Sunday, January 14, 2018

ACTION ALERT: Tell the U.S. Senate to Protect American Workers’ Pensions

It is vital that Congress address the nation’s growing pension funding crisis.

The BCTGM believes that a legislative solution which provides pension plans with the funding necessary for long-term solvency without forcing trustees to reduce participants’ hard-earned pension benefits would be an important first step.

After careful and comprehensive analysis, the BCTGM has determined that the Butch Lewis Act of 2017 (S.2147) is the most effective legislative proposal to address the pension crisis.

Click here to email your U.S. Senators urging them to support this important legislation.

The legislation, sponsored by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, who is always a champion for workers and retirees, provides an innovative way to strengthen pension plans and avoid retiree benefit reductions. The centerpiece of the legislation is long-term, low-interest loans that would be used to fully pay the benefits of retirees.

Congress must act now to protect against pension benefit cuts! Email your Senators TODAY! 

ABF Freight Announces 2018 Load Team

 ABF Freight has named its 2018 Load Team, an elite group of freight-handling professionals from service centers throughout its North American network.

The 2018 ABF Freight Load Team members and their service centers are: Tony Abitia, Pico Rivera, California; Chester Barr, Atlanta, Georgia; Brock Brogdon, Dallas, Texas; David Brol Juarez, Aurora, Illinois; Mark Buroker, Dayton, Ohio; Eli Carbonell, Miami, Florida; Don Carrick, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Rob Hayes, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Stewart Hennion, Allentown, Pennsylvania; Mike Kennedy, Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Steve Labonte, Enfield, Connecticut; Jim Lewis, South Chicago, Illinois; Jon Lucas, Portland, Oregon; Ben Mascaro, Salt Lake City, Utah; Dean McFarland, Tulsa, Oklahoma; Brian Neuner, Louisville, Kentucky; Jason Patti, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Dan Peoples, Kansas City, Missouri; and Kevin Teague, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“Our Load Team members are an excellent representation of what makes us an industry leader in cargo handling,” said Andy Upchurch, ABF Freight vice president – Service Center Operations. “ABF employees, including our Load Team members, are known for providing superior customer service that includes a daily commitment to deliver freight damage-free and on time, along with a great experience for our customers.”

ABF Freight Load Team members are chosen based on their safety records, their involvement in the Quality Process, their personal integrity and their ability to load trailers in an optimal fashion. ABF Freight established its Load Team in 1994 to honor outstanding performance and draw upon dock employees’ expertise regarding dock procedures, training and equipment.

Teamsters, ABF Address Non-Economic Issues As Negotiations Kick-Off

The Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee met with ABF this week to start negotiations for a new ABF National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA) that would take the place of the current agreement which is set to expire on March 31.

The meetings this week focused primarily on language issues but ABF continues to raise claims that its employee and operating costs are too high. TNFINC however, has made clear that the members are not interested in a concessionary contract.

The parties spent this week trying to resolve some of the less controversial issues.

“Rather than get bogged down right off the bat in what could easily result in a collision, we spent this week trying to resolve some of the less contro- versial issues and made progress in those areas,” said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division and Co-Chairman of TNFINC.

The parties have tentatively agreed on a number of national language articles, including with regard to: Scope of the Agreement; Recognition; Union Shop and Checkoff; Stewards; Protection of Rights; Loss or Damage; Bonds and Insurance; Uniforms; Passengers; Military Leave; Pay Period; Other Services; Posting; Union Activities; Owner Operators; Separation of Employment; Inspection

Privileges and Employer and Employee Identification; Emergency Reopening; Sympathetic Action; Jurisdictional Disputes; Garnishments; and Non- Discrimination. Most of these tentatively agreed upon articles simply remain unchanged from the current contract but according to Soehl, it made sense to initially “pick the low hanging fruit” and get non-controversial items out of the way.

“We remain committed to getting the best possible agreement for our members,” Soehl said.

The parties will reconvene on January 29 to resume negotiations.

Teamsters Union Wins $1 Million Settlement on Behalf of Drivers at YRC Freight

Company Exceeded Permissible Amount of Freight That Can Be Diverted

The Teamsters Union has won a $1 million settlement on behalf of YRC Freight’s road drivers.

The collective bargaining agreement with YRC Freight limits the amount of over-the-road freight that can be put on trains or hauled by non-bargaining unit personnel. The Teamsters Union monitors those amounts. After reviewing the situation and convening a meeting of the committee that monitors compliance, it was determined that the company had in fact exceeded the permissible amounts.

“Our YRC members have an agreement that strongly protects bargaining unit work and work opportunities and the company acknowledged that it diverted more freight than what is allowed,” said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division. “We will always seek to hold employers accountable by making sure they abide by our contracts and agreements.”

After reviewing the records, it was clear that a substantial amount of the diverted freight—carried mostly on rail—was the direct result of extraordinary service and terminal interruptions resulting from hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The committee determined that under the unique circumstances of the matter the company should not be penalized for these “Acts of God.”   Nevertheless, the committee determined that the company still exceeded the maximum road miles that could be hauled on rails and ordered it to pay $1,003,930.00.

YRC Freight will be contacting Teamster local unions to review the lists of drivers who are eligible for the payment.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

UPS And UPS Freight Contract Negotiations Beginning - Get Involved!

UPS and UPS Freight Contract Negotiations will kick off in late January

For an update on the process of negotiations and what you can do to
be involved please join Denis Taylor, Director, IBT Package Division, for
a conference call on Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 6 pm eastern time.

You can join by dialing into the number below. You can also sign up at and we will call you and join you to the conference call. Please encourage your fellow members to join this call as well. We must all work together to deliver the strong contract Teamster members deserve.

 WHAT: UPS and UPS Freight Contract
 Negotiations Update Call

 WHEN: Sunday, January 28, 6 pm eastern time

 HOW: Dial into 877-327-9495 and enter pin 111566
 at 6 pm eastern time to be joined to call or go to to register for the call
 and we will call you when the call begins.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Senator Tina Smith Meets With Retirees About Pension Problem

U.S. Senator Tina Smith hit the ground running in the Northland and an important item on her agenda was meeting with retired Teamsters to find a solution to an impending pension problem.

"Some of us for 40 years have made weekly contributions into the Central States Pension Fund," Sherman Liimatainen, the Director of the Minnesota Duluth Committee to Protect Pensions, said.  "they depended on it, we depended on it as our living when we chose to retire after years of service."

The issue they're facing could be devastating.

"They have asked us to take a 60% cut on our pensions," Liimatainen said.

Over $1 billion of pensions for thousands of Minnesotans in the Central States Pension Fund are at risk for being lost.

"These retirees represent about 21,000 teamsters who have paid into a pension their entire working careers and now they find themselves being told that that pension that they counted on, might not be there," Smith said.

The National United Committee to Protect Pensions is proposing a bill that would help save the pensions and Smith plans on backing it.

"Over the next couple of weeks there's going to be a big debate over how to resolve the latest federal budget impasse and I wanted to hear about these issues, because I want to make sure that they get brought forward into that budget discussion that will be happening," Smith said.

She said it's not about numbers, but about how real people will be affected by this.

"There was a woman who retired to take care of her husband with Parkinson's Disease and she's now faced with trying to figure out if she has to go back to work after she's retired just to make sure as she said that she literally isn't living under a bridge," Smith said.  "This is about real peoples' lives and I'm going to take that back to Washington."

Smith continued her tour by visiting the Iron Range.  After leaving Duluth she stopped in Eveleth and Mountain Iron and she said she'll head to Washington D.C. on Sunday, taking what she's learned from Northlanders with her.

Teamsters Applaud Rep. Pete King’s Co-Sponsorship of Butch Lewis Act

Rep. King Joins Sen. Chuck Schumer to Announce Support of Critical Legislation to Address Pension Crisis

Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) joined Sen. Check Schumer (D-N.Y.) at a press conference at Teamsters Local 707 in Hempstead, N.Y. to announce his co-sponsorship of the Butch Lewis Act of 2017 (H.R.4444/S.2147), legislation that will assist pension plans facing insolvency. Rep. King is the first Republican member of Congress to join the bill as a sponsor.

The Butch Lewis Act of 2017, which was introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) on Nov. 16, would provide a path to fixing the country’s growing pension crisis by providing the financial support the plans need to avoid insolvency.

“I am proud to support the Butch Lewis Act and I commend Jim Hoffa for his leadership,” Rep. King said. “Protecting retirees who worked hard for their pensions should not be a partisan issue. Republicans and Democrats should work together to allow workers to live their retirement years in dignity. It's time to get started.”

The legislation would establish a new agency that will be called the Pension Rehabilitation Administration (PRA) within the U.S. Treasury Department. The PRA would be authorized to issue bonds in order to finance loans to pension plans in financial distress.

Kevin McCaffrey, President of Teamsters Local 707 joined Rep. King and Sen. Schumer to voice his support for the legislation.

“Like many other workers, our members have unfairly been the victims of failed government policies which have threatened their way of life and plans of retiring with dignity,” McCaffrey said. “I am proud to stand with these two elected officials who are stepping up to make a difference in the lives of working families.”

“The Teamsters Union thanks Rep. King for his leadership in co-sponsoring this bill,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “This legislation is too important to be delayed by partisan politics. The pension crisis must be addressed now, and the Butch Lewis Act is the best option. We must protect the retirement security of hundreds of thousands of active and retired workers across the country.”