Friday, December 21, 2007

70 Drivers, Dockworkers at USF Reddaway in Idaho Join Local 483

Victory is Latest in Card-Check Campaign

Drivers and dockworkers at USF Reddaway in Boise, Idaho are now Teamsters after the company recognized the workers through a card-check agreement on December 13. This marks the latest victory in the union’s card-check campaign throughout the West.

The card-check agreement enabling this latest victory was included in a contract that was ratified in August by workers at Reddaway terminals in California, Arizona and New Mexico. The contract was ratified 216-13 and covers about 400 workers.

In the latest victory, the 70 drivers and dockworkers in Boise are now Teamsters and will be covered by the same contract that was ratified by the larger group of workers. The Boise workers joined Local 483 in Boise.

“We are very pleased to welcome the 70 drivers and dockworkers here in Boise,” said Mark Briggs, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 483. “This campaign continues to have strong momentum, and we will provide excellent representation to these new members.”

The Boise workers are just the latest Reddaway and former USF Bestway workers to join the Teamsters. Workers at the terminals in Los Angeles, Stockton, Sacramento, Benicia, Pomona and San Leandro, all in California, have joined the Teamsters, as well as workers in Phoenix, Arizona; Bellingham, Washington; Denver, Colorado; and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

UPS's Long Term Credit Rating Cut

United Parcel Service Inc.'s long- term credit rating was cut from the highest level by Moody's Investors Service because of added debt to leave a Teamsters' pension fund and weakening demand for freight shipments.

The company's senior unsecured rating falls two steps to Aa2 from Aaa, affecting $2.5billion in debt, Moody's said in a statement today. The change follows a review that began Oct. 1, when UPS had been among eight non-financial companies to hold the top rating from both Moody's and Standard & Poor's.

As part of a new Teamsters contract, UPS agreed to pay $6.1 billion to exit the Central States Fund, a multiemployer pension plan for 42,000 union members at the Atlanta-based company. Moody's and S&P both said they would reassess their ratings on UPS debt as a result.

The cost to leave the plan ``was considerably larger than Moody's had anticipated when UPS was rated Aaa,'' said George Godlin, an analyst at the New York-based debt rating company. The decline in freight demand also increases the ``potential for softness in UPS's profits and cash flow going forward,'' he said in the statement.

The rating cut was no surprise to the company, which has been in talks with Moody's, UPS spokesman Norman Black said. The change is ``not a significant financial issue'' for UPS, which based its decision to exit Central States on long-range planning, he said.

FedEx Corp., the second-largest U.S. parcel-shipping company behind UPS, today blamed reduced freight shipments and increased fuel prices for a 6.3 percent decline in its quarterly profit.

UPS's $6.1 billion pretax cost will be partially offset by a $2.3 billion reduction in income-tax expense, the company said today on its Web site.

Debt Increase

The company said its debt will rise by $3.8 billion this year, and its pension obligations will increase $1.7 billion. The change will trim 2008 profit by 9 to 10 cents a share, UPS said.

UPS workers in the Central States Fund will be shifted to a new plan run by the company and the Teamsters.

The five-year Teamsters contract, covering about 240,000 workers such as drivers, clerks and package sorters, takes effect Aug. 1. UPS is the largest employer of the union's members.

YRC Logistics Enters Definitive Agreement To Acquire Shanghai Jiayu Logistics

YRC Worldwide Inc. on Thursday announced that YRC Logistics has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Shanghai Jiayu Logistics Co.

YRC Logistics will acquire 65% of the stock of Jiayu for between US $29.5 million to US $43 million, based upon Jiayu's final 2007 financial performance. YRC Logistics expects to purchase the remaining 35% interest in 2010 for an amount not to exceed $32 million, as determined by the level of Jiayu's 2008-09 financial performances. All payments will be made in Chinese yuan, and their estimated dollar equivalents are provided in this release.

Completion of the acquisition is subject to Chinese regulatory approvals, restructuring of certain of Jiayu's operations and other ordinary conditions to closing. The parties have targeted closing of the transaction for the second quarter of 2008.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

YRC Worldwide Appoints Jim Kissinger Executive Vice President Human Resources

YRC Worldwide Inc. announced today that Jim Kissinger has been named Executive Vice President of Human Resources effective January 2, 2008. He is succeeding Steven T. Yamasaki, who will be leaving the company to pursue a new opportunity.

In this role, Mr. Kissinger will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of human resources including compensation and benefits, talent management, leadership and employee development, and diversity. He will report to Bill Zollars, Chairman, President and CEO of YRC Worldwide.

"Jim will provide leadership and human resource management expertise that will further align our business objectives with our global talent," said Bill Zollars. "He will help lead us in our commitment for excellence with the dedicated employees we have working across this organization."

Most recently, Mr. Kissinger served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Operations for AirCell, where he was responsible for leading corporate staff and operational functions.

Prior to joining AirCell, Mr. Kissinger led the Human Resources organization for Sprint Nextel. His earlier career includes roles in human resources and labor relations for companies such as Beatrice Foods, Lipton Tea and Pepsi Cola General Bottlers.

Mr. Kissinger earned his degree in Labor and Industrial Relations from Rockhurst University.

"I would personally like to thank Steve Yamasaki for his numerous contributions to the organization," stated Zollars. "He has been a great asset to YRC Worldwide and has done an excellent job of leading our human resource organization for the past four years, supporting our employees and our business objectives."

Freight 'Two-Man' Meeting Scheduled January 8

Members Can Review Tentative Agreement After January 8

Representatives from local unions that represent freight Teamsters will meet Tuesday, January 8 in Washington, D.C. to review and approve the tentative National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA) that was reached this week with TMI/YRC Worldwide.

Before members review the contract, the January 8 “two-man” meeting must take place first. After the January 8 meeting, local unions are being asked to hold membership meetings during the weekend of January 11-13. Members will get a chance to review the contract during the membership meetings. Then, members will be sent ballots a short time later.

The tentative agreement contains good wage increases and protects members’ jobs and their health, welfare and pension benefits, said Tyson Johnson, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division and lead negotiator.

TMI, Trucking Management, Inc., is the primary multi-employer bargaining arm of the unionized freight trucking industry. The subsidiaries include Yellow Transportation, Roadway Express, USF Holland and New Penn.

Teamsters Laud Attorney General for Citing FedEx Ground for Misclassifying Workers

FedEx Violated Massachusetts’ Independent Contractor Law

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has cited FedEx Corporation subsidiary FedEx Ground for intentionally misclassifying 13 pickup and delivery drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.

Coakley also fined FedEx Ground $190,000 in penalties and ordered the company to fix the employment status and pay the 13 drivers restitution. There are more than 400 drivers for FedEx Ground in Massachusetts, and the AG’s office released a press statement today saying the investigation is ongoing.

FedEx has 10 days to appeal the citations to a state administrative law agency. The AG’s office began investigating FedEx this summer after receiving a driver’s complaint over his employment classification.

“I applaud the just actions taken by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley in targeting the scofflaw FedEx Ground,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “FedEx Ground has for too long passed unnoticed as it calls its drivers ‘independent’ but illegally controls them like employees. But FedEx Ground is running out of places to hide. This action in Massachusetts is another nail in the coffin of FedEx’s illegal business model.”

FedEx Ground and its subsidiary FedEx Home Delivery have lost a series of court decisions, labor board determinations and state agency rulings which found the two companies to be misclassifying its drivers as contractors. Most recently, the California Supreme Court refused to review a California Court of Appeal ruling that found single route drivers in that state to be misclassified. The California Supreme Court action ended seven years of litigation and let stand the civil judgment that drivers were company employees.

“FedEx has broken the law here in Massachusetts and the company finally got caught,” said Teamster Local Union 25 President Sean O’Brien. “FedEx Ground drivers in Massachusetts are standing up to this company and winning. We are proud to welcome the drivers in the Wilmington, Mass., terminal as brothers and sisters in Local 25.”

FedEx Home Delivery drivers in Wilmington, Massachusetts voted to join Teamsters Local 25, and in Hartford, Connecticut, voted to join Teamsters Local 671. FedEx has refused to bargain with Local 25 the legally-certified collective bargaining agent; the company has appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit to contest this certification.

Teamsters Blast Republican Senate Leadership for Blocking Trade Adjustment Assistance

Laid-Off Workers Lose Benefits

Thousands of workers who lost their jobs because of bad trade policies won’t get government help because of Senate inaction on Wednesday.

Senate Republican leadership blocked a three-month extension of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which provides financial assistance and training for workers who lose their jobs when their employers move off shore. The Senate will adjourn without

“This is a slap in the face to workers who have lost their jobs because of bad trade agreements,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “Without extending Trade Adjustment Assistance, thousands of workers won’t be able to support their families.

“The Republican leaders are sending a message that they don’t care if jobs go overseas and U.S. workers are left with nothing. How can these senators go back to their home state during the holidays and look workers in the eye?”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a three-month extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance and a much-needed overhaul of the program.

“It’s bad enough that we won’t get real reform of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program,” Hoffa said. “But because of the opposition of Senate Republicans, laid-off workers won’t get help from the current Trade Adjustment Assistance program.

Hoffa Thanks Congress for Cross-Border Truck Ban

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today praised Congress for banning funds for the Bush administration's reckless pilot program to let trucks from Mexico travel freely on U.S. highways.

The ban was part of the omnibus spending bill that Congress passed Wednesday. The Teamsters opposed the pilot project from the start because of real concerns that trucks from Mexico aren't safe.

"Congress just made driving safer in the United States by ensuring that dangerous trucks from Mexico aren't lurching along our highways like unguided missiles," Hoffa said. "We expect the Bush administration to obey the law and put a stop to this dangerous program as soon as it is signed into law."

Hoffa said the Teamsters have nothing against Mexican truck drivers, just the companies that exploit them.

"Just ask any Teamster who drives in the Southwest," Hoffa said. "This is about safety."

"The Teamsters won't quit our fight to stop the Bush administration's reckless program," Hoffa said. "We will continue our lawsuit to prevent the program from starting up again."

The Teamsters Union is suing to block the program in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The case is expected to be heard in February.

Some trucks from Mexico have been allowed to travel beyond the narrow border zone since earlier this year under the Bush administration's unsafe pilot program

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bush Administration Sides With Trucking Industry, Ignores Drivers

Teamsters Say Regulators Used Flawed Analysis in Their Zeal to Satisfy Trucking Industry

The Bush administration's reinstated hours-of-service rule meets the economic needs of the trucking industry but not the health and safety needs of truck
drivers, a Teamster official told the Senate surface transportation subcommittee on Wednesday.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an
interim final rule last week. The rule, which was twice thrown out by the
court, allows truck drivers to work as many as 84 hours a week.

"The FMCSA is more concerned about the economic viability of the
trucking industry than about the safety and health of the drivers in this
rulemaking," said LaMont Byrd, Teamsters director of safety and health.

The rule is almost identical to the industry's 2003 proposal, Byrd

Byrd said the FMCSA cherry-picked from studies supporting its position
that an 11-hour driving limit did not result in more fatal crashes than the
previous limit of 10 hours.

The Teamsters reviewed the information provided by FMCSA and found that
it does not support the agency's claim.

Byrd said FMCSA acknowledged in the past that the risk of a crash
doubles from the 8th hour to the 9th hour of driving, and doubles again
from the 10th to the 11th hour.

"The Bush administration doesn't care if unsafe Mexican trucks or
exhausted truck drivers endanger everyone traveling on our highways," said
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa.

"The Bush administration could have objectively reviewed the scientific
literature," Hoffa said. "It could have conducted studies to answer any
open questions. It could have talked to truck drivers and safety advocates
and other highway users. But it did none of those things.

"All the Bush administration did was ask the trucking industry for
marching orders," Hoffa said.


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) first
promulgated the hours-of-service rule increasing the number of hours
truckers can drive in 2003. The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
struck down the rule in 2004, but Congress reinstated it as part of the
Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2004.

FMCSA issued a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in January 2005,
proposing a rule that was little changed from the 2003 rule that had been
struck down.

On July 24, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for
the second time threw out the rule that increased driving time to 11 hours
from 10 hours and allowed drivers to go back to work after being off duty
for only 34 hours.

In the 39-page opinion, Judge Merrick Garland called the rule
"arbitrary and capricious."

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters was a party in the case,
joining Public Citizen and the Owner-Operator Independent Driver's

The deadline for the court's July decision to go into effect was Sept.
14. But legal challenges pushed that deadline back. FMCSA issued the
interim final rule on Dec. 11.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ship gifts with companies that respect union workers

James P. Hoffa
This week, my wife and I wrapped presents for our grandchildren and shipped them to our son's home in advance of our Christmastime visit. Sure, shipping the gifts is an expense, but it's convenient. More importantly, we shipped our gifts by UPS, enabling us to support hardworking union members and their families.

The package with our grandchildren's gifts is among the tens of millions that hardworking UPS workers will deliver this holiday season, an amazing logistical feat. Another noteworthy achievement is that this unionized workforce is fairly compensated as it powers a company that is thriving on a global scale.

Just last month, 240,000 Teamsters at UPS -- including delivery drivers, sort workers and feeder drivers -- ratified the largest private labor contract in the United States. This agreement secures their strong wages and record employer health, welfare and pension contributions for the next five years. This agreement benefits our local economy -- more than half of the 5,000 UPS workers in Michigan are based here in Metro Detroit.

UPS pact sets standard
Workers will receive annual $1.80-per-hour increases, on average, in benefits and wages for each of the next five years -- bringing the total compensation package to nearly $50 per hour. This contract also establishes a special pension fund for UPS workers, while providing a $6.1 billion payment to solidify the fund they had been in, and which thousands of other Teamsters rely on for their retirement.

"I think this is a very good contract," said Rolly Gerych, a UPS package car driver at the company's Livonia facility.

Often, workers who want to join a union must endure a lengthy, bruising election campaign.

An employer often mounts a vicious anti-union campaign and sometimes unfairly terminates workers often without much concern -- federal labor statutes threaten only small penalties for violating workers' labor rights.

Workers at UPS Freight know the situation well: This subsidiary was the former Overnite Trucking, operated by a notoriously anti-union owner who refused to acknowledge his workers' desire to join the Teamsters.

For more than 50 years, workers at Overnite fought to win a Teamster contract. Yet the owner terminated pro-union employees and failed to negotiate in good faith, according to regional offices of the National Labor Relations Board.

Fight for representation
In October, UPS Freight workers in Indianapolis ratified their first contract with the company. (The drivers and dockworkers endorsed the contract by a 107-1 vote.)

I'm confident that this agreement will convince thousands of workers to become Teamsters.

Along with this new contract, we negotiated an agreement to allow the remaining 15,000 workers at UPS Freight to build their union with the Teamsters simply by signing cards. Anyone familiar with organizing campaigns knows that this is a major victory.

While job security and solid wages are important at any time, at this time of year they can mean even more, especially if we have children. Parents want to provide them with the gift at the top of their list. Many of us remember being 5 or so, pining for a toy.

This holiday season, when shipping gifts for grandchildren and other loved ones, I urge you to use carriers such as UPS and DHL.

Unlike FedEx, all UPS employees and some 12,000 Teamsters work in the DHL system, are union members.

Workers at these carriers receive strong wages and solid benefits for themselves and their families. Make this holiday season better by using these fine carriers.