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.”
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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.