Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Teamsters Praise Passage of Bill to Stop Worker Misclassification

The Teamsters praised the passage of a Nebraska state bill making it illegal for employers to improperly classify workers as independent contractors, an egregious practice that has cost the state millions in tax revenue.

Gov. Dave Heineman signed Legislative Bill 563 into law on Tuesday. Jim Sheard, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 554 in Omaha, said the Teamsters fought for nearly two years to get this bill passed.

"Irresponsible employers who misclassify their workers put legitimate employers at a definite disadvantage," Sheard said. "They also cost the state between $9 million to $18 million a year in additional tax revenue. We fought hard to make sure the bill covered the transportation and construction industries."

Employers who misclassify workers can be fined up to $5,000 per misclassified worker by the state. State lawmakers overwhelmingly voted down a proposal that would have exempted the package delivery industry.

Employee misclassification is an issue being waged in statehouses across the country and on the federal level. By misclassifying workers as independent contractors, companies avoid paying withholding income taxes and paying Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Each year, more than $4.7 billion in federal income and employment tax revenue is lost due to misclassification and billions more are lost at the state level.

Companies that misclassify their workers save up to an estimated 30 percent on payroll costs, gaining an unfair advantage over their more responsible competitors. Irresponsible companies meanwhile are subsidized by law-abiding employers in the form of health insurance premiums.

Workers misclassified as independent contractors receive no protection from workplace health and safety laws, no legal rights to equal opportunity in the workplace, no rights to job-protected family and medical leave.

UPS Freight Zone Drivers in Six States Are Now Teamsters

Teamsters Now Represent Nearly All Eligible UPS Freight Workers

A group of UPS Freight workers spanning six states have joined the nearly 12,600 drivers and dockworkers across the country covered by a Teamster contract. UPS Freight drivers voted unanimously to ratify their first-ever contract as Teamsters.

With this vote, nearly all UPS Freight drivers and dockworkers enjoy the benefits and voice on the job provided by a Teamster contract.

The latest workers, called "zone drivers," service hard-to-reach areas outside of UPS Freight terminals. Their vote this month followed closely a group of drivers in LaCrosse, Wis., who in March also unanimously voted to ratify a Teamster contract with UPS Freight and became members of Local 695.

"We are pleased to have this group of drivers as Teamsters," said Ken Hall, Package Division Director and International Vice President. "These drivers provide an invaluable service to the company and they deserve to reap the benefits of a Teamster contract."

The new UPS Freight Teamsters are members of Local 696 in Kansas; Local 486 in Michigan; Local 346 in Minnesota; Local 833 in Missouri; Local 662 in Wisconsin; and Local 657 in Texas.

"They are really happy to be Teamsters now," said Frank Perkins, President of Local 657. "We had talked to them several months ago and they understood they would have to wait to become Teamsters but they hung in there. They are going to gain from the contract and they are looking forward to those improvements."

The Teamsters kicked off the organizing campaign in 2006 when the union organized UPS Freight workers in Indianapolis and negotiated a contract with the company that was ratified by a 107-1 vote in October 2007.

The Teamsters won a majority sign-up agreement with UPS in December 2007, and in January 2008, launched a nationwide campaign. By November 2008, the Teamsters represented more than 12,400 UPS Freight workers in 42 states.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

YRC President Resigns

Tim Wicks, YRC Worldwide Inc. President and Chief Operating Officer, announced this morning that he has resigned.

Wicks has only been in the president position at YRC for seven months and will now be leaving to return to his previous job with United Healthcare.

Despite the YRC's scare of almost having to file bankruptcy last December, first quarter profits have kept the company afloat.

However, shares are down 7.79% today with the announcement of Wick's departure.