Wednesday, November 14, 2018
After almost 14 years and much thought, I've decided to pull the plug on this old blog. Just like everything else, things change and the way people get their news has also. I want to thank all my readers throughout the years and wish the best for all my brothers and sisters that make our union the best in the world.
Monday, May 21, 2018
In Dynamex Operations West Inc. vs. Superior Court, the court adopted a narrower standard for determining if a worker is an employee or an independent contractor in California wage-and-hour disputes.
Most workers should be considered employees based on the intent of decades of California policy, the court said in the April 30 decision.
“It’s too soon to tell, but this could be a huge upheaval,” said Richard Coyle, president of Devine Intermodal, a West Sacramento freight and logistics company that supplements its fleet of employee drivers with independent contractors in some of its business lines.
The ruling was made in the case of delivery drivers contesting their independent contractor status. The court specifically targeted the question of how to define an employee in a class-action lawsuit filed under California wage-and-hour rules, which govern overtime pay, meal breaks and other basic employment rules.
Despite the narrow focus, businesses worry the ruling will spread to cover any dispute over whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor, including, for example, workers’ compensation lawsuits. It also could be found to include any California business or out-of-state firm that does business in state and uses independent contractors.
“Whenever the California Supreme Court speaks, especially so definitively and somewhat clearly, it will be utilized in different types of industries,” said Hillary Arrow Booth, a Los Angeles transportation lawyer and president of the Transportation Lawyers Association.
How drivers should be classified has become a contentious issue in California.
Since 2011, California port truckers have filed 948 claims alleging that they have been misclassified as independent contractors. Drivers have been awarded more than $48 million in about 450 of those cases, according to the latest data from the California labor commissioner’s office.
Both Los Angeles and Long Beach city officials are looking at whether they have the legal power to take action against motor carriers at Southern California’s port complex who they believe are misclassifying drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.
For now, trucking executives are meeting with their lawyers and trying to work out the potential impact of the court ruling.
“Some of the truck company operators are just sifting through this and figuring out what they are going to do,” said Robert Ramorino, president of Roadstar Trucking Inc. and Peppertree Warehouse & Distribution in Hayward, Calif.
He uses a handful of independent contractor drivers, or owner/operators as they are known in the industry.
“Obviously an operation that uses a lot of independent contractors, they’ve got more risk facing them now,” he said.
That risk includes potential worker lawsuits, regulatory actions over misclassification of workers and potentially higher operating costs because employees cost a company more than independent contractors. They might face a shortage of truck drivers if owner/operators are unwilling to work as employees. The ruling also could affect the outcome of current court cases.
At the same time, industry observers say state or federal legislation could be passed that would carve out exemptions, such as exist in New Jersey, or clarify the uncertainty left by the ruling. Federal law, for example, prohibits states from passing direct economic regulations that might affect interstate motor carriers related to prices, routes or services, which the ruling might be interpreted as doing. A key change made in 2004 to a Massachusetts statute created a similar test to the one adopted by the California court but was determined by the state’s high court two years ago not to apply to motor carriers because it ran afoul of that federal law.
THE ABC TEST IN CALIFORNIA
The court adopted the so-called ABC test that exists in some jurisdictions and requires a company to classify a worker as an employee unless it can prove all three of these factors:
- Free from control and direction: The worker is free from control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact.
- Work is outside of hirer’s usual business: The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.
- Independent: The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity.
The biggest problem for trucking companies that use independent contractors is obviously the second rule.
“That is going to be a very hard threshold for a lot of these employers to meet,” said Doug Bloch, political director at Teamsters Joint Council 7 in Northern California, the Central Valley of California and Northern Nevada.
Previously in California, under the common law known as the Borello test, there were multiple factors to consider, the principal one being whether the hiring company had the right to control the manner and means of accomplishing the desired result.
It’s not just an issue for California trucking companies. Industry players in other states also are looking to see what happens.
“California is a little ahead of, but we are right behind, we are under attack,” said Gail E. Toth, executive director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association.
New Jersey has had an ABC test for decades, but there are exemptions for many industries, Toth said. As of this year, those exemptions are the potential target of a new state task force on worker misclassification. The California ruling is adding pressure to those efforts, she said.
Some in the industry draw a distinction between entrepreneur owner/operator truck drivers, who know how to run a successful business, and drivers labeled independent contractors by companies that control them as employees but avoid the expense of actually employing them.
Bloch, the union official, said that in the Teamsters national agreement there is language that covers owners/operators. Many trucking companies start with a single truck.
“I would never deny that there is a place in the supply chain for owner/operators,” he said.
“But for the small or large companies that have people that are working exclusively for them, and hiring those people as independent owner/operators, and this is the only place they go for work and they do it more than full– time, I would be nervous about that.”
Yet the California court said the desire of owner/operators to remain independent is outweighed by the need for all workers to be able to access the state’s extensive worker protections under its employee labor laws.
Devine Intermodal previously won an expensive and lengthy court battle with state regulators over alleged misclassification of employees as independent contractors, Coyle said.
“We finally won, completely, but with the new interpretation, we would have lost,” he said.
The vote will be conducted by secret ballot as UPS and UPS Freight contract votes have been done in the past, but this time UPS and UPS Freight Teamsters will be using the telephone and Internet through the BallotPoint Election Services voting system.
All members will receive a standard ballot packet in the mail. But instead of a paper ballot that needs to be mailed, each member will receive an individual access code and simple instructions on how to use the access code to vote by telephone or internet.
This ballot process will be conducted by BallotPoint, an election services provider which has specialized in electronic balloting and polling since 1999. Their system is secure and protects the secrecy of each member’s vote. In other words, no one will know how you voted!
The Teamsters Union has used BallotPoint extensively over the past three years to conduct contract ratifications. All of the ratifications were conducted without incident or challenges.
Regarding the upcoming strike-authorization vote, here is the timeline:
- Balloting Information to be mailed on or about Tuesday, May 15
- All members should receive their ballot by Monday, May 21
- Local Unions can begin submitting forms on the members behalf to the Package Division requesting to be re-credentialed on Tuesday, May 22
- For Local Unions submitting forms on behalf of members to be re-credentialed, the DEADLINE is Friday, June 1 Noon Eastern Time
- Votes are due by 8 p.m. Eastern Sunday, June 3
- Deadline to submit challenges is Monday, June 4 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time
- The vote count is at 8 p.m. Eastern, Tuesday, June 5
Click the links to read the strike-vote materials being mailed to UPS members and UPS Freight members.
Teamsters employed at ABF Freight System, Inc. have ratified the national master portion of the agreement and all but 9 supplements. The supplements that were rejected, however, must be addressed before the national agreement can take effect. Votes were counted today. Click here for a list of the vote by supplement.
“We realize that some of our ABF members have concerns that are unique depending on their areas,” said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division and Co-Chairman of the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC). “We will work with the Supplemental Committees in those areas to discuss those issues. We will then work to address supplemental issues with the employer and, if appropriate, seek to obtain revisions to the supplements for re-balloting so that the national master contract and all the supplements can take effect.”
The national contract covers about 8,000 drivers, dockworkers, mechanics and office workers.
Once fully ratified, the new national contract will restore the week of vacation that was previously given up, will provide annual wage increases, and will significantly improve protections for members from purchased transportation. It will also provide for annual increases to health and welfare funds and maintains the current contribution rates for all pension funds and provides protection to members if a pension fund expels ABF.
ABF Voting Results
Saturday, March 24, 2018
“The committee reached tentative agreements on a number of issues,” said Denis Taylor, Director of the Teamsters Package Division and Co-Chairman of the union’s UPS Negotiating Committee. “The tentative agreements on particular articles are not final until the entire contract is negotiated, but the committee wants to keep members updated.”
So far the negotiations have focused on the union’s proposals. The Teamsters and the company have reached tentative agreements on many proposals, including articles 3.1, 3.3, 3.7, 6.4, 8.7, 12, 17 and 37.
The Safety and Health Committee has reached tentative agreements on Articles 14, Sections 1 and 2; Article 16, Section 4; Article 18, Sections 1, 3, 6, 18.1, 21 and (new section) 28; Article 20, Section 4; Article 35, Section 3.3; and Article 44, Section 1 and 2.
On Article 37, the union has made significant improvements to Sections (a) harassment, (b) eight-hour days and (c) over 9.5.
On Article 37, Section (a), the tentative agreement will create a new Article 37 National Committee to deal with harassment. The new committee will have a sitting arbitrator to break deadlocks. The committee will have contractual authority to award a monetary penalty of up to three days pay depending on the severity of the offense. The new language would also require any member of management deemed by the committee to have committed two or more violations in a two year period to appear in person before the committee for any subsequent grievance(s).
Under the Article 37 (b) tentative agreement, if UPS fails to adjust a driver’s dispatch to comply with this section, the driver will receive the current two hour penalty and also retain the eight hour request for later use.
On the Article 37 (c) tentative agreement, the drivers will no longer need to wait for a violation to get on the 9.5 list or go to the manager to get on the list. The union will collect the names of drivers who want to be on the 9.5 list and provide those names to management in January and June. In addition, a driver may elect to add or remove their names to the list at ANY TIME during the two five month periods, with one week's notice to UPS.
Finally, the provision dealing with repeated violations has also been significantly improved. The current language triggers a review by UPS and the union after three violations in a five month period and a higher level of review after any subsequent violation in that same five month period. The new language removes the first level review and triggers the higher-level review after four violations in a calendar year, which will expedite that process.
The Teamsters National UPS Freight Negotiating Committee made strides in securing stronger language for members during this week’s negotiations.
The union has tentatively agreed to a true training program that will encourage bargaining unit employees to obtain their CDL in order to fulfill full-time CDL positions. The qualifications to achieve these full-time driving positions have been streamlined as well, by reducing the time requirements.
The next round of negotiations is scheduled for the week of April 8.
Monday, March 19, 2018
“After my company nominated me, I read the impressive bios of the previous winners and I did not think I belonged in that group,” said Evans. “I feel extremely honored to be selected.”
Launched in 2015, IDEA recognizes commercial motor vehicle drivers who distinguish themselves conspicuously and beyond the normal call of duty through the achievement of safe operation and compliance carried out with evident distinction for an extended period of time.
Like many commercial motor vehicle drivers, Evans truly loves what he does. “It is never the same day twice,” he said. “There is nothing boring about driving for a living. You get to see the inner workings of many different places. All of the places that make your community run are kept running by us drivers delivering what they need. Every day has a sense of doing something that is necessary.”
Full Story Here..............
It’s not a moment too soon. There are about 1.5 million retirees in desperate need of quick action to save the retirement nest eggs they spent decades contributing to, on the premise they would be financial secure in their golden years. There also are hundreds of thousands of workers who are enrolled in these pension plans who deserve assistance, too.
As it stands, there are about 200 multiemployer plans across the country — including the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund — that are in danger of failing. The House-Senate Joint Select Committee, chaired by pension reform advocate Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), needs to find a vehicle that will deliver for these hard-working Americans who are paying, or have paid, into the pension pool and have played by the rules all their lives.
Luckily, the panel’s 16 members don’t have to look far to find a vehicle that would fit the bill. This union supports the passage of the Butch Lewis Act of 2017 (H.R. 4444/S. 2147), which has gained bipartisan support since its introduction in Congress late last year by Sen. Brown and Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.).
Republicans such as Reps. Peter King and Dan Donovan of New York, Chris Smith, Frank LoBiondo, and Tom MacArthur of New Jersey, Brian Fitzpatrick and Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania, and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota and Don Young of Alaska understand the value of the bill and should be lauded for supporting this legislation. The measure would boost financially-troubled multiemployer pensions so they don’t fail. It would create an agency under the Treasury Department that would sell bonds in the open market to large investors such as financial firms.
The agency, the Pension Rehabilitation Administration (PRA), would then lend money from the sale of the bonds to the financially-troubled pension plans. Plans that are deemed “critical and declining,” as well as recently insolvent but non-terminated plans and those that have suspended benefits, would be eligible to apply for the program.
Pension plans borrowing from PRA would be required to set aside the loan proceeds in separate, safe investments such as annuities or bonds that match the pension payments for retirees. For those plans needing additional help to meet retiree obligations, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation would be available to make up the difference. Those applying for loans to the PRA — which would be charged with approving all loans before they could be issued — would have to submit detailed financial projections. And, pension plans that have borrowed money would have to submit reports every three years to the PRA to show that the loans are working.
Last December, Teamsters were among the hundreds of union members who came to Capitol Hill to rally in support of the Butch Lewis Act. There, they joined Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Sen. Brown, Rep. Neal and others to push for the legislation. Retirees were on hand to share their stories.
Mike Walden, a former truck driver and Teamster retiree from Akron, Ohio, recognized years ago that pensions such as the one he receives from the Central States were in dire straits. Now he is president of the National United Committee to Protect Pensions and chairman of the Northeast Ohio Committee to Protect Pensions.
He told those on hand that day that any cut in pensions would devastate the well-being of retirees and force many out of their homes and into a life that, at their advanced age, they cannot handle. “Many of us are old; we can’t go back to work because we’ve had joint replacements, or some of us have lost our eyesight. We have medications that wouldn’t allow us to drive the trucks or work in warehouses like we used to,” Walden said. “Many can’t afford their medications if you reduce their pensions. They’ll die.”
That is what is at stake in this battle for justice. These workers aren’t asking for a handout; they just want what is rightfully theirs. It’s time for the joint committee to get to work and endorse this legislation that will make retirees whole. They’ve waited long enough.
The current 2013-2018 contract expires at the end of this month. After several weeks of progress on language issues, the inevitable topic of pay and benefits has now been formally opened. As expected at this stage, the parties appear far apart, but the union is committed to fighting hard to maintain the current structure of health care and retirement benefits that are extremely important to the membership. The union also made clear to the company that it believes the robust economic environment for trucking services that has improved over the past year, along with the demand for seasoned drivers and the valued services of all ABF Teamsters, should be reflected in any economic settlement.
The company did not provide an immediate counter offer and instead is taking time to study the union’s economic proposal. Nevertheless, the parties continued working to address some outstanding language issues as well as some supplemental issues.
“I would have liked more back and forth this week in terms of economic discussions but I hope the company takes the next several days to appreciate the important contributions that all Teamsters make to the long-term success of this company,” said Ernie Soehl, Co-Chairman of TNFINC and the union’s lead negotiator. “We will have small group meetings next week to better analyze each party’s positions, and then fully resume talks on March 26 with the goal of reaching a new agreement by the month’s end.”
Members of the National Negotiating Committee also took time this week to visit the ABF Kansas City terminal and speak directly with members.
“Our ABF membership is an outstanding group of freight Teamsters who value both the company’s historic success and the Teamster’s role in making that happen,” Soehl said. “One thing was made clear: they really expect ABF to step up and do the right thing during these difficult contract negotiations.
We are now in the most difficult phase of these important talks but remain united and committed as a bargaining team to reaching a tentative agreement that meets both the goals of the membership while also allowing the company to maintain and grow its successful position in the trucking industry. The continued support of the membership over the next couple of weeks will be absolutely critical toward the positive and successful resolution of these talks,” Soehl said.
Sunday, March 11, 2018
Members of the 2018-2019 ABF Freight Road Team and their service centers are: Scotty Davis, Kansas City, Missouri; Scott Scheuffele, Ontario, Oregon; Brian Petrovcic, North Lima, Ohio; Todd Wilemon, Tupelo, Mississippi; Matt Meadows, Charleston, West Virginia; Allen McNeely, Charlotte, North Carolina; Jimmy Smith, Roanoke, Virginia; Sammy Brewster, Atlanta, Georgia; Eric Patterson, Phoenix, Arizona; Don Wood, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Jon Herman, Kansas City, Missouri; and Russ Lauver, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
“We are proud to have these exceptional representatives among the ranks of ABF Freight’s professional drivers,” said Mark McMinn, ABF Freight senior vice president of Operations and Safety. “Each Road Team member has superb driving skills and an outstanding safety record. Their commitment to our customers’ goods, as well as their commitment to the safety of the driving public, makes them excellent ambassadors to represent ABF Freight and the trucking industry.”
To be eligible for the ABF Freight Road Team, candidates must have at least 10 years of driving experience and an exemplary driving record. Road Team membership is one of the highest honors an ABF Freight driver can achieve.
“With drivers like these, it’s no wonder why ABF Freight has been a trusted partner our customers have depended on for over 95 years,” McMinn said.
During two-year terms, ABF Freight Road Team members serve as ambassadors for ABF Freight as well as the trucking industry at large. They are available for speaking engagements at civic and fraternal organizations, school events, career days and other events around the country. When called upon, Road Team members speak about driving safety, the image of the truck driver, sharing the road with trucks, or other subjects of community or industry interest.
In honor of Elrod's achievement, he will be welcomed into the company's five-million miler Driver Hall of Fame. YRC Freight will also donate 50 children's car seats to the Tennessee Highway Patrol--one for every 100,000 miles he has driven without a single accident.
"Bobby is a true professional with a genuine dedication to the safety of the motoring public. Each day he demonstrates self-discipline, constant focus and commitment," says T.J. O'Connor, YRC Freight president. "We are introducing a new trailer wrapped in his honor to showcase his great safety accomplishment. Here at YRC Freight, we couldn't be prouder of his five-million miles driven over four and a half decades without a single accident."
Elrod observed, "I've driven out of Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga at different times for the company. I was proud to be the first Smith System instructor in Nashville and train our drivers. I always put safety first. I came from a family of truck drivers--my dad, two uncles, a brother, and a brother-in-law--they were all truck drivers. It's in my blood. I was only nine or ten when my dad passed away. Not that long ago, I went out to the cemetery. I told my dad, ‘I've reached five million miles without an accident, Dad. Can you imagine?' It was a good moment. I've been blessed. I was able to put both my boys through college, and see them graduate without owing a penny. The company has been really good to me and my family."
"To put those miles in perspective, five million miles is like driving to the moon and back over ten times or driving around the equator 200 times--all without a single accident. I tip my safety hat to him, and I send my heartfelt thanks to his family for sharing Bobby with us," says Terry Budimlija, YRC Freight Safety Director.
A resident of Chickamauga, Ga., Elrod averages over 2,000 miles a week. He will be presented with a celebratory watch, die cast YRC Freight truck, plaque and a five-million miles accident-free commemorative jacket at the celebration.
Tuesday, March 06, 2018
Brown was appointed last week to co-chair an unusual joint committee of the House and Senate. By the end of the year, it’s charged with coming up with a way to restore the precarious finances of what are called multi-employer pensions for groups like the Teamsters, mineworkers and carpenters.
Brown has been pushing a fix called the Butch Lewis Act, which would provide a low-interest, 30-year loan to the pensions. Though the union hall was filled with Butch Lewis signs and shirts, Brown acknowledged uncertainty.
“I don’t have preconceived notions on what we end up with," Brown said. "I’d love to end up with Butch Lewis, I think that’s the best idea. But I also understand we’ve got to get five Republican and five Democratic votes.”
The 16-member committee is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. If it gets the bipartisan deal from at least 10 of them, the measure will go to the full House and Senate for a straight up-or-down vote.
Following the announcement of the final members of Congress that will serve on the bipartisan, House-Senate Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans tasked with finding a solution to the nation’s looming pension crisis, the Teamsters Union called for a commitment by the legislators to report a bill as soon as possible, and not wait until the November deadline.
The retirement security of as many as 1.5 million active and retired workers could be at risk if pension legislation is not passed soon. The committee, which is comprised of eight senators and eight members of the House evenly divided by party, will work toward reporting a bill to solve the pension crisis. The Teamsters Union supports the passage of the Butch Lewis Act of 2017 (H.R.4444/S.2147) which was introduced in Congress last November by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) and has received bipartisan support.
“Now that party leadership has appointed the members of Congress who will serve on the committee it is time to get to work,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “Millions of active and retired workers can’t wait until November for this committee to act. We already have a strong piece of legislation already in Congress in the Butch Lewis Act and the Teamsters Union believes it offers the best solution to the pension crisis.”
“We still believe it is early in the negotiations process and things are progressing. We are maintaining our stance on issues that members have indicated are the most important,” said Denis Taylor, Director of the Teamsters Package Division and Co-Chairman of the Teamsters National UPS Negotiating Committee.
The following issues were on the table this week:
Article 6 – Technology and Discipline;
Article 14 – Temporary Alternate Work;
Article 15 – Military Leave – spousal transfers;
Article 16 – Maternity Leave;
Article 17 – Paid For Time; dealing with members’ ability to review hours and rates of pay as well as confirmation and identification of grievance payments;
Article 18 – Building Heat and Distracted Drivers;
Article 29 – Funeral Leave;
Article 35 – Drug and Alcohol Testing;
Article 37 – Overtime; and,
Article 43 – Delay Time and Extensions and Diversions of Runs
“During UPS Freight national negotiations this week, we continued to make gains,” said Kris Taylor, Co-Chair of the Teamsters National UPS Freight Negotiating Committee. “In particular, Article 4: Stewards; Article 5: Seniority; Article 6: Discipline; Article 14: Military Clause; and, Article 37: Suspension or Revocation of License and Employee’s Bail.”
The next round of negotiations will take place March 19-22.
Representatives from the union and the company discussed the status and role of ABF within the ArcBest corporate family and had a positive dialogue concerning the future of ABF in the evolving transportation marketplace. The two sides also discussed various methods for growing work at ABF Freight and preserving Teamster jobs, and both sides also discussed equipment improvements.
Only a few issues remain unresolved in terms of the National ABF National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA) language articles. Both sides also had discussions on some supplemental agreements.
Negotiations resume in Kansas City on March 12 where economics will likely be on the table as well as language in supplemental agreements. Prior to the next round of negotiations, the company will be sharing additional economic and business data with TNFINC’s economists.
“This week’s session was positive and productive,” said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division and Co-Chairman of TNFINC. However, Soehl cautioned that “the upcoming economic discussions, including pension and health and welfare are likely going to be very difficult.”
Soehl reaffirmed that “TNFINC is 100 percent committed to getting the best possible contract” and that the union committee remains united and focused on addressing the membership’s objectives.
Monday, February 26, 2018
“Just imagine if money is taken off your table, or you’re not able to send your child to college or you not able to retire because you don’t have a pension,” says Upchurch, a father of three children, ages 16, seven and five. “That’s what this case is trying to do.”
Upchurch was amongst thousands of US public employees and their allies who rallied in the US capital this past weekend to demand the High Court respect fundamental worker rights. The Court’s decision will directly affect nearly 18 million public sector workers, disproportionately impacting African-American women – who make up 17.7 percent of public employees. African-American women are paid only 65 cents of the dollar that their white male counterparts are paid – and unions help reduce this pay gap.
The issue involves “agency fees,” which are deducted from paychecks to cover the costs of union representation. The case was brought by an Illinois public worker, Mark Janus, against his union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and is part of a larger corporate attack on freedom of association in the United States and, more broadly, around the world.
“The loss of agency fees threatens to trigger an insidious free rider dynamic in which some workers avoid paying for the union’s representation thus weakening the union’s ability to defend the workers it represents, which in turn will discourage others from paying, perpetuating a destructive cycle that quickly undermines union strength,” says Joseph McCartin, executive director of the Kalmanowitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University.
Full story here..............
“We made further progress on a number of non-economic issues,” said Denis Taylor, Director of the Teamsters Package Division and Co-Chairman of the Teamsters National UPS Negotiating Committee. “We look forward to more progress when we resume negotiations next week.”
Among other issues, the following were on the table this week:
- Article 12, Polygraph/Timeclocks; dealing with members’ rights to receive copies of ODS messages;
- Article 17, Paid For Time; dealing with members’ ability to review hours and rates of pay as well as confirmation and identification of grievance payments;
- The Committee introduced a proposal dealing with Hours of Service for Package Drivers;
- The Committee made further progress on Article 37, Section 1A, Harassment;
- The Committee continued its discussion on the work week; a supplemental issue that the National Committee is coordinating.
In addition, subcommittees continued to meet in conjunction with the National Committee dealing with topics such as Leave of Absence, Temporary Alternate Work, and the Hazardous Materials Handling Program
“At UPS Freight negotiations, the union committee continued to make progress on several issues, including CDL training and grievance procedures,” said Kris Taylor, Co-Chair of the Teamsters National UPS Freight Negotiating Committee.
The next round of negotiations will take place Feb. 26-March 1.
Saturday, February 17, 2018
It's still early, but talks to hammer out a collective-bargaining agreement between ABF Freight, the less-than-truckload unit of ArcBest Corp., and the 8,200 full-time Teamsters union members who work for the unit is shaping up to be just as difficult as the last go-round five years ago.
Negotiations resumed on Monday in Kansas City after two rounds of talks that moved the needle a bit, but not by much. ABF said in a memo last Friday that progress had been made on unidentified "mutually agreeable" language, but that "significant issues" remain to be discussed. The memo did not mention the core issues still on the table, but they no doubt mean employee wages, and perhaps more important, the cost of the company's pension plan, which is significantly higher than that of YRC Worldwide Inc., ABF's only unionized rival. The five-year ABF-Teamster contract expires March 31.
The two sides first exchanged proposals on Dec. 18, with the Teamsters' freight division seeking cost-of-living adjustments for each year of the contract and ABF calling for an across-the-board wage freeze effective July 1, 2018. The company has agreed to restore one week's vacation for union members that was eliminated in the 2013 contract, with the condition that the two sides identify cost savings to offset the increased expense associated with adding back the vacation week.
Full Story Here..................
“While working men and women have long known the value of a dollar—it is a lesson well taught to one who labors for a living—it has taken a long, long time to teach employers the value of a human being, and in many cases has not yet been successfully taught. Few give thought to what happens to displaced workers, but they can analyze to the penny what the profits will be.” –James R. Hoffa
Each year in February, Teamsters take a moment to reflect upon and remember a leader who changed the course of history for working men and women in America. James R. Hoffa, born February 14, 1913, served as General President of the Teamsters Union from 1957 to 1971. In that time, he inspired thousands to stand up and let their voices be heard.
His words, spoken more than 50 years ago, resonate just as profoundly today as they did then.
As General President, Hoffa honed his well-earned reputation as a tough and effective bargainer, and gained the respect of labor and business leaders alike across the country. He worked hard to expand the number of working men and women who were protected by union contracts and, under his leadership, the union’s membership rose to include more than 2 million workers.
Hoffa’s crowning achievement was the 1964 National Master Freight Agreement, which united more than 400,000 over-the-road drivers under one contract. This contract, a feat that had been declared virtually impossible by many, lifted more workers out of poverty and into the middle class than any other single event in labor history. Congressman Elmer Holland (D-PA) was quoted as saying, “Jimmy Hoffa has put more bread and butter on the tables for American kids than all his detractors put together.”
“My father’s devotion to the Teamsters and their families was—and remains—legendary. His whole life was dedicated to bettering the lives of America’s working families,” said James P. Hoffa, General President of the Teamsters Union. “I can think of no better way to honor his legacy than to continue fighting on behalf of working people everywhere.”
The parties met in Kansas City and made progress in several areas. For example, progress was made on tightening up language to address concerns about the use of purchased transportation and to improve job security. The union committee also stood firm in its opposition to the company’s controversial drug-testing and fitness-for-duty proposals and, after many spirited meetings, the company ultimately withdrew these proposals. As a result, there will be no changes to Article 35.
Other issues were also addressed including improvements to certain equipment and additional disciplinary protections. TNFINC Co-Chairman and Teamsters National Freight Division Director Ernie Soehl said he was encouraged by the progress.
“Addressing the use of purchased transportation and improving job security are two of the main objectives of the bargaining team,” Soehl said. “We made good progress on some important issues, but tough items, including the major economic issues, remain to be tackled.
“Our committee has done an amazing job of showing solidarity, working hard and is 100-percent committed to achieving our goals and representing the interests of the membership,” Soehl said.
Soehl said he greatly appreciates the support that the membership has shown for the committee in recent weeks.
“The committee has received near universal support from the membership, and that is who we are working for,” Soehl said.
Negotiations resume on February 26.
Monday, February 05, 2018
The union committee has sought to resolve language issues to the extent possible before diving into the hard economics. The company, however, has claimed that its labor and operating costs are too high and that it is essentially seeking a cost neutral agreement and undefined “flexibilities.” The full union committee made it clear that it is not interested in concessions and is seeking real improvements.
In terms of language, the company this week proposed some items that seem somewhat off-point. For example, ABF is now proposing to significantly ramp up its drug and alcohol testing regimen by demanding that all employees be subjected to “hair” testing. Drug testing hair samples detects possible drug use (illegal and legal prescription) from weeks and months earlier but does not necessarily test for on-the-job use or impairment. The company also is seeking new “fitness for duty” requirements that would subject employees to discipline. ABF has also rejected the union’s demand to prohibit the use of driverless trucks even though the company states that it has no current plans to purchase driverless trucks. The union, however, has not withdrawn its proposal in this regard.
While some progress was made on language issues and negotiations are still proceeding, according to Ernie Soehl, co-chair of TNFINC, “it seems a bit strange that the company, after claiming over and over that its labor and operating costs are the problem, is spending time insisting on a new broader drug and alcohol policy, when, according to the company’s own records, over the last five years only one person has tested positive for drugs in a post-accident test.” Also, Soehl added that given the tough work environment and the average age of the ABF workforce, imposing vague “fit for duty” requirements seems to be a “recipe for mischief.”
Nevertheless, the union committee remains positive.
“We didn’t make as much progress as we had expected this week, but we did advance the ball a little bit,” Soehl said. “For example, although no agreement was reached on new protections for road drivers from purchased transportation, we did at least have some productive dialogue.” Also, the parties did reach a tentative agreement on some small improvements to the “change of operations” provisions and equipment requirements.
TNFINC is committed to fighting for members’ issues and believes that the Teamsters will prevail.
Negotiations are scheduled to resume in Kansas City on February 12.
The Teamsters National UPS Negotiating Committee has made progress on a variety of issues as the second week of contract negotiations with UPS wrapped up today.
“We are still early in the negotiations, but we are pleased to report that we made progress on a number of non-economic issues,” said Denis Taylor, Director of the Teamsters Package Division and Co-Chairman of the National UPS Negotiating Committee. “This week gives us momentum as we prepare for the next round of negotiations later this month.”
Among other issues, the following were on the table this week:
Article 3, Section 7, Supervisors Working;
Article 6, Technological Change;
Article 37, Harassment, 8-Hour Requests and 9.5 language;
Article 26, SurePost.
In the UPS Freight negotiations, National UPS Freight Negotiating Co-Chairman Kris Taylor reported progress as well.
“We addressed Article 7, Grievance Machinery;
Article 15, Equipment and Safety;
Article 20, Cooperation of Employees Fair Days Pay;
Article 31, Lodging;
Article 32, Rain Gear, Glove and Yard Lights,” Taylor said.
The next round of negotiations will take place Feb. 18-22.
CDA notes maturity extended and outstanding principal reduced
YRC Worldwide Inc. reported consolidated operating revenue for fourth quarter 2017 of $1.209 billion and consolidated operating income of $11.3 million, which included a $3.6 million gain on property disposals. As a comparison, for the fourth quarter 2016, the Company reported consolidated operating revenue of $1.148 billion and consolidated operating income of $14.9 million, which included a $3.4 million gain on property disposals.
Consolidated operating revenue for the year ended December 31, 2017 was $4.891 billion with consolidated operating income of $98.4 million, which included a $0.6 million gain on property disposals. This compares to full-year 2016 consolidated operating revenue of $4.698 billion with consolidated operating income of $124.3 million, which included a $14.6 million gain on property disposals.
In January 2018, the Company extended the maturity of its contribution deferral agreement (CDA) notes from December 2019 to December 2022. As part of the extension, the Company paid $25 million that reduced the outstanding principal of the CDA notes to $75.1 million. Over the past five quarters, outstanding debt at YRC Worldwide has been reduced by $129.3 million.
The fourth quarter 2017 net loss was $7.5 million compared to a net loss of $7.5 million in fourth quarter 2016. For full-year 2017, the net loss was $10.8 million compared to net income of $21.5 million in 2016. The fourth quarter and full-year 2017 results were impacted by a $7.6 million non-union pension settlement charge.
On a non-GAAP basis, the Company generated consolidated Adjusted EBITDA of $58.5 million in fourth quarter 2017 compared to $57.7 million in the prior year comparable quarter (as detailed in the reconciliation below). Last twelve month (LTM) consolidated Adjusted EBITDA was $274.2 million compared to $297.5 million in 2016.
The total debt-to-Adjusted EBITDA ratio for fourth quarter 2017 was 3.38 times compared to 3.40 times for fourth quarter 2016.
The fourth quarter 2017 results include increases in short-term rental expense of $4.1 million and local purchased transportation expense of $3.0 million when compared to the fourth quarter 2016. The increases were primarily due to a shortage of revenue equipment and a demand for drivers.
The fourth quarter 2017 results include a non-union pension settlement charge at YRC Freight of $7.6 million. The pension settlement charge was triggered due to the amount of lump sum benefit payments distributed from plan assets in 2017. The lump sum benefit payments reduce pension obligations and are funded from existing pension plan assets and therefore do not impact the Company's cash balance nor liquidity. The non-cash expense is excluded from Adjusted EBITDA, consistent with the Company's term loan agreement.
The fourth quarter 2017 was unfavorably impacted by approximately $4.0 million in legal expenses due to adverse developments at the Regional segment when compared to the fourth quarter 2016.
Reinvestment in the business continued in 2017 with $103.3 million in capital expenditures and new operating leases for revenue equipment with a capital value equivalent of $133.8 million, for a total of $237.0 million. This compares to a total of $253.1 million invested in 2016. The majority of the investment was in tractors, trailers and technology.
Full report here...................
Hartley was previously inducted into the YRC Freight Driver Hall of Fame in 2015 for attaining over three million consecutive miles without a single preventable collision.
“Our drivers are true professionals, and Henry has a genuine dedication for the safety of the motoring public. He drives safely, day in and day out, year after year, demonstrating self-discipline, constant focus and commitment,” said T.J. O’Connor, YRC Freight president.
Henry Hartley observed, “I never thought I could reach this safety milestone until it came. I have learned to look out for the other guy, and I diligently practice the Smith System. There might have been some luck involved, but I’m truly proud to have reached four million safe consecutive miles. What I enjoyed the most over the past 44-years was being able to meet so many nice people and satisfying our customers.”
“I could not be happier or prouder of Henry Hartley. Achieving four million safe miles is the equivalent of driving to the moon and back eight times–or 160 trips around the equator–without a preventable accident. My safety hat is off to him, and my thanks to his family for sharing him with us,” says Terry Budimlija, YRC Freight Safety Director.
“Henry is the gold standard–he is as good as they come–one of the finest employees I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with in my entire career. He is one of the happiest, most good-natured, hard-working drivers we’ve ever had.” — Greg Drake, Terminal Manager
Stan Hite, YRC Freight Account Executive was pleased to conclude, “Henry is the best driver/salesman I have ever had the privilege of working with in my 32-year career. He works and advocates for YRC Freight, making a personal and professional connection with each of ‘his’ customers. He loves his job and it certainly shows. His work ethic is amazing.”
Born and raised in Summit, South Carolina, Hartley started working for a nearby farmer when he was eleven years old. He enjoyed tractors and hauling and delivered produce in the summer months during his high school years. He fell in love with hauling and tractor trailers on that farm. When asked about retirement, Hartley responded,
“I’m going too strong to retire just yet. I wake up eager to start every day.”
YRC Freight recognized his safety record at a celebratory event with co-workers, family and customers. Among his awards, Hartley was presented with a certificate of commendation for outstanding safety performance, a letter of congratulations from the South Carolina Trucking Association and a commemorative jacket.
Monday, January 29, 2018
The initial meetings focused primarily on language issues but ABF raised claims that its employee costs and operating costs are too high. TNFINC, however, made it clear that members were not interested in a concessionary contract.
“Rather than get bogged down right off the bat in what could have easily resulted in a collision, we spent the initial meetings trying to resolve some of the less controversial issues and made progress in those areas,” said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division and Co-Chairman of TNFINC.
The current ABF National Master Freight Agreement runs through March 31, 2018 and covers more than 8,000 members.
But that promise of a monthly check, once considered ironclad, is now in doubt for more than a million retirees and older workers nationwide, including tens of thousands in Massachusetts and neighboring states. Their underfunded pension plans are creeping toward insolvency, putting benefits they earned over the course of a career at risk of being cut or even eliminated.
For people like Bob Connors, 64, who spent decades unloading cases of beer at the Anheuser Busch warehouse in Medford, that’s brought uncertainty at a stage of life he had figured would be less stressful.
“I’m trying to be frugal, less travel and eating out, because I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Connors, a Medford resident and Teamsters union member who retired two years ago. He’s collecting a pension that’s enabled him to delay taking Social Security. “If it gets cut, I might have to go back to work or sell my house.”
Beyond the pensions of local Teamsters, hundreds of other retirement plans offered by large US companies or groups of smaller ones are struggling. Some have frozen contributions for veteran employees and stopped offering the retirement benefit to new hires.
“We’re looking at the death rattle of pensions in the private sector,” said Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, who cowrote a recent report on the decline of a little-known class of benefits called multiemployer pension plans, which have been particularly hard hit. “These plans are going to run out of money. Employers have decided they’re cumbersome, and they don’t want to assume the risk.”
Full Story Here..............
Monday, January 22, 2018
On January 11th and 12th 2018, activists and workers from eight different unions across the world, came together in Esher, England where the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) led a series of meetings hosted by the union Unite to address XPO Logistics’ abhorrent treatment of workers.
The room, filled up with port drivers, warehouse workers, freight drivers, last-mile drivers, and many others from unions around the world, including the Teamsters, VNB (Netherlands), FeSMC (Spain), BTB (Belgium), ACV-Transcom (Belgium), as well as Unite and the European Transport Workers’ Federation. The workers shared their personal experiences about the terrible conditions they endure every day at XPO such as exploitation, exhaustion, and degradation and comparing XPO’s culture cultivated by CEO Bradley Jacobs.
“I’ve learned here that I’m not the only one suffering. We’re here to fight for justice. We need help,” said XPO warehouse worker Lakeisha Nelson from Memphis, Tennessee.
Noel Coard, ITF head of inland transport, said that if ever there was a company with a business model designed around corporate greed and worker exploitation it was XPO, and it was time to expose it. He added that while the CEO, Bradley Jacobs, has given himself an almost 500 percent pay raise in two years and a $100 million stock option, XPO refuses to pay its workers a basic living wage.
“I’m glad that I’m here, because I have the opportunity to express my discontent with XPO, and connect with people to put pressure on XPO and their customers,” said XPO Port Driver Benjamin Alfaro from San Diego.
“I commend Unite for hosting this event” said Greg Chockley, Teamsters Organizing Department.
The ability to bring XPO workers together, in one place, from around the world to share stories and collaborate is a powerful thing. Meetings like this are instrumental in eliminating preconceived notions and paramount in uniting the workforces’ efforts in taking on the behemoth XPO which epitomizes corporate greed at every level. The meetings resulted in a great interaction in moving forward with bringing workers justice."
The contract proposals are available on the app.
If you have not downloaded the app, we encourage you to do so to receive the most up-to-date information. Download the app by searching “UPS Rising” in the App Store or Google Play.
Negotiations are scheduled to continue through Thursday of this week, and multiple dates have been scheduled for future negotiations. More information will be released later this week.
Sunday, January 14, 2018
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!
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.
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.
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
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 http://ibt.io/1-28UPScall 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
http://ibt.io/1-28UPScall to register for the call
and we will call you when the call begins.