDU at 313-842-2600 for all the details.
Also present will be union leaders and advocates for retirees and seniors, who are joining together behind this bill.
The Keep our Pension Promises Act would provide protection for workers who earned pensions through a lifetime of honest work and now face cuts that may be imposed under the pension-cut law that sneaked through last December as an amendment to the federal budget.
“This is about protecting promises made to thousands of retirees and active workers,” said Mike Walden who will be there from Akron, Ohio. “We’re there to make our voices felt, and to visit the offices of our representatives to urge them to get on board.“
The Keep our Pension Promises Act would provide relief through a “legacy fund” in the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
Millions of workers in many pension plans may be affected by cuts that could hit soon. The largest group is the Central States Fund, but there are a number of Teamster funds in the New York and New Jersey area that are also under the gun.
Here is the press advisory from the Senator.Pension and Benefits
A union representing Walt Disney World performers is challenging a policy forbidding them from revealing online or in print media what characters they portray.
The company has long discouraged its entertainers from advertising which princesses or animated animals they play in the theme parks.
Click here to read more at the Orlando Sentinel.Issues: Labor Movement
FedEx Corp. has agreed to pay $228 million to settle long-running lawsuits in California that challenged the status of workers at its Ground unit, who are classified as contractors by the company. The company’s announcement involves litigation that is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Plaintiffs in that case alleged that the workers at FedEx Ground were employees because of the extent of the company’s control over their activities.
Click here to read more at Transport Topics.
President Barack Obama's administration could soon increase wages for millions of American workers by doubling the salary levels that would require employers to pay overtime. The bold move, to be discussed later this week, would not need approval from the Republican-controlled Congress.
The Labor Department could propose the rule as early as this week; it would raise the current overtime threshold of $23,660 to an expected range of $45,000 to $52,000, Politico reported Monday.
Click here to read more.Issues: Labor Movement
The National Transportation Safety Board on June 8 issued a recommendation that collision avoidance systems be standard equipment on all new cars and commercial trucks. The recommendation was contained in a new NTSB investigative report, “The Use of Forward Collision Avoidance Systems to Prevent and Mitigate Rear-End Crashes,” that said deployment of the technology would prevent or lessen the severity of rear-end crashes, mitigating more than 80% of the 1,700 deaths and half-million injuries each year in the United States.
Click here to read more at Transport Topics.
June 4, 2015: Teamster and employer negotiators met today to exchange initial proposals, with bargaining set to begin on June 10. The union’s proposals are available here. The contract expires on August 31.
The union’s initial proposals cover a number of important working conditions and competitive rates issues (Article 22), but not proposals on wages, pension, health benefits and other monetary issues. Those will be addressed later in bargaining.
Bargaining has barely started but Hoffa is already putting politics ahead of the contract.
The union committee chosen by James Hoffa and Carhaul Director Kevin Moore omits leaders from important locals, including Local 89, one of the largest carhaul locals, and St Louis Local 604. The leaders of those locals – Fred Zuckerman and John Thyer – are candidates on the Teamsters United slate.
Some 300 carhaul members joined a Teamsters United conference call last month to discuss the contract and upcoming election, and to form a national contract solidarity network among carhaulers.
Get involved in the fight to save our contract and our union.Issues: Carhaul