Saturday, December 17, 2005

Teamsters take aim at FedEx

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is turning up the heat on non-unionized express carrier FedEx with the launch of a new website and a series of weeklong actions at FedEx Express facilities.
“FedEx has built much of its empire on low-cost business models and other unsavory practices,” said Jim Hoffa, the Teamsters’ general president.
“In addition, many FedEx Express workers do not qualify for company health care or retirement benefits,” he added. “In contrast to their counterparts at FedEx, UPS workers are represented by the Teamsters and benefit from a collective bargaining agreement that provides medical care, pensions and a 401(k).”
To support its actions, the Teamsters created to highlight legal actions against the Memphis, TN-based express giant. This includes details of Satchell v. FedEx, a case that established class-action status for African-American and Latino workers in Sept. 2005 for their lawsuit against FedEx alleging discrimination in pay, promotions and disciplinary action.
The Teamsters also plan to conduct a leafleting campaign at FedEx Express facilities in Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona.

DHL says a strike won't stop deliveries

A spokesman for a DHL shipping contractor said Thursday the company does not plan to let holiday package deliveries be disrupted, even if a Teamsters local follows through with a threat to strike.
"We will do everything we can do to make sure packages are delivered normally," said Sean Howard, president of American Commercial Finance Freight Services.
Plymouth-based American Commercial delivers packages for shipping giant DHL - including those in the Lansing area. Teamsters Local 580, which represents about 60 workers at a Dimondale facility who deliver packages locally, is threatening to strike American Commercial, though no date has been set.
The disagreement stems from the status of a contract union members ratified in October. It includes a pay raise of nearly $5 an hour to about $15 an hour. The union said the contract hasn't been implemented. Howard said he never agreed to the contract.
"They took a contract that was not signed for a vote," he said.
The union says the contract is valid. Mike Parker, business agent for the union, said contracts aren't formally signed until after a ratification vote and a strike was in the planning stages. The union also has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.
"These members bar-- -gained fairly with their employer and properly ratified a contract," Parker said. "Our members are extremely upset with the fact that their legal rights can be so blatantly walked on."
The union is urging people to use another shipping company to send and receive holiday gifts.
A spokesman at DHL, which is owned by Germany's Deutsche Post AG and has a U.S. base in Florida, said it has no dealings with the union.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Unions get stricter oversight

The government says it's about improving accountability. The labor movement says it may be revenge for backing Bush's opponents.
Joseph Dougherty, president of Ironworkers Local 401, finds himself suddenly awash in paperwork.
The federal government has stepped up enforcement of 46-year-old union-finance-reporting laws, and Dougherty, who heads a 1,050-member union in Northeast Philadelphia, is swamped with receipts and time sheets.
"It's a nightmare," he said.
The U.S. Labor Department says its heightened efforts are about increasing union financial accountability and transparency, but Dougherty and others in the labor movement have other ideas about the administration's motivations. Full story here..............

Teamster Leaders Laud Driving Training Decision

The Teamsters National Training Director is applauding a federal court decision ordering the federal government to rewrite its rule setting the standards for driving training programs.
“It is long past the time for our country to seriously consider education and training for CMV (commercial motor vehicle) operators,” said Mark Johnson, the Teamsters National Training Director. “With a nationwide driver shortage, alarming driver turnover in the nonunion sector and retirements in the union sector, quality training of new drivers becomes critical to public safety and driver supply.”
In 2004, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a rule requiring CMV operators to be trained in only four specific areas—hours of service, health and wellness, medical qualifications and whistleblower protections. None of these have anything to do with the skills necessary to safely operate a CMV.
A coalition of highway and auto safety organizations sued the agency arguing the federal government should have including CMV driver education and training as part of its requirements using curriculum based on its many years of research and the standards set by the industry.
On December 2, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that FMCSA “abandons the recommendations of the Model Curriculum.” The court did not overturn the current rule, but did send it back to FMCSA for “further rulemaking,” indicating that it must include over-the-road training as part of any new regulation.
The “Model Curriculum,” developed by the Department of Transportation in 1985, addressed CMV driver education and training topics directly related to driving skills, with a heavy emphasis on skills and techniques necessary to safely operate a heavy truck.
Shortly after the Model Curriculum was published, groups representing the motor carrier, truck-driver training, and insurance industries, including the Teamsters Union, formed the Professional Truck-Driver Training Institute (PTDI). The Institute develops standards for training truck drivers, and it certifies private training organizations that meet or exceed its recommendations. None of these criteria was contained in FMCSA’s current rule.
The court also said the FMCSA “completely ignores the study’s emphasis on practical, on-the-road training” in the rule. This comment refers to the government’s 1995 study entitled “Assessing the Adequacy of Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Training.” The study found that the heavy truck, motorcoach, and school bus sectors were not providing adequate driver training. It also confirmed in the study a general agreement that the Model Curriculum represents an adequate content and approach for training truck drivers and used the Model Curriculum as the starting point in defining “adequate training” for heavy truck drivers.

Miami DHL Gateway Teamsters Approve First Contract

Teamsters at the Miami International Airport (MIA) DHL gateway facility overwhelmingly approved a four-year contract yesterday, gaining wage increases, a pension plan and job security language.
By ratifying the contract, the 130 workers at MIA became the third DHL gateway location to be protected by a Teamster agreement this year. Miami gateway workers are joining 300 DHL Teamsters at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and 150 gateway workers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
"We are ecstatic that we have completed these negotiations after 17 months," said Alex Saumell, an 18-year worker at the DHL Miami Gateway facility. "All the credit goes to Mike Scott, Don Marr and all the workers here at the gateway who stood strong through this entire process."
The agreement secures excellent wage increases, lowers the cost of health insurance for the workers, includes job security language and guarantees a minimum of 40-hours per week for fulltime employees. The contract also includes strong language that provides the members with an outstanding grievance procedure and seniority requirements.
"These workers were so excited about becoming Teamsters," Michael Scott, President, Teamsters Local 769 in Miami, Florida. "This is an exceptional first contract that will provide improvements across the board for these workers."

Yellow Roadway unit selects new president

YRC Regional Transportation, a subsidiary of Yellow Roadway Corp., today said T.J. O’Connor has been selected as president and chief executive officer of USF Bestway.
The move was effective Dec. 1.
O’Connor has served in a variety of executive positions at Roadway Express for the last 23 years. Most recently, he has been vice president of the company’s Western Division.
YRC Regional Transportation is comprised of the USF companies and New Penn Motor Express.