Saturday, February 17, 2018

With only a few logs rolled, ABF, Teamsters already at loggerheads

Company warns of pension crisis that will require action; union wants to cap intermodal, purchased transportation expense, restore lost ground from 2013.

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..................

UPS and UPS Freight Teamsters Taking Active Role As Negotiations Set To Resume February 19

UPS Contract Update for February 8
As the Teamsters National UPS and UPS Freight Negotiating Committees prepare to resume contract negotiations on February 19, members are continuing to take an active role and asking questions.
More than 20,000 Teamsters joined the UPS and UPS Freight contract negotiations update call on January 28, and scores of members left questions after the call.
Many of the questions addressed health, welfare and pension benefits, part-time pay, full-time jobs, harassment, excessive overtime, managers taking bargaining unit work and other important topics. Members were able to ask questions and then leave a message with a question after the call for the Division to review. Below are the most frequently asked questions.
Q: Will we address health and welfare and pension benefits?
A: Our negotiating committee sees this as a top priority for our members. Our surveys and feedback from members back this up. The IBT will continue to fight for the best benefits possible. We have received many proposals from the membership on these issues. Economic issues such as health and welfare and pension contributions, wage increases and wage progressions are discussed after many of the language proposals dealing with conditions are addressed. It is difficult to tell exactly when that will occur but we will let the membership know when that time comes.
Q: What is the IBT doing about the fact that there are not enough people filling part-time jobs?
A: Addressing understaffing in all classifications is a top priority. We will attempt to address this by bringing the part-time wage scale up. This will help with retention of part timers already working and allow UPS to hire a sufficient number of employees to staff its operations. We consider the current wage scale to be outdated, and UPS will have a hard time saying otherwise.
Q: Will more part-time jobs be converted to full-time in this contract?
A: We are proposing 10,000 additional full-time jobs over the term of the new contract. This is another way to address the chronic understaffing.
Q: How are we addressing harassment on the job?
A: We have a strong proposal under Article 37 Section 1 that addresses this ongoing problem. Currently, the union and the company have proposals that are far apart on this issue. However, this is a serious concern for many of our members and we will continue to fight for strong language.
Q: When will the IBT address the 70 hour/8 day work week and excessive forced overtime?
A: We have a proposal under Article 37 Section 1 (c) that essentially revamps the “9.5” process. As the negotiations proceed, the hours of service issue will be dealt with as part of an overall discussion on overtime. The committee’s position is very clear: the 70 hour/8 day work week does not work for Package Drivers.
Q:  Are you going to push for one-line seniority at UPS Freight?
A: The Union has proposed “work rules” to either be negotiated on a local or regional basis and this is where that particular issue would be addressed. According to input from the negotiating committee, not all locations want a single/one-line seniority board.
Q: We continue to see road runs being moved by subcontractors at UPS Freight. Are we going to address that?
A: Yes. This has been an ongoing problem at UPS Freight. We have specific proposals to deal with subcontracting - It is the number one issue at UPS Freight.
While the committee cannot answer every question, a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section has been added to the UPSrising app under the UPS Rising news category (see information on how to download the app below.) As negotiations continue, the FAQ will be expanded to include more questions and answers.
“We appreciate all the members who left questions for the committees and we will continue to provide answers to these questions as negotiations move forward,” said Denis Taylor, Director of the Teamsters Package Division and Co-Chairman of the National UPS Negotiating Committee.
The next round of negotiations will take place Feb. 19-22. 

Teamsters Celebrate & Remember James R. Hoffa

Visionary Labor Leader Born 105 Years Ago

“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.”

Teamsters Report Progress At ABF Negotiations

This week the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC) and ABF Freight resumed bargaining for a new national collective bargaining agreement and the union reported progress on some of the issues. The current agreement is set to expire on March 31, 2018.

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.