Saturday, May 17, 2008

UPS sending $1 million in aid to China

United Parcel Service Inc. reported Thursday evening The UPS Foundation will deliver more than $1 million in cash and support to the earthquake relief efforts in China.

Atlanta-based UPS will give a $500,000 cash donation to the American Red Cross in support of Red Cross earthquake response efforts on the ground, led by the Red Cross Society of China. UPS has pledged an additional $500,000 for in-kind support to help deliver relief supplies.

UPS has further pledged $50,000 to the China Charity Federation for medicine, biscuits, clothing, quilts, drinking water, tents, umbrella, torches, candles and masks among other items. The China Charity Federation is a China-based non-governmental humanitarian agency that provides assistance to low-income families and offers social relief work to those in need.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

ABF driver honored as one of Ohio's 12 best truck drivers

For nearly 35 years, city truck driver Edwin Jarzenski has gone by the name, "Rosey."

"It was short for Roosevelt," he explained. "A bunch of us [truck drivers] just had strange nicknames. Mine stuck."

May 16 will mark the 35 years Jarzenski has spent behind the wheel of a city delivery truck, averaging 80 miles each day on his route from Kent through Cuyahoga Falls, Stow and Peninsula.

In that time, he has put 1.67 million miles behind him and accumulated nearly 30,000 accident-free hours driving a delivery truck for ABF Freight System in Kent, according to David Bartosic, communications director for the Ohio Truck Driving Association.

Jarzenski recently was named one of the 12 Best Truck Drivers in Ohio by the OTA, receiving his award May 2 in Columbus. Sixty-two individuals were nominated for the honor.

Other awards -- 20 in total -- also have poured in since 1985 as a result of his participation in state and national truck driving competitions.

"They used to call it a rodeo," said the soft-spoken truck driver. "Once you get going to the competition, you start to see the same faces and people, year after year. If you win in your state, you get to go to the nationals and compete against all the other state champions."

Over the years, Jarzenski has kept a photo of all the trophies, plaques and awards he has won, deciding not to keep many of the awards.

"But, there's the grand-daddy of them all," he said, pointing to a nearly 2-foot trophy resting on the fireplace mantel in his home. "I'm not parting with that one."

"That one" is the first-place National Truck Driving Championship Award, which Jarzenski won in 1995. He placed second nationally in 2005 and third in 2001.

"They have an obstacle course set up with six problems," said Jarzenski of the National Championship. "You have to maneuver the truck through those obstacles as best you can. Then, they have a written part of the test you have to take and tractor-trailors set up that have defects on them. You have to walk around, saying, 'This is a problem. This is a defect. This could cause a breakdown later in the day.' They judge you on all of that."

Jarzenski said he is not sure about his future plans.

"I could retire in August," he said. "I'll have the age and years. But, I enjoy going to work so much that I'd like to just keep driving. I might be a borderline workaholic."

Randy Meek, regional safety and security manager for ABF, nominated Jarzenski for the 12 Best Truck Drivers award.

"I've known him almost eight years," said Meek. "He is just a true gentleman. His poise, his demeanor -- he's courteous to everyone."

Meek said Jarzenski's driving record and state and national competition successes also stand out.

"I think it's remarkable for somebody to do that much and go that far," said Meek. "Rosey approaches his job every day with the mindset to do his best -- and he does."

Teamsters Slam Proposal to Let Bigger Trucks On U.S. Highways

Hoffa Says Congress Shouldn't Consider 'Crazy' Plan

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa on Wednesday urged Congress to ignore trucking industry lobbyists who want to let dangerous large trucks on our highways.

A trucking industry group called "Americans for Safe and Efficient Transportation" is lobbying Congress this week for a pilot program to let bigger trucks on the road in five, possibly six states.

The states are Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Georgia and possibly Texas.

"The idea of letting bigger trucks on the road is just crazy," Hoffa said. "They're extremely dangerous and they ruin our roads and bridges, which are already in bad shape."

"I can't imagine a worse time to promote this idea. Our infrastructure is falling apart and the highway fund is running out of money, and they want to allow trucks that do more damage to roads and bridges?" Hoffa said.

Hoffa also pointed out that the Bush administration failed to reduce the death rate in large truck crashes.

"What is it about highway safety that the Bush administration doesn't understand?" Hoffa said. "They've already increased the hours truckers can drive and they've tried to let unsafe trucks from Mexico beyond the border zone. Is the Bush administration trying to kill us?"

Teamsters Urge Congress to Resist Pressure on Colombia Trade Deal

Change to Win, AFL-CIO Show Solidarity With Colombian Union Leaders During U.S. Visit To Oppose Trade Deal

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa on Wednesday urged Congress to resist White House pressure to pass a trade deal with Colombia.

During a Capitol Hill news conference, seven Colombian union leaders said they oppose the deal because it rewards the government of Alvaro Uribe, which shows little respect for union rights.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, joined the union leaders. The unionists are meeting with members of Congress to make it clear that the labor rights situation in Colombia remains dire, despite the assurances of the Bush and Uribe administrations.

“These trade deals harm workers and protect the multinationals that exploit them,” Hoffa said. “It’s a bogus claim that union leaders will be safer if we enter into a trade agreement with Colombia. After CAFTA was signed, violence against unionists in Guatemala went up—not down.”

At least eight trade unionists were killed in Guatemala after CAFTA took effect on July 1, 2006.

Already this year, 23 trade unionists were killed in Colombia, a rate that surpasses last year’s. Since Alvaro Uribe took office, more trade unionists were killed in Colombia than in the rest of the world combined.

The U.S.-Colombia trade deal was sidelined when the House of Representatives voted to remove it from Fast Track rules. Business lobbyists, the White House and the Colombian government are bringing intense pressure on Congress to approve the deal.

The Bush administration indicated it may try to cut a deal with Congress, perhaps exchanging Trade Adjustment Assistance or an economic stimulus package for the Colombia trade agreement. The Teamsters support both, but will vigorously oppose any attempt to pass this trade pact with Colombia.

The Teamsters are part of the Change to Win federation, which is fighting the U.S.-Colombia trade deal. The AFL-CIO also strongly opposes the deal. Change to Win and the AFL-CIO are hosting the delegation of Colombia union leaders this week.

The visiting union leaders are:

Luís Alfonso Velásquez Rico, National Executive Committee member of the Unitary Workers Center; Alba Lucía Campaz Cuero, President of the Hospital Workers Union; Jorge Enrique Gamboa Caballero, President of the National Petroleum Workers Union; Segundo Ernesto Mora Mateus, General Secretary of the Bank Workers Union; Percy Oyola Paloma, President of the National Union of Telecommunications Workers; Evan Torro Lopez, Executive Committee member of the National Association of Bank Workers; and John Jairo Caicedo Villegas, President of the Colombia Workers Union.

Monday, May 12, 2008

UPS Freight Workers in Pennsylvania Sign Cards to Become Teamsters

In Latest Victory, About 60 Drivers, Dockworkers Will Join Teamsters

An overwhelming majority of about 60 workers at the UPS Freight terminal in York, Pennsylvania have signed authorization cards to become Teamsters, bringing the total number of drivers and dockworkers who have signed cards to 10,760 since January 16, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa announced.

The workers will be joining Local 776 based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

“The UPS Freight workers in York were determined to join the Teamsters and we are proud to welcome them,” said Teamsters Package Division Director Ken Hall. “Their determination will be rewarded with a strong contract.”

“I am extremely happy the York workers have taken the first step toward becoming Teamsters and changing their lives for the better,” said Dan Virtue, President of Local 776. “Hopefully soon their brothers and sisters in Harrisburg will join them.”

In April, more than 89 percent of UPS Freight workers who are already Teamster members ratified a new contract, which improves wages, benefits and working conditions.

UPS Freight Accelerates Shipping for Customers in 11 States

UPS Freight today announced it has reduced transit times on nearly 1,000 traffic lanes originating in metropolitan areas in the Southwest and Southeast to points across the United States. Transit times have been reduced by one or two days from points in 11 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

The customer improvements are being made without adjusting rates. The latest round of enhancements follow the more than 8,000 lanes that were improved nationwide by the company in 2007. "UPS Freight is on a path to create a combination of reliability, technology and speed that no other competitor can match,” said Jack Holmes, president of UPS Freight. "We are aggressively rolling out improvements in all areas of the business to keep pace with the evolving needs of our customers. This latest round of lane enhancements comes on the heels of a new on-time performance guarantee and freshly integrated shipping and visibility technology.”

Similar network improvements, in a phased plan, will be made throughout other regions of the country later this year. Specific lane enhancements and updated time-in-transit maps may be viewed on Examples of the network enhancements include placing all of New England under a two-day delivery umbrella from Memphis, Tenn., and shipments from Charlotte, N.C., reaching destinations as far as Dallas and Columbia, Mo., in two days.

"There are clear customer benefits here,” Holmes added. "The expedited times allow customers to reduce the inventories they’re carrying. And the introduction of more direct routes also means that less handling of the freight is required.”