Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Fedex Teamsters Chronicles Interview with Cliff Armstrong.

Cliff is a future Teamster. He is an organizer with the Fedex Teamsters in Fontana Service Center driving Pick Up and Delivery. He is 54 years old and he has 30 years of service with Fedex Freight/Viking Freight.
Q: To the best of your knowledge how much will you receive when you retire?
A: I will receive $1100 per month with my Fedex pension. With social security I will receive $1300 per month. So a total of $2400 dollars per month. You know after 30 years of service the Fedex Pension plan stops growing for me. This simply means I won't get one penny more after 30 years with the Fedex pension, but with a teamsters Pension I will keep growing my pension until I retire. Plus I won't have any medical insurance to speak of with fedex's pension, but the Teamsters have retiree medical something fedex is too cheap to give to their employees. I guess fedex just doesn't care when the employees retire if the employees have medical insurance or not.
Q: How comfortable are you with your retirement plan from Fedex?
A: I'm not comfortable with the Fedex pension at all. New pension or old pension is all the same. A complete fantasy. There is no medical plan to fall back on. I don't know what I'll do for medical insurance when I retire. It's going to be hard for me to live on that 1100 dollar a month pension Fedex is going to give me.
Q: What do you think about the NEW revamped pension plan Fedex is putting out there now that people are unionizing?
A: With the new pension plan, with my age and years of service I think this new plan stinks. The Fedex management is trying to simulate the Teamsters pension in a much cheaper version which will hurt employees in the long run. It's similar to the Teamsters golden 80's which combines years with length of service. I will get 36,000 dollars from this pension plan that's it. This amount with the new Fedex pension plan will be drawn off of the Treasury Rate. Let's say an employee, for sake of the conversation we will call the person Bugsy, would get 50,000 dollars after ten years of service. So say Bugsy works 20 years and gets 100,000 dollars. Bugsy then after taxes on that money which is drawn in a lump sum gets 75,000 dollars. This 75,000 dollars will only last Bugsy for 1 or 2 years tops. This is a weak retirement. Both Fedex pensions are pathetic and I feel the new pension plan is even more pathetic than the old one. The Fedex Corporation stresses a 401k plan, but the 401k plan goes up and down like a yo-yo. So you have to ask yourself is this plan secure for you and your future? Or are you going to rely on a yo-yo for your retirement? Is the 401k going to be up or down?
Q: What do you think of the so-called retirement estimator being passed around by the management at Fedex Freight?
A: I think it is like Disneyland. The retirement estimator is something out of fantasy land. It is pure nonsense. It is like setting up your retirement using a crystal ball. I have worked for fedex freight/Viking for 30 tough years and I feel very insulted by this retirement estimator. Everything about the old pension was a secret for the last 30 years, but now since there is a mass interest in unionizing the company is scared a union will come in. I feel as if the pension plan should have now and always have been public information for all employees to look at anytime they want to. I don't understand all of the secrecy and lies from the management.
Q: What would be a direct impact of unionizing Fedex Freight?
A: With a union the benefits package would be included in the union dues which means we as employees would pay less in benefits per month. The dues are 2 and a half times what we make per hour. With Fedex you have Fred Smith and a lot of corporate greed going on with the employees having to bear the brunt of paying more for health insurance, a terrible pension plan, and a fantastical retirement scheme involving a 401k. What a scam. The Fedex management is just taking more and more advantage of the employees trying to get a lot paying for very little.
Q: Do you think a Union would be good or bad for Fedex Freight?
A: I think that the Teamsters Union would be great for Fedex Freight. We will have an enhanced medical plan with little to no co-pay for medical visits and prescriptions. I will have a good retirement and favoritism till soon be eliminated with a union. If the company continues to try and cut my overtime the union will step in and demand that my seniority be respected. It is about respect. Also, I will have good backup if the company tries to write me up for no good reason. This is called a grievance procedure not a sham that is done now with a gestapo type management berating employees.
Q: What kind of future do you see for the Fedex Teamsters unionizing Fedex Freight?
A: I think the Fedex Teamsters have a very positive future. I see a binding Teamsters Union contract in our future. No more empty company promises. Fedex Freight employees will make more money per hour with better benefits, but the company will also have a lower turnover rate saving money and keeping employees working. Fedex Freight tells us we have the best company, but Fedex doesn't pay us or treat us like the best. You have to ask yourself,"What's wrong with this picture?"


the pallet crusher said...

I have seen too much harassment from the management to the employees at Fedex Freight. It is really disgusting the way management treats employees with no respect. The management is congenial to their face and then when the employee's back is turned the management insults the employee and degrades them. The time is coming and hopefully soon when favortism will end on the management's part and the seniority of workers will be respected which seniority is not respected now. The dockworkers and drivers are slowly uniting to unionize and eliminate the wrongs existing in our beloved company. This harassment and disrespect of retirement plans is a total utter poison heaped onto the employees from the management who should be ashamed to treat other people this way. The ME first attitude from management has to change. It negatively affects the employees with a lack of benefits and affects the customers because now you have disengaged employees who don't give a shit because the management doesn't give a shit about them. Then the customers receive damaged or late freight because of the empathy on the employee's part. What a shame. The customer must come first not the supervisor or manager. The employee should come second with management bringing up the rear. The management gets paid more and should act with more maturity. This is why FTA and WHT aren't winning service center of the year awards anymore because no one takes pride in their work and no one thinks about other people before themselves. Management is very selfish and hateful to the employees harassing them nitpicking their timecards and cussing at them all the time it sucks to be an employee of Fedex Freight. Instead of being excited to do a good job for the customers I go to work and think oh great what shit am I going to be told or have to do today? A positive atmosphere is not being enforced and I fear Fedex Freight will end up like all of these other companies that went out of business: (milne, system 99, CF) not turning a profit and shut down. How long do you think Fred Smith and the shareholders would keep Fedex Freight if it lost money. The point is Fedex Freight can turn more of a profit with a healthier atmosphere not harassment.

diversity wht said...

Cliff, I think you are really limiting yourself and don't get the big picture. We all live and operate in a very diverse global economy. With the $1,100 Pension that FedEx is giving you you're retirement pay will be paid $2,400 a month which is very good! It's true that your retirement pay will not equal the average income in countries like the United States, Iceland, Sweeden, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Switzerland, the UK, Norway, Finland, Luxumbourg, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, or Italy. On the other hand you'd fit right into the economic situation of countries that are paid the same or less than the above countries mentioned and you should get along quite well there. Try these countries on for size, and I think you'll be happy there. Slovenia, Hong Kong, Israel, Singapore, Greece, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, Korea, Malta, the Slovak Republic, Croatia, Antigua, the Czech Republic, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, the Seychelles islands, Estonia, or Hungary. If you're looking for convenience Mexico is close by but that is further down the list, but, on the other hand you'd be a wealthier man there in comparison to the general population!
I hope this helps you out!

the pallet crusher said...

I have a question. When the union comes in are my benefits included in the monthly dues and how much are the monthly dues?

irudedog said...

Your monthly dues are 2 1/2 your hourly wages.This goes towards the local and representation.The benefits are paid by the company and you will still have a deductible when you go for medical or medicines.

The Pallet Crusher said...

Its good to know I won't have to pay out of my paycheck every week for my medical. Fedex will pay for my insurance once we go Teamsters. I am tired of paying 120 a month for insurance costs going up and up.

Anonymous said...

I support the union because I want a decent pension and more pay per hour. Who doesn't want to be paid more for the work they do? I like my job and what I do and I like the people I work for on am grave at Whittier I just want more money per hour and a better future for my family. So I say union yes or should I say union of course why not?

the pallet crusher said...

Is it true that Yellow Freight and ABF drivers make only 10 cents more per hour than our drivers? How much do our drivers make in comparison to other companies?

EnBo said...

To all the young people out there who don't know what's going on here; the really bad part about FedEx is that they pay you less than you would get with a Teamster negociated contract. On top of that they don't even provide a you a decent decent pension. It is called lack of respect. They only respect legal power; the power to negociate. Alone as a driver or a dockworker you have no wealth or government power to speak of, so there is nothing to negociate. Hence, you will have to take the scraps the company gives you. Banded together in a Team of tens, hundreds, thousands or more the company has to respect that and will have to negociate a better deal for you and your fellow workers. If you cower in fear, and don't educate yourself you wing it alone you'll end up like Cliff in your fifties, or sixties, saying, "What The!"

New York City said...

Let me say that without unions you have no respect,no barganing on the tables,and your opinions means nothing to your employers.you are nothing but a working machine that produces money after money for their lifestyles.But when it comes to you,we ask for a fair decent wage,and for the employors to pay more on our medical benefits so that we pay less on our co-payments and prescriptions,but most important of all is our retirements,give us a retirement that is going to last for the remainig years of your life.I'm from New york city and thats why I chose union a proud TEAMSTER,"remember work union live better"! Now Fedex group this is a great website lets reach our hands across America and create equal rights and fairness. Frankie

irudedog said...

Pallet crusher.Yellow drivers make 69 cents more than a fedex driver. Which does't seem like much more. But don't forget they don't have to pay for beneifits out of their paycheck every week like a fdx driver does.Which could be at least a $100/month depending on what coverage he or she is under.

Reddawaydriver said...

I had the chance to meet some of the hard working guys from Fedex. I was very impressed with their level of commitment to becoming Union. USF Reddaway workers are also organizing the last remaining non union California Reddaway terminals. Your guys inspired me to help start a blog like this one. Thanks for the tips on how to get the word out. Keep up the good fight!!!