Doing Time at UPS

        Driving a truck for UPS may soon replace community service as the punishment of choice for many criminal driving convictions. Judges across the country have begun seeing the benefit of sentencing troubled motorists to 5 years at UPS instead of 3 years probation and 6 months of community service. “It’s a win-win situation, it satisfies the need for punishment and the offenders get trained to drive safely,” said Jack Hammer, spokesperson for United Parcel Service.
        Learning the rules of the roadWhile the program is still in it’s early stages, results are already evident. One repeat offender who drove 3 years at UPS said that he learned the rules of the road. “I’m never going back,” he said, “I’d rather let my girlfriend drive than risk going back to UPS. It’s a hell hole.”
        “I used to take driving for granted”, says Rex Easley, another offender who has worked at UPS for 2 years now. “I rolled through stops signs, I parked on the wrong side of the street, I figured no one was watching. Then I went to UPS and now I feel someone is watching all the time. I pulled a five year sentence, it feels like a lifetime.”
        While life on the inside can be brutal at times, the lessons these lawbreakers learn are good ones. “You work hard and you learn to do your job, nobody is going to do it for you. There’s no help,” grinned Hammer with a glint of masochism. “It looks like torture, but it’s not. It’s tough love.”
        Tough love in the workplace is a somewhat controversial concept, but it seems to be working at UPS. The UPS culture is rooted in tough love techinques and UPS used tough love on it’s own employees long before the idea gained popular support. “We’ve always believed that pain produces results,” Hammer explained, “We like to pile on the work, idle hands are the Devil’s workshop. Add a big dose of humiliation and and an occasional threat and you’ve got the secret to our success.”

A Look at Your Pension in 2013

 Duh, Doin' this fo'ever    April 10, 2009: On January 1, 2008, UPS transferred some 44,000 full-time Teamsters out of the Central States Pension Fund, and into a new UPS-only pension plan.
     Many members have questions about their benefits in the new fund. TDU consulted pension attorneys and experts to answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
     Do you have a question or concern about your benefits in the new UPS plan? Call TDU at (313) 842-2600, or email us at
     Q: If I retire and Central States fails to pay me their portion of my pension, will UPS guarantee me the difference?
     Yes and No. If you retire by July 31, 2013, yes. If Central States fails to be able to pay its full portion, UPS will make up the difference to guarantee your pension.
     But if you retire after that, all bets are off. It all depends on what is bargained in the 2013 contract. This illustrates a major problem: the UPS pull-out weakened the Central States Plan, but UPS Teamsters are still dependent on it for a large portion of their pension benefits.
     You can be sure UPS management will make good use of this hammer in bargaining, to try to extract more concessions from the Teamster leadership.
     Fortunately there is an IBT election in November 2011. Teamsters have a chance to vote out Hoffa and elect leaders who will protect the pensions of all Teamsters.
     Q: When I retire, will I get two checks?
UPS pays your full pension until age 65. Once you are 65, you will get two checks. Central States and the UPS Plan will each pay a share, based on how many years you have in each plan. Your years prior to 2008 will be paid by Central States; your years beginning with 2008 will be paid by UPS.
     Q: Can you count your part-time years toward early retirement?
Your part-time years can be counted in order to qualify for a 25 or 30 year early retirement, but will not count toward your benefit amount. For example, a Teamster with 25 full-time years and five part-time years qualifies for 30-and-out, but will get $2625 instead of $3,000 per month because the part-time pension pays very low benefits. (This is the same rule as previously, under Central States.) If you qualify for a part-time pension and a full-time pension, you will receive two checks, and three checks after you reach age 65.
     Q: How do the benefits under the new UPS plan compare to other Teamster plans?
They compare unfavorably, and that situation is going to get worse by 2013. Benefits in the UPS plan are frozen for the life of the contract, whereas those in most other plans are increasing. For more information, see The Teamster Pension Divide at
     The UPS Plan also has no reciprocity with other pension plans. This means if you transfer into the plan from the West or East, you cannot add your pension credits together from the UPS Plan and another plan. It also means if you leave UPS and take a job at another Teamster company, you cannot add your years together in the two plans.
     Q: Can UPS take over other Teamster plans?
UPS gave the International Union a letter agreeing not to try to take over more pension plans until the contract after next. However, that is no solid guarantee. If they see a weak leadership at the International Union, they may seek to take over more pensions.
     We Do the Same Work But We Get Less
“Our pension is the lowest for any UPSers in the country. We do the same job, but in the end we get less.
     “You can bet that if we can ask to improve our pensions in our next contract, UPS is going to put a steep price tag on it.
     “I’m helping to put together a TDU meeting in Florence so that we can educate other members. UPS is already planning for the next contract. We should too.”
     James McLeod,
     UPS Local 71, Florence, S.C.

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

The world seems to be spinning in a “Wizard of Oz” like tornado and, when we land, I don’t think we’re going to be in Kansas anymore. It’s a wierd world when your home is no longer an investment.

Joe Rauch


          BofA CEO: Owners shouldn’t look at home as an asset

Homeowners may need to look elsewhere for long-term investment returns as housing prices in some areas may not rebound long-term, Bank of America Corp Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said on Tuesday.

Moynihan, CEO of the largest U.S. bank, said at a state attorneys general summit that low population growth in some regions of the country indicated that prices might not rise in the wake of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

“It’s sobering to think, but some people shouldn’t be thinking of (their home) as an asset,” Moynihan said at the 2011 National Association of Attorneys General conference. “They should be thinking of it as a great place to live.”

Moynihan said the long-term average annual rise in post-war U.S. home prices of 4 percent owed much to the explosion in domestic population and, in more recent times, the relaxation of credit standards across the mortgage industry.

“The reality is that the population is not expected to grow the way it did post World War I and World War II,” he said.

Moynihan noted an Ohio customers’ complaint that his 100-year-old home was valued at $50,000. The home, Moynihan said, would be valued as “some multiples of that figure” if it were located elsewhere, but stagnant population levels in the state are driving demand and home prices lower.

The conference included many of the state attorneys general currently engaged in negotiations with BofA and other lenders about a broad settlement to allegations that the industry cut corners on foreclosures.

Moynihan said during his prepared remarks that he had spoken with the attorneys general about industry issues, but declined to comment further about the discussions.

Can’t Get No Satisfaction?

When the company is on your back and the Union is not helping, where do you turn?
Well, according to one reader, you can go the National Labor Relations Board. As a steward, I filed some NLRB charges in my day and let me tell you, it brings everybody to ATTENTION. Suddenly the company wants to know how they can resolve the problem and if you file on the Union also, they are equally interested in satisfying your needs. 
You can call the NLRB office in your state to file a complaint.  
Here is one readers advice:

George, My name is a Bob, I’m a retired teamster from UPS, I retired in 1999 of my 31 years, 15 of those were  as a shop steward for my center. I still keep in touch with my brothers. As a steward I can tell you I was threatened more by my local than I was by the company. For protection, because I question the local about what was going on with our pension, I went to the NRLB for protection. Both the Company and the Union had to back off. Still today, the company does things that I personally just can’t believe they are allowed to do, the Local is useless and the International in the beginning gave me excuses of what is going on, then just told me to mind my own business. I’m a lifetime member I just can’t do that. The best way to combat a Union that refuses to help and a company hell bent on firing you is use the NRLB. Everyone must do the job the way it’s supposed to be done, when that’s not enough and the Union doesn’t help your best bet is the NRLB. It takes some of your personal time to file a complaint but believe me in the end it’s time well spent. Once the papers are filed, the company and the Local are sent letters and have to leave you alone. The harassment of the people I used to work with is beyond belief, in this day and age, I told them what to do, but no one takes the time and that’s all you need. Good Luck
Robert C. Bressman 
Retired, local 177 

The Banksters Strike Again

The foreclosure mess isn’t going away

We’ve told you before about how big banks cut corners on paperwork over the last few years in order to speed struggling homeowners into foreclosure. And a “60 Minutes” report that aired last night offers fresh anecdotal reporting on just how irresponsible–and potentially fraudulent–the banks’ practices were. Meanwhile, compelling video of a grandmother being evicted from her home by a SWAT team last week suggests the banks aren’t slowing down their rush to foreclosure and eviction.
Banks profit by processing a vast number of homes into foreclosure as quickly as possible. But as “60 Minutes” details, many of the mortgages at issue were bundled and sold from one Wall Street investor to another during the housing boom, with scant attention paid among financial players to the actual underlying ownership documents. And as the foreclosures unwind in a slew of court proceedings nationwide, many banks have produced dubiously rendered legal documents that seek to shore up the ownership paperwork long after the original mortgage transactions were on the books. In some cases, financial institutions paid contract companies who employed an army of “robo-signers”—office workers who forged signatures on mortgage documents that were then used to initiate foreclosures.
Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes” spoke with one former robo-signer, Chris Pendley, a man who had been paid to sign the name “Linda Green” thousands of times over the course of an average workday on mortgage documents.

 “When you came in to Docx on your first day, what did they tell you your job was gonna be?” Pelley asked.

 “They told me that I was gonna be signing documents for using someone else’s name,” Pendley remembered.

 “Did you think there was something strange about that in the beginning?” Pelley asked.

 Yeah, it seemed a little strange. But they told us and they repeatedly told us that everything was above board and it was legal,” Pendley said.

 Pendley told Pelley he had no previous experience in banking, in legal documents, and that there were no requirements for the job.

 “You had to be able to hold a pen?” Pelley remarked.

 “Hold a pen,” he agreed.

 Asked if he understood what these documents were, Pendley said, “Not really” . . . .

 Pendley showed us how he signed mortgage documents as “Linda Green.” He told us Docx employees had to sign at least 350 an hour. Pendley estimates that he alone did 4,000 a day.
     There was an actual Linda Green, Pendley discovered, but she was no bank president either; she is a former shipping clerk for an auto parts store who was also hired on as a robo-signer at Docx. One plaintiff in a pending lawsuit discovered that Green is named as a vice president for 20 different banks in different mortgage documents, all bearing strikingly different renditions of her signature. She didn’t agree to an on-camera interview, but she told Pelley that the company selected her name because it was short and easy to sign rapidly on the doctored ownership documents.
     All 50 state attorneys general are currently conducting an investigation into the foreclosure mess–including cases that involve forged documents like these. And Shelia Bair, head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, told CBS she thinks the banks should have to pay billions to set up a compensation fund for those who are being forced to accept foreclosure without proper documentation.
     But if you thought all this might have chilled the banks’ zeal to push struggling borrowers from their homes, think again.
     The footage below from a local news station shows Catherine Lennon, a grandmother from Rochester, New York  being forcibly evicted from her home by a SWAT team.

Lennon has said that though she missed some mortgage payments after her husband died in 2008, she subsequently began making payments again. But because it was her husband’s name, not hers, on the official mortgage documents, Fannie Mae wouldn’t accept her money, and moved her house into foreclosure.
     Federal lawmakers intervened, and Lennon may soon get her house back–she’s been staying in a homeless shelter lately. But countless other Americans who are in similar positions may not be as lucky.

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)