Teamsters for a Democratic Union
Teamster members across the country are organizing for new leadership and a new direction in our International Union.
In the last International Union election, the opposition forces were divided.
This time Local 804 President Tim Sylvester, Local 89 President Fred Zuckerman and other Teamster leaders are building a coalition effort that is uniting Teamsters, including former Hoffa supporters, in one movement for a stronger union.
Get involved with Teamster officers and members who are building a movement to elect new International Union leadership and rebuild Teamster power.
Click here to RSVP for the March 14 meeting in NYC.
Or "join" the event on Facebook.
Click here to RSVP for the March 15 meeting in Worcester.
Or "join" the event on Facebook.
Email takebackourunion2016 [at] gmail.com if you have any questions about the meetings.
February 25, 2015: "The weather was cold yesterday but the crowd came together for the first rally of the growing protest against the latest attack on workers and the Middle class in Wisconsin," says Local 200 retiree and TDU Steering Committee member Dan Campbell.
Click here to read more on the new threat of 'right-to-work' legislation in Wisconsin.
Whit Wyatt of Washington Court House worked as a teamster truck driver for 33 years. Now Whit and his wife Barb have a comfortable retirement living on Whit's teamster pension and social security.
But Wyatt is one of hundreds of thousands of union retirees who may soon see severe cuts to their monthly pension checks. “I've planned my life around my guaranteed pension and it just looks like that's going to be taken away," Wyatt said.
Click here to read more.Issues: Pension and Benefits
February 23, 2015: Teamsters in Ohio are joining the movement for change in the International union. Ben Sizemore, A YRC driver in Local 407 told the Cleveland meeting yesterday “We’re goin’ to smoke ‘em in the election next year.”
Teamsters from Columbus Local 413 braved nasty weather this past Saturday to hear Tim Sylvester, Fred Zuckerman, and their own local President Tony Jones, lay out their ideas and plans for taking back the IBT for the rank and file membership. 75 Teamsters attended, from various shops and crafts. Members talked about the downhill slide in Teamster contracts and Teamster power during Hoffa’s 16 years in office.
Cleveland-Akron Teamsters came out on Sunday from Locals 24, 407, 964, 377, along with Teamsters from Western Pennsylvania. The room was wall-to-wall solidarity and unity of purpose: building a strong movement to restore Teamster power and pride.
February 23, 2015: Starting wages for Walmart workers will soon match starting pay for part-timers at UPS. What’s wrong with this picture?
Walmart announced it is raising its minimum wage to $9 an hour and that starting pay will be hiked to $10 an hour in February 2016.
That means wages at Walmart, the nation’s biggest exploiter of low-wage labor, will match starting pay at UPS under our union’s biggest contract. That’s just embarrassing.
Even worse, the contract inked this year by Hoffa and Hall freezes starting pay for part-timers at the $10 level through 2018. Minimum wages are already higher than that in several cities—and many states and even the federal government are considering minimum wage hikes that would top $10 an hour.
Of course, it’s true that UPS part-timers get benefits, union protection and guaranteed annual raises that Walmart workers do not. But UPS part-timers also do back-breaking work and are guaranteed just three-and-a-half hours of work a shift.
Anyway you slice it, part-time starting pay at UPS is a scandal.
Walmart executives aren’t raising wages out of the goodness of their hearts. They are doing it to combat turnover and because the company has been the target of a nationwide grassroots campaign by workers, labor unions and community groups.
The Teamsters Union backs this campaign—and we should. But we should also be taking care of business in our own backyard, starting with UPS. A company that hauls in $4 billion a year in profits shouldn’t be paying anyone $10 an hour.
It’s time to End Part-Time Poverty from Walmart to UPS.
Railway labor troubles are continuing in Canada.
Unifor, a labor union that represents about 4,800 workers at Canadian National Railway, said it will begin strike votes next week after five months of talks failed to produce an agreement.
Click here to read more at Transport Topics.
Labor Secretary Tom Perez directed the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union to reach a tentative contract deal today or face the prospect of talks next week in Washington’s politically charged environment, news services reported.
Perez was dispatched to San Francisco earlier this week by President Obama to resolve the long-running talks, which now are in their 10th month. Negotiations involve 20,000 workers who handle about half of U.S. containerized freight at 29 West Coast ports.
Click here to read more.
A federal judge late Tuesday approved a landmark settlement that will phase out and end the government’s oversight and 25-year consent decree to keep mob influence out of the 1.4 million-member union.
Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said in a four-page ruling that a “thorough review of the final agreement and order reveals that the settlement must be approved.” She added that “there is no doubt that the decree is procedurally proper, that its terms are clear, that it reflects a resolution of the claims at issue, and that it is untainted by collusion or corruption.”
Click here to read more are The Detroit News.Issues: Labor Movement
A strike by about 3,000 locomotive engineers and conductors at the Canadian Pacific Railway unexpectedly ended on Monday, its second day, as both sides agreed to arbitration. The announcement came about half an hour before a bill was to be introduced in Parliament ordering the members of the union, the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, back to work.
Canadian Pacific said the “ramp-up process” to resume train service had begun. Though it could not say precisely how long that would take, a spokesman, Martin Cej, said “it will be fast.”
Click here to read more at The New York Times.Issues: Rail
Dennis Pierce, National President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and President of the Teamsters Rail Conference (U.S.), blasted Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) today for its growing culture of threats and intimidation toward its employees in the U.S. and Canada. Pierce commented following CP’s issuance of a letter to the BLET representatives on its U.S. operations, Soo Line and the Delaware & Hudson.
In those notices, CP threatened its U.S.-based locomotive engineers who work into Canada with disciplinary action, even termination, if they refuse to cross picket lines manned by their legally striking Canadian Brothers and Sisters belonging to Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC).
Click here to read more.Issues: Rail
With idled cargo ships piling up along the coastline, President Obama ordered his labor secretary to California to try to head off a costly shutdown of 29 West Coast ports.
Obama dispatched Tom Perez on Saturday to jump-start stalled labor talks between shipping companies and the dockworkers' union. The move ramps up pressure to resolve a dispute that stranded tens of thousands of containers on cargo ships over the holiday weekend.
Click here to read more at Los Angeles Times.Issues: Labor Movement
Bill Hendershot and his wife live on his union pension and Social Security. Hendershot, a retired Consolidated Freightways long-distance truck driver, gets around now in a 12-year-old Toyota Corolla. The couple still pay a mortgage on their home in Canal Fulton.
And he’s among a huge group of union retirees nationwide who could see their monthly private pension payments cut as much as 60 percent under a national reform measure signed into law in December by President Barack Obama.
Click here to read more.Issues: Pension and Benefits
Judge reserves decision on deal to end fed consent order.
Click here to read more.Issues: Labor Movement Files ConsentOrderHearing.pdf
Terminal operators at ports along the U.S. West Coast will, for the second time in less than a week, suspend vessel loadings amid a labor dispute with dockworkers.
Vessel loadings and unloadings will be stopped Feb. 12 and again Feb. 14-16, the Pacific Maritime Association, a San Francisco-based group representing employers in the negotiations with longshoremen, said by e-mail Feb. 11. Association members cited “ongoing and costly” worker slowdowns in their decision to halt vessel traffic. Some yard, gate and rail operations will continue.
Click here to read more at Transport Topics.Issues: Labor Movement
Farmer Brothers, the iconic coffee company based on the border of Torrance and Los Angeles, likes to market a sweet story about how it came to be.
In 1912, Roy E. Farmer thought restaurants should be serving a better cup of coffee, so he started a bean delivery business in the back of his brother's bicycle shop. And from those humble beginnings, the business became a national success, with Farmer later handing the reins to his son.
Click here to read more at the Los Angeles Times.Issues: Labor Movement
Teamsters Canada Rail Conference has given Canadian Pacific Railway 72-hour strike notice, meaning 3,300 locomotive engineers, conductors and other train workers could walk off the job midnight on Saturday.
Union president Doug Finnson is in Montreal this week negotiating with CP, with the help of federal mediation, but says the union has not made headway on issues such as working conditions.
Click here to read more at CBC News.Issues: Rail
If there were a Comeback Player of the Year award for corporate performance, YRC Worldwide might have taken home the trophy for 2014. Not that the $5 billion trucking company is now a superstar — far from it. Rather, such recognition would be testimony to how low YRC had sunk.
After years of finance jockeying that barely kept the company from tripping into bankruptcy, its footing is relatively secure now. A smorgasbord of entwined elements converged in the rescue: a new labor deal, a deft debt restructuring, an equity offering that allowed for debt paydown, an operational downsizing, the improving economy, and plain luck.
Click here to read more.Issues: Freight
Some multiemployer pension fund executives are trying to figure out whether to take advantage of a controversial new reform law that allows potential benefit cuts for participants and retirees. Others are hoping for further reforms to allow for alternative plan designs.
The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 — passed swiftly in December — allows deeply underfunded plans to take unprecedented steps to avoid insolvency but comes with strings attached. It also gives federal regulators some new tactics that could help save troubled multiemployer plans (Pensions & Investments, Dec. 22).
Click here to read more at Pensions & Investments.Issues: Pension and Benefits
This gives our union leverage; it's time to use it: "Driving a truck has been immune to two of the biggest trends affecting U.S. jobs: globalization and automation. A worker in China can't drive a truck in Ohio, and machines can't drive cars."
The top negotiator for West Coast terminal operators and ocean carriers said the region’s docks are nearing “complete gridlock” and raised the prospect of a lockout in as few as five days unless a contract deal is reached.
Pacific Maritime Association President Jim McKenna told reporters productivity has declined 50% because of International Longshore & Warehouse Union slowdowns. As congestion builds, and several dozen ships can’t reach the docks to unload, the union is forcing management’s hand, he said.
The union’s response struck a different tone, saying a deal was “extremely close” after nearly nine months of talks.
PMA presented a new, “best offer” proposal Feb. 4, McKenna said, describing it as “a true goodwill gesture to get the West Coast ports going again.”
The five-year proposal includes 3% higher wages, 11% higher pension benefits and no givebacks. Wages now approach $150,000 annually, and pensions average $80,000 a year, he said.
“We’ve dropped almost all of our remaining issues to help get this settled — and the few issues that remain can be easily resolved,” ILWU President Robert McEllrath said in the statement. “Closing the ports at this point would be reckless and irresponsible.”
The union represents nearly 20,000 workers at 29 West Coast ports.
McKenna stressed that management preferred a settlement and didn’t want to lock out workers. His news conference was the first since talks began nearly nine months ago.
“We are at a critical time right now,” McKenna said during a conference call that lasted nearly an hour. “It can’t keep going on forever. We are trying to give enough notice and lead time for businesses to make the best decisions they can.”
The parties’ six-year contract expired July 1. The recently expired deal was reached without a lockout or strike. In 2002, President George W. Bush had to intervene to stop a 10-day lockout.
“A shutdown is a nuclear option that no one wants to take,” McKenna said. “We will keep talking. The last thing we want is to close this thing down. We are not doing anything rash.”
McEllrath noted that management previously has threatened to shut the ports during the final stage of talks in a reference to 2002. ILWU’s last strike affecting all West Coast ports was in 1971, the union said.
The union’s statement again blamed management for dock problems, which were made worse by the absence of chassis for truckers to move cargo off the docks.
McKenna blamed the union for the slowdowns, saying they weren’t allowing enough workers to report for jobs.
“A lot is at stake here,” McKenna said, noting that trade through West Coast ports accounts for 12% of the U.S. gross domestic product. “It is important for both parties involved and for the nation.”
Customers and industry trade groups ranging from U.S. beef farmers to toy importers have bombarded the parties for months with pleas to resolve their differences so that cargo flows normally again.
A federal mediator has participated in the talks for about one month.
Since May, the parties have acknowledged agreement on two issues – health-care costs and chassis-handling practices. Health-care costs matter because union members could face higher taxes in 2018 under the Affordable Care act.
Chassis are an issue because leasing companies and others have acquired chassis that ocean carriers used to provide. That move injected a new element into chassis supply, since the owners of the equipment now aren’t directly involved in contract talks.