TeamCare Report: Flush with Money

The Central States Health and Welfare Fund (TeamCare) is flush with money, as Hoffa and Hall make excuses for benefit cuts that UPS Teamsters and retirees have suffered.

The latest (2nd quarter 2014) TeamCare Financial and Analytical Report shows that its reserves continued to grow at an annual rate of $326 million per year during the first half of 2014.

The report notes that UPS paid a lump sum of $1.713 billion to cover the future benefits of retirees. With that payment, UPS dumped its obligation to retirees onto Central States.

As a result of a contract concession, UPS retirees in the fund will pay higher monthly premiums for health care.

In addition to that $1.7 billion, the fund has an additional $2.2 billion in reserves, which increased by $163 million during the first half of 2014.

On March 1, 2014, some 10,000 UPS Freight Teamsters joined the fund, and some 72,000 UPS package Teamsters did so on June 1, 2014. About 9,000 Local 705 Teamsters will join TeamCare on February 1, and about 6,000 Local 710 Teamsters are expected to join soon after.

Because the report only covers until June 30, 2014, the impact of some 100,000 new participants is not detailed in the report. The third quarter report – expected soon – may be more informative.

Note: The report is dated December 3, 2014 but the Central States Fund delayed providing it until January 12. They are bound by a court order which we won to provide the quarterly financial reports to the attorney for retirees who sued the fund.

Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) is the only source which makes these financial reports available to members.

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Lessons from a UPS Contract Victory

While other Teamsters were taking concessions, UPS Teamsters in New York Local 804 won a $400 pension increase, 150 new full-time jobs and grievance procedure reform.

Local 804 President Tim Sylvester explained how they did it in a speech to the Labor Notes conference of union leaders and activists.

“When the International Union makes givebacks to UPS, they are sending a message to every employer—that the concessions stand is open in the Teamsters Union. We decided to send a different message: The concessions stand is now closed.

“We formed a Contract Action Team. We took contract surveys to every building, Teamster to Teamster, and over 3,000 members filled out surveys.

“We held parking lot rallies. We have a 15-foot inflatable fat-cat strangling a UPS worker that made a tour of the local.

“Every action we took was designed to bring members together and send UPS a message: if you come to us with concessions, we will Vote No and send them back.

“Negotiations did not go smoothly. UPS refused to negotiate pension increases or more full-time jobs. The International Union called our negotiating committee down to Florida and told us that a $3,800/month was the best that we could do.

“We told them our bottom line was $4,000. We went back to New York and held parking lot meetings and rallies. Our members showed they were ready to Vote No and hold up the contract. We used that leverage to win improvements.

“UPS came back to the table. We won a $400 pension increase and a $4,000 pension—and we maintained 25-and-out. We won 150 new fulltime jobs for part-timers. And we won a new grievance procedure so members get faster justice and don’t need to walk off the job to be heard.

“Union Power is not something you declare in a press release.

“It is something you build worker-to-worker by mobilizing and involving the members.”

Watch the Video: How 804 Members Won a Strong Contract

Tim Sylvester and UPS Teamsters in Local 804 bucked the concessions trend and won a pension increase, full-time jobs and grievance procedure reform.

Share the video that shows how they did it.

www.facebook.com/teamstersforademocraticunion/videos

Gearing Up Early
Local 804 formed a Contract Action Team and launched a Contract Survey so members could set the bargaining goals. More than 3,000 members participated, sending management a message that members care about their contract.

Members Set the Demands
Members packed a contract meeting to speak out on their priority issues. A Contract Proposal Committee of stewards and members finalized the demands that Local 804 turned in to management.

Stewards on the Bargaining Committee
Shop stewards, full-time and part-time, joined the Contract Negotiating Committee to bring members’ issues straight to management.

Members Show Contract Unity
Members wore contract stickers, posted signs in their car windows and held parking lot meetings to get updates. These actions showed management that members were informed and united.

Rallies and Contract Action
When management refused to negotiate pension increases and full-time jobs, members held rallies to send management the message they were ready to take action to win contract improvements.

Making UPS Deliver
UPS management came back to the table and agreed to contract improvements, including a $400 pension increase, 150 new full-time jobs and a new grievance procedure.

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UPS Teamsters & the IBT Election

UPS Teamsters have the numbers and the network to make the difference in the International Union election.

There are 250,000 UPS Teamsters. It takes 200,000 votes to elect new leadership in the International Union. Of course, not all UPS Teamsters are going to vote. But if even 40 percent of them vote, that’s half of the 200,000 votes needed to win.

In the last International Union election, Hoffa carried the UPS vote in many locals. Many UPS Teamsters opposed Hoffa but the opposition vote was divided.

The Gegare slate won big in Louisville Local 89, Omaha Local 554 and other big UPS units. Sandy Pope won by large margins in New York Local 804, Charlotte Local 71, Cincinnati Local 100 and elsewhere.

In some locals, the Gegare vote plus the Pope vote swamped Hoffa and Hall, such as Columbus Local 413, Memphis Local 667, Nashville Local 327, Lexington Local 651, Kansas City Local 41, and others.

Anti-Hoffa voters outnumbered Hoffa-Hall voters by slimmer margins in major cities like Chicago Local 705, Portland Local 162, Sacramento Local 150, Indianapolis Local 135, and elsewhere.

Hoffa and Hall won a number of major UPS locals last time, where members then turned around and voted overwhelmingly against the UPS contract.

In Los Angeles Local 396 Hoffa and Hall won 65 percent of the vote.

They overwhelmingly carried the vote among UPSers in metro Philly, winning by two to one in Norristown Local 384 and took 76 percent of the vote at Philadelphia Local 623.

Hoffa and Hall narrowly won in New Jersey Local 177, in a light voter turnout.
The votes in these and other UPS locals can be turned completely around, but we need to get organized.

The problem of voter turnout in International Union elections is well known. But the solution is well known too.

The voting results from every Teamster election shows that in locals where rank and file Teamsters actively campaigned and reached out to fellow UPSers, the members voted in larger numbers and the reform candidates won more votes.

The Teamsters Union is diverse. UPS Teamsters can’t win the election by themselves. That’s why TDU unites Teamsters from every local and every industry.

But UPSers are by far the biggest group and they are spread across North America, in hundreds of local unions. That means UPSers are not just the biggest voting bloc. They’re also positioned to reach out to Teamster voters in other shops and industries.

TDU members at UPS are gearing up to vote out Hoffa and Hall and elect International Union leaders who will stand up to UPS. Contact TDU to find out more or join TDU online.

TDU keeps a detailed record of the voting results from every International Union election since 1991. If you want to learn from the past to win in the future, contact us. You can also look at the voting results from the last election www.tdu.org/issues/2011-ibt-election.

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Getting Part-Timers Involved: an interview with Local 804 steward Kioma Forero

Stewards in your building have had a lot of success in winning grievances and getting more members involved. How do you do it?

A lot of our organizing is done from our parking lot meetings held every other Thursday and Friday.

What do you do at the parking lot meetings?

The topics depend on what the most important issues are at work that week. One week it could be management cracking down on attendance, another it could be on policies and procedures. We’re responding to what members are dealing with that week.

We deal with supervisors working a lot. When sups working becomes a problem, we’ll have a meeting and explain the violation and contract language. We’ll do a grievance training, taking members through the whole process, from gathering facts, filing the grievance, and what the procedure is. Members get the tools to file grievances, get their grievance pay, and learn how to enforce the contract.

During the last contract negotiations, we used the meetings to survey members on what their issues were, answer members questions about proposals and the negotiation process and to explain what’s in the new contract.

There are so many problems at UPS. How do you choose where to focus?

We pick the hot issues—ones that effect a lot of members, ones that people feel strongly about. And we look for issues where we can win and make a difference for people.

You can’t deal with everybody and every issue, so I try to find the people who are interested and want to know more and the ones who want to work with others and build the union. I try to mentor women, too. There’s a new assistant steward and you can tell she has what it takes to be a really good leader.

What would you say to people who say you can’t get part-timers involved?

I’d ask them if they were ever a part-timer and remember what it was like!

Part-timers get involved in my local because we’re taking on our issues—supervisors working, the need for more full-time jobs, harassment. You’ve got to get to know the problems part-timers are dealing with and address them before you jump to conclusions about parttimers not being involved.

There was record turnout from part-timers in our last local election, because our side [the incumbent slate, Members United—ed.] campaigned on winning more full-time jobs. Part-timers voted big in the election and we ended up winning 150 new full-time jobs in the new contract.

Local 804 had a bus full of members attend the TDU Convention. How has TDU helped you educate members?

TDU gives members the bigger picture on what it takes to make the union stronger, on the need to reform the whole union. The TDU Conventions empower members and gives them tips on the nuts and bolts of winning grievances and organizing. They like being with other members who are working to make the union stronger too.

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UPS Profits Off Pension Cuts

The lame duck Congress has attached pension cut legislation to the end-of-year spending bill that will pave the way for the worst pension cuts in Teamster history.

Leave it to UPS to find a way to make billions off this disaster.

UPS lobbyists fought for and won a special interest loophole that shifts $2 billion in the company’s pension responsibilities on to the backs of Teamster retirees in the Central States. These retirees will now face even bigger pension cuts as a result.

UPS is the one and only company that benefits from the loophole on pages 81-82. Its purpose is to ensure that the Central States Pension Fund will not reduce the pensions of UPS workers who retired after January 1, 2008.

Not reducing pensions. Isn’t that a good thing? Of course! But UPS retirees in the Central States are already protected from having their pensions reduced.

In the case of any pension cuts by Central States, Article 34, Section 1 of the UPS master agreement, requires the company to make up any lost pension benefits.

UPS’s special interest loophole means the company won’t have to make up for any pension cuts. The loophole doesn’t save UPS retirees a dime, but UPS will save a fortune.

Teamster retirees and their widows will face $2 billion more in pension cuts so UPS can get out of paying the obligations it agreed to in the contact.

What can Brown do for you? Certainly, not this.

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Kicked to the Curb for Pregnancy, a UPSer Fights Back

Thanks to a UPS driver, the Supreme Court and Congress are taking up pregnancy discrimination by employers. Thank Peggy Young for standing up to UPS.

Women should not have to worry about losing their income just because they become pregnant. But that’s the reality for Teamsters and other women workers.

Peggy Young, a UPS driver, was denied temporary light duty and forced to take unpaid leave when her doctor put her on a temporary twenty-pound lifting restriction until after she gave birth.

Peggy knew this was wrong and she fought back. Sign the Thank You Card to Peggy Young to thank her for standing up to UPS.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Peggy Young v. UPS yesterday.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act has been introduced in Congress, a bill that will protect the right of pregnant workers to keep their jobs and support their families.

And UPS has changed its policy and will offer light duty to employees who have lifting or other restrictions because of pregnancy.

Teamsters for a Democratic Union took up this issue when UPS began discriminating against pregnant employees and the Hoffa administration did nothing.

Peggy Young took this fight to the highest court in the land.

Sign the Thank You Card to Peggy Young for standing up to UPS and standing up for all workers.

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One Grateful Turkey

UPS CEO cashed in 40,000 shares of company stock two days before Thanksgiving for $4.3 million. Starting pay for UPS part-timers, in several areas, has fallen behind the minimum wage.

Davis still owns another 246,412 shares of UPS stock worth $26.5 million.

CEOs make more than Teamsters. We get that. But this is obscene, especially when many UPS part-timers are making poverty wages. Starting pay for UPS part-timers is frozen at just $10 an hour until 2018.

Legislation has been introduced to raise the federal minimum wage to higher than that: $10.10 an hour.

In several areas, the minimum wage has already surpassed starting pay under the UPS contract negotiated by Ken Hall.

Hawaii and Maryland voted to phase in hikes to the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Seattle will phase in a new minimum wage of $15 an hour. Businesses with more than 500 workers must meet that level within three years. That includes the UPS hub.

San Francisco will also raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the same period. A UPS hub will be covered there too.

UPS part-timers at the hub in Richmond, California will make $12.30 starting in 2017 thanks to a minimum wage hike there with a COLA after that.

This list will continue to grow by 2018.

It’s time to End Part-Time Poverty at UPS. That starts with building a movement to elect new International Union leadership in 2016.

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The Supreme Court Could Soon Make Life Harder for Pregnant Women

This holiday season, when you pick up another box of heavy gifts left at your doorway by a delivery person, ask yourself: Should a pregnant woman lift this?

The Supreme Court will be asking itself a related question in early December when it considers the biggest test of the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act in a generation.

Click here to read more at The Huffington Post.

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Louisville UPS pilots taking complaints to company’s investors

Louisville UPS pilots are taking their complaints to the company’s investors.

The company’s pilots placed a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal Thursday, pushing for a new contract.

Click here to read more at WDRB.com

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Teamster Power in a Global Economy

UPS is growing fast internationally and so is the middle class. How do we build union power in a global economy?

UPS’s business is driven by middle-class consumers sending packages and buying products online.

While UPS’s middle-class customer base is expected to grow rapidly through 2030, only a small amount of growth will come from the US.

Most of the growth in the global middle class is expected in Asia, especially China, and India.

Teamsters are still the engine of UPS’s revenue and profits. We’ve generated 61% of UPS’s revenue so far this year—and UPS Freight Teamsters piled more revenue on top of that.

Teamsters will continue to be central to the company’s operations and profits—but UPS has a long-term plan and we need one too in a global economy. We’ve got to build global union ties and global labor solidarity for union power in the long run.

UPS has a long-term plan. Our union needs one too. The time to start is now.

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UPS Hits the Brakes on Pregnancy Discrimination

In a victory for women Teamsters, UPS has announced it will offer light duty to employees who have lifting or other work restrictions because of pregnancy.

For years, UPS allowed pregnant women with health restrictions to work light duty. But ten years ago, management reversed course company-wide and began denying alternate work to pregnant Teamsters.

Teamster women who were unable to keep working during their pregnancy had to burn their FMLA leave or lost their FMLA benefits altogether because they came up short of the hours they needed to qualify.

Some pregnant Teamsters even lost their medical benefits before childbirth. (Under the contract, health coverage runs out after six months on disability leave.)

Teamsters for a Democratic Union supported mad moms who protested against UPS. But the Hoffa administration refused to take on the issue and UPS management got away with pregnancy discrimination.

Until now, that is.

Former Teamster Peggy Young sued UPS for pregnancy discrimination and the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

Finally, UPS management caved. In a brief to the Supreme Court, UPS has announced that “On a going-forward basis, UPS has voluntarily decided to provide additional accommodations for pregnancy-related physical limitations.”

UPS’s new policy provides: ‘Light duty work will be provided as an accommodation to pregnant employees with lifting or other physical restrictions to the same extent as such work is available as an accommodation to employees with similar restrictions resulting from on-the-job injuries.’”

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UPS National Grievance Panel Decisions

Click here to download the UPS National Grievance Panel docket.

Click here to read the docket for the UPS Joint National Air Committee.

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TeamCare Sticks with Healthcare Cuts

The new Health Plan covering UPS Teamsters in the Southwest and New Jersey Local 177 is improving health benefits. Why won’t TeamCare?

Over the past two weeks, UPS Teamsters in most of the West and in New Jersey Local 177 got some good news in the mail: their health and welfare fund is improving benefits.

The modifications to the plan reduce emergency room co-pays, improve dental and optical coverage, and make other changes, effective September 1.

Members have been up in arms about the cuts in health coverage from day one, and that pressure finally won some improvements.

But what about TeamCare? It’s time for the Hoffa administration to deliver more than healthcare cuts.

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Brown Giving Teamsters the Black Friday Blues

UPS profits are up and a record peak season is expected. For the first time package drivers will be forced to work on Black Friday.

UPS announced today third-quarter profits of $1.2 billion. That’s an increase of 11 percent over last year. Both profit figures topped Wall Street’s predictions. For the year, UPS expects to make after-tax profits of around $4.5 billion.

UPS also announced that Surepost shipments increased more than 50 percent.

Management expects peak season deliveries to jump by 11 percent this year, shattering the previous record.

For the first time, UPS will have ground service on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Management will force members to work if there are not enough volunteers who want to work the holiday for the extra pay.

One local at least has contract language that allows Teamsters to avoid the Black Friday blues. Under the New York Local 804 Supplement, UPS cannot schedule Teamsters to work on a holiday, including the day after Thanksgiving.

Local 804 members who want the day after Thanksgiving with their family can take the day off with pay. Any Local 804 member who works will get double-time pay for all hours worked, plus holiday pay.

The national contract has no language to stop UPS’s Black Friday plans and the issue was not addressed in contract negotiations.

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Download the Docket for the UPS National Grievance Panel

The next UPS National Grievance Panel will be held Oct. 6-9, 2014 in Sacramento. TDU is making the complete list of the cases to be heard at the panel available to concerned Teamsters.

Click here to download the cases before the National Grievance Committee.

Click here to download the cases before the Joint National Air Committee.

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