Monday, April 30, 2007

Who Are The Teamsters?

The Teamsters are America’s largest, most diverse union. In 1903, the Teamsters started as a merger of the two leading team driver associations. These drivers were the backbone of America’s robust economic growth, but they needed to organize to wrest their fair share from greedy corporations. Today, the Union’s task is exactly the same.

The Teamsters are known as the champion of freight drivers and warehouse workers, but have organized workers in virtually every occupation imaginable, both professional and non-professional, private sector and public sector.

Our 1.4 million members are public defenders in Minnesota; vegetable workers in California; sanitation workers in New York; brewers in St. Louis; newspaper workers in Seattle; construction workers in Las Vegas; zoo keepers in Pennsylvania; healthcare workers in Rhode Island; bakery workers in Maine; airline pilots, secretaries and police officers. Name the occupation and chances are we represent those workers somewhere.

There are nearly 1,900 Teamster affiliates throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, with the following breakdown:
Teamsters Locals - United States
440
Teamsters Locals - Canada
35
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers
and Trainmen (BLET) Locals
573
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) Locals
635
Graphics Communications Conference (GCC) Locals 206


Teamsters stand ready to organize workers who want to bargain collectively. Once a contract is negotiated and signed, the Union works to enforce it—holding management’s feet to the fire and invoking contract grievance procedures if management chooses not to. Wages and benefits under Teamster contracts are markedly better than those of non-union employees in similar jobs. Teamster contracts are the guarantors of decent wages, fair promotion, health coverage, job security, paid time-off and retirement income.

The Teamsters Union also performs vital tasks in such areas as pension management, safety & health, community outreach, governmental affairs and communications. For more than a century, the Teamsters have been a public voice for the rights and aspirations of working men and women and a key player in securing them.

6 comments:

JOE NUNO said...

LAS VEGAS) — Negotiations for both the 2008 national UPS contract and a contract covering workers at UPS Freight in Indianapolis are progressing well, Teamsters Parcel and Small Package Division Director Ken Hall told the 2007 Unity Conference April 29.

"We will be successful in negotiating strong agreements soon that will protect our members' futures," said Hall, who is also an International Union Vice President.

The national UPS contract being negotiated early — it expires August 1, 2008 — will protect members' pensions and health care, Hall said. The national negotiating committee recently began negotiating economic issues after data was collected from the relevant pension, health and welfare benefit funds, he said.

At UPS Freight, Hall said negotiations for a contract for the 125 drivers and dockworkers in Indianapolis will be completed in the near future as well. The Parcel Division is working with the Freight Division on the UPS Freight contract. The committee negotiating the UPS Freight contract will begin negotiating economic issues soon.

"The UPS Freight contract will be a stand-alone contract that will be competitive to the National Master Freight Agreement," Hall said. "It will also protect the jobs and work of our current members."

Hall said the UPS Freight contract must contain other protections.

"The UPS Freight agreement must include card-check and neutrality for the rest of the country," Hall said.

More than 15,000 workers at UPS Freight could become Teamsters in the near future.

Hall also provided Unity attendees with an update on the union's effort to organize FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery.

"This continues to be a priority for our union," Hall said. "FedEx CEO Fred Smith needs to know that he has exploited employees for far too long by misclassifying them as independent contractors rather than employees. The Teamsters will help provide these workers with the strong future they deserve."

JOE NUNO said...

(LAS VEGAS) — Some 500 Teamster organizers gathered at the fourth annual Teamsters organizing conference, held April 27-29. The event focused on the importance of politics in organizing, assisting local unions as they increase organizing capacity, and organizing in the South.


"Organizing is the lifeblood of our union—nothing is more vital," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa, addressing the organizers. "You are the mighty army that's going to get it done."

Hoffa cited a collection of recent victories that enabled thousands of workers to join the Teamsters, including: 2,000 school bus drivers; 2,000 workers in the DHL system; 2,000 solid waste industry workers; and 3,000 law enforcement officers.

"Organizing more members is our goal and it's a necessity," said Jeff Farmer, Director of the Teamsters Organizing Department. "We must continue to organize and maintain our ambitious pace."

"Employers out there may not like you," said General Secretary-Treasurer C. Thomas Keegel, addressing the organizers. "I don't give a damn about that. I say, ‘Organize! Organize! Organize!.'"

The conference, titled "Teamster Organizing: Bigger, Stronger, Faster," featured presentations concerning the importance of politics, a reminder of the importance of the union's DRIVE program, and a stirring speech by Rep. John Lewis.

"Come visit us in Congress. Invite those of us who support workers to your picket lines," said Rep. Lewis, addressing the organizers. "You will always have a friend in this member of Congress."

The organizing conference concluded as the assembled organizers kicked off the 2007 Teamsters Unity Conference. Marching into the large room where some 2,000 Teamsters were gathered for the Unity Conference, the organizers carried banners and chanted, "Every minute, every hour, organize for Teamster power!"

JOE NUNO said...

Workers Vote Unanimously for Representation

April 27, 2007

On April 17, employees of LOGISTICS 2020 in Fairborn, Ohio voted unanimously for representation by Local 957 in Dayton. The 10 material handlers, truck drivers and clerical workers work for the contractor at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

“The workers came to us because we represented several other groups that worked at the base. They talked to these other workers and realized that they also needed strong Teamster representation,” said Michael Maddy, organizer with Local 957.

The employees banded together over the reclassification of jobs and the reduction of the work force, which took place when the company took over for a previous contractor.

The new members are looking forward to a successful outcome from contract negotiations, which are underway.

JOE NUNO said...

Hartford Paper Reports on Windsor Organizing Campaign - April 20, 2007
The Hartford Courant got early wind of the NLRB Region 34 decision and put out an article last Saturday.

FedEx spokesperson Perry Colosimo continue to live in an alternate universe and repeats the company line.

"We disagree with the NLRB regional district's ruling and, as usual in these cases, we're prepared to go forth with an election at our Hartford facility," said Perry Colosimo, a spokesman for FedEx Ground.

Colosimo said most of the FedEx workers that the company considers to be independent contractors would prefer to remain independent. He did not say whether the company would appeal the decision.

Hello, Perry? Didn't you read the Region 34 Director's decision that said, "Between November 2, 2004 and September 20, 2006, three other regional offices have issued a total of four Decisions and Direction of Elections regarding the issue of whether the Employer's contract drivers are employees or independent contractors...In all four DDE's, the Regional Directors rejected the company's claim that drivers at issue were independent contractors....I take administrative notice of the fact that the Board denied the Employer's Request for Review in all four cases regarding the determination that contract drivers were statutory employees within the meaning of the Act."

So who do you believe, Perry or the NLRB?

TEAMSTER NEWS said...

Metra engineers OK seven-year contract
CLEVELAND, May 7 — Metra commuter engineers (former IC-Electric, MILW and Rock Island) represented by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen ratified a new seven year contract by a two-thirds majority.

The agreement provides wage increases of 16.5 percent over the life of the contract, which runs through July 1, 2010. Members will also receive a 2.5 percent lump sum bonus (a minimum of $1,200) and retroactive wage increases dating to July 1, 2006.

Other wage increases will come in the form of an increased certification allowance. This allowance, paid to locomotive engineers who are federally certified to operate locomotives, will increase several times over the life of the agreement: to $10 per tour of duty on April 19, 2007; to $12 on July 1, 2009; and to $13 on July 1, 2011.

“I commend the members of the Metra negotiating team, who had the difficult job of negotiating wage increases at a railroad that receives half of its funding from public funding,” said BLET National President Don Hahs. “The negotiating team did a tremendous job.”

BLET Vice President Richard K. Radek assisted three General Chairmen on the negotiating team — John Koonce (former IC Electric); Mike Priester (MILW North and West Lines); and Mike Taylor (former Rock Island).

“One of the most problematic things was the fact that Metra is about 50 percent publicly tax supported, and that funding source is shrinking due to lower tax revenues and highly increased demand for the funds, both from other agencies and because of public employee pension underfunding in the State of Illinois,” Vice President Radek said. “Another problematic issue was the ever-increasing cost of the benefit package, including health care coverage. I think we did well in obtaining the core economic portion of this agreement.”

Metra engineers will enjoy cost-free health care until Jan. 1, 2009. After that, members will contribute $50 per month until Jan. 1, 2010, when the cost will increase to $75 per month. The contribution will be capped at $80 per month starting Jan. 1, 2011.

“We were able to increase our certification allowance to $13 per tour and obtain a higher general wage increase, which more than offsets the health care contribution,” Vice President Radek said.

Other contract provisions include:

• An increase in company-paid deferred compensation to the employees 401k plan, bringing the company’s payment to $8.40 per tour of duty on Jan. 1, 2012;

• The right to use personal leave days as days worked for the calculation of overtime on yard assignments;

• The personal leave day rate of compensation will be the full pay of the last regular assignment;

• Personal leave days banked will be increased from 90 to 150 days;

• Engineers that exhaust all of the year’s personal leave days will be able to use banked personal leave days in the same year;

• Payment of bereavement leave will be at the same compensation earned if the engineer would have remained on his assignment. Regular days off will not disqualify Engineers from the three days pay, thereby allowing the three consecutive days to be split with regular assigned days off; and

•Lost earnings paid for jury duty minus court payments for all time held.

“We would like to thank Vice President Radek for all his help in reaching this settlement,” the three General Chairmen said in a statement.


Monday, May 07, 2007
bentley@ble.org

USF Reddaway Driver said...

Joe,

Thanks to you and Rudy for your supportive comments, and for linking our blog to yours. You guys led the way!