As you’ve probably already heard by now we recently lost the decertification VOTE with FedEx Freight on July 7, 2017. After nearly 18 months of legal maneuvering by FedEx we were finally able to force them to the negotiations table. We knew going in it would be a hard fight but the asinine arrogance of such an overwhelming anti-union company was without comparison. Now, after a year of hard negotiations the company had one of their “favored” employees file for a de-certification vote on the very day eligible. We had been preparing for this strategically for the past few months by intentionally presenting well planned proposals on health/ welfare, pension and wages.
The health and welfare proposal were FAR superior in coverage, deductible and coverage to anything FedEx has ever offered to their employees and was less expensive. The pension proposal was a comprehensive plan that gave them something to look forward to and even gave each employee additional vesting credit based on years of service with FedEx, something that was virtually non-existent previously. The wages were in direct correlation to UPS and GUARANTEED under the contract, whereas before they were subject to the company’s “kindheartedness”. The company’s policies changed OVER 57 times during the one year we were in negotiations, ALL without ANY say so of the employees, something we had several tentative agreements on that would have stopped this.
During the 2 ½ year span we were in this process ALL discipline STOPPED, ALL write-ups STOPPED, pay shortages were PAID, all the favoritism STOPPED, the “Good Ole Boy” mentality was put in check. Oh, how quickly they forget.
As with any organizing campaign our success is only as good as the truthful responses we get from the employees through our committees. Going into this election we had 131 “CONFIRMED” YES votes of the 207 eligible voters. Meaning we should have easily won, however this was not meant to be. As FedEx would have it, 46 of the 131 confirmed YES votes; LIED and voted against keeping the Union in place. With a final count of 110 NO votes, 85 YES votes, 4 Challenged votes, 1 VOID vote and only 7 drivers NOT voting.
Through the promises of new tractors and higher vacation pay they failed to see the big picture and gave up immeasurable “guaranteed” benefits of insurance, pension, wages and employee rights all for the fabled hope that management is telling them the truth and has THEIR best interest in mind. We all feel quite certain this will inevitably be a hard lesson on “be careful what you ask for”.
For all the FedEx drivers that gave tirelessly of themselves during this campaign, who had the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the corporate giant and speak their mind, and vote like they said they would, we THANK YOU. For our Negotiating Committee, (Patrick Harrington, Bobby Barry, Scott Hill, Anthony Mullins, Jesse Lankin) we here at Teamsters Local Union # 71 and on behalf of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; THANK YOU and praise you and your efforts. We are especially thankful for the privilege in getting to know such a wonderfully passionate group of individuals that personified what true Union membership and brotherhood is supposed to be, something many of our members could learn a lesson from. We’re forever grateful for the friendships that have developed that will, needless to say, continue.
I’d also like to personally the thank my Secretary Treasurer, Ernie Wrenn, for the countless hours he gave throughout the negotiations in our efforts to get a contract. His attention to details, his guidance and persistence and overall leadership was unparalleled.
Lastly, I want each of you, every Committee member, every driver and all of the support personnel who supported us throughout this entire time to know that “we fought the good fight, we have finished the race, we have kept the faith” and have absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed of. So, hold your heads up high knowing that you all tried to help your fellowman, your co-workers and those too stupid to realize it, in spite of themselves for the right reasons.
Teamsters Local # 71