Hoffa and Hall have promised UPS will curb production harassment, hire more package drivers and respect members’ 9.5 rights.
It’s up to Teamster members to hold Hoffa and Hall to their pledge and to Make UPS Deliver on these commitments.
On national conference calls with Teamsters stewards in October, Hoffa and Ken Hall announced UPS management would curb production harassment, respect members’ 9.5 rights and eliminate the need for higher stop counts and excessive overtime by hiring more package drivers.
“We told UPS we are not going to tolerate harassment of our members. You can’t use the economy as an excuse,” Hoffa told the conference call.
Hall said that UPS management had decided that “the way to offset volume losses is to pile more work on existing drivers.”
Stress and Fatigue
That’s exactly right, and the results are the problems familiar to all UPS Teamsters. Routes are being cut and combined. Stop counts are up and so is SPORH harassment. UPSers are working longer hours and being ground under by stress and fatigue.
Our 9.5 rights are routinely violated and many members steer clear of filing 9.5 because they fear management retaliation and have lost faith in the grievance procedure.
Hoffa and Hall claimed management agreed to take immediate action to address these problems.
Specifically, Hall claimed that UPS management agreed to the following demands from the International Union:
1) Stop harassment rides.
2) Review dispatches and hire more drivers to match the number of drivers employed when volume was previously at this level.
3) Stop retaliation against drivers who file 9.5 grievances, specifically assigning supervisors to ride with drivers who file 9.5 grievances.
Hall told stewards, “This is the first time the company came to the table and said we admit we’re wrong and we’re going to change our ways.”
But whether management is really going to change their ways or if this was all an election year gimmick very much remains to be seen.
Management Gets Its Way
Until now, UPS management has been having its way with the Hoffa administration—a concessionary early agreement in 2008 and runaway contract violations ever since.
At the Teamster Convention, Hall threw down the gauntlet about upcoming negotiations, saying, “We’re not going to be talking about concessions.” Hall has also said there will be no early negotiations unless the economy turns around.
When it comes to holding UPS to their pledge to curb production harassment, respect 9.5 rights and hire more drivers, Hall said, “We can’t just sit back and hope the company does the right thing.”
He pledged to launch a very public campaign targeting UPS if the company didn’t fulfill its promises.
That was in October. So far not much has changed and there has been no sign of a coordinated contract enforcement campaign—public or otherwise.
Teamsters have learned the hard way that when the Hoffa election train leaves the station, the platform stays behind.
With ongoing contract violations and upcoming contract negotiations, the stakes are too high for UPS Teamsters to let Hoffa-Hall or UPS management off the hook in 2012.
We Have to Step Up
“If UPS Teamsters want the production harassment and contract violations to stop, we’ve got to step up. We can’t sit back and wait for Hoffa, Hall or UPS management to do the right thing.
“TDU’s Make UPS Deliver network is our tool for sharing information and strategies—and uniting nationally to enforce our rights.”
Craig Karnia, Package Car, Local 705, Chicago
Put More People to Work
“Hoffa and Hall say UPS management has pledged to hire more package drivers. Where I work, UPS brings on temp drivers who work the same shifts and drive the same routes I do, but for $11.50 an hour with no benefits and no job security.
“Our union needs to demand that our biggest and most profitable employer hire more package car drivers at the full union rate—to ease the pounding on Teamster members and to put more people to work in good union jobs.”
Bob Slezak, Package Car, Local 59, Cape Cod, Mass.
Delivering the Contract We Deserve
Contract negotiations will be here before we know it. The time to get ready is now. We need stronger language to protect members from production harassment, 9.5 violations, trumped up ‘dishonesty’ charges, new technology and unfair discipline. UPS Teamsters are the ones who have to live under the contract and we deserve a voice in bargaining. TDU will be holding meetings across the country to bring UPSers together to lay out a bargaining agenda for a contract that works for us—not just UPS management.