Safety Advice

TDU Member Wins: Record Whistleblower Settlement

The U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Review Board has upheld a $100,000 OSHA award to a TDU leader and feeder driver who refused to drive unsafe equipment.

John Youngermann, a TDU steering committee member and UPS feeder driver out of Earth City, Mo., has scored a major win against UPS in support of Teamster rights to refuse to drive unsafe equipment.

The original case dates back to April 2009 when UPS fired Youngermann for refusing to pull a trailer with inoperable tail lights and side marker lights.

Youngermann phoned the company to try to get the equipment repaired. When the company ordered him to pull the unsafe equipment, Youngermann refused. He was terminated and later returned to work under the grievance procedure, but without full back pay.

In April 2010, OSHA awarded Youngermann compensatory and punitive damages as well as back pay with overtime and interest.

UPS appealed. Thereafter an administrative law judge from the Labor Department held a hearing and awarded Youngermann the same relief OSHA had awarded him, plus attorney fees. UPS appealed again, but the U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Review Board officially affirmed the ALJ’s ruling on Feb. 27, 2013.

Youngermann is represented by attorney Paul Taylor, an expert in whistleblower law from the Truckers Justice Center.

“This case is a real victory for all UPS employees. It shows that employees can receive justice from the DOL when they are disciplined for refusing to break the law,” reported Taylor.

“I’m really happy we got this ruling for John, because he received the largest punitive damages award ever in any trucking whistleblower case. Through the efforts of TDU in educating commercial drivers John knew he had the right to refuse to drive an unsafe vehicle,” Taylor said.

Find Out More About Your Rights

The Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) protects drivers’ rights to enforce truck safety by making it illegal for a company to discipline, discharge or discriminate against an employee for making a vehicle safety complaint or refusing to operate an unsafe vehicle.

Teamsters for a Democratic Union was instrumental in winning the passage of this law and works with Teamsters to enforce it.

Click here to read more about Your Rights to Refuse to Drive Unsafe Equipment.

Click here to purchase the STAA Handdbook: How to Use the Surface Transportation Assistance Act to Enforce Truck Safety and Protect Your Job.

Posted in Safety Advice
Leave a comment        Email This Post Email This Post        Print This Post Print This Post

Take the Plunge for Safety

Feeder drivers at UPS are often frustrated by company policy on the use of the snubber or plunger on the pintle-hook assemblies that secure the dolly on doubles units. The air-activated plunger is a safety devise that limits play in the hook on the rear of the front trailer. This device prevents the 1″ to 2″ slack that would otherwise allow movement at the dolly connection. Read the rest …

Posted in News, Safety Advice
Leave a comment        Email This Post Email This Post        Print This Post Print This Post

When You Gotta Go

UPS management has been hassling drivers in some areas about going off their route to use bathroom facilities and even for going to the bathroom when they’re not on their break.  Is this happening in your area? Let us know and find out your rights under federal law.
Read the rest …

Posted in Production Harassment Advice, Production Harassment News, Safety Advice, Safety News
Leave a comment        Email This Post Email This Post        Print This Post Print This Post

Crossing the Line on Safety Quizzes

We’re all familiar with UPS’s pop quizzes on the 10-Point Commentary and other company safety-speak. The company has decided it’s not enough for drivers to work safely and follow proper methods. They want us to recite their methods word-for-word.

The company can make us play the game, but there are limits. And some managers are stepping over the line. In some instances, UPS has threatened to take drivers out of service without pay if they can’t properly answer questions. Read the rest …

Posted in Safety Advice, Safety News
Leave a comment        Email This Post Email This Post        Print This Post Print This Post