How Often Have You Seen It?

    Fighting For the Scab at Heart! How often have you noticed that the mouthy anti-union driver is suddenly transformed into the staunch Union guy when his or her job is on the line, only to turn their back on the Teamsters after they have put in a ton of work saving the driver’s career?
     It happens every day. Back in 1997 after the strike, the scabs that crossed the picket line found that the company cared little for the people that turned their back on the Union. Many of the scabs thought they had a “cart blanche” right to do what they wanted, that the company would look the other way when they lied or cheated their way through the day.
     When the company nailed them, be it for falsifying records, or DUI’s, or theft from the company, one by one they were fired by the company. Suddenly these people turned to the Union. They would demand their rights, and chastise the Representation they received. Many had even gone so far as to exercise their rights under the Colorado Peace Act, and not pay dues. Of course legally the Union was forced to represent them as if they were still Rank and File members.
     That mentality still goes on today. Many drivers bad mouth the union daily. Many feel they get nothing for their dues money. Yet these people are the first, and most vocal about getting “their” representation when they are caught cheating, or lying, or stealing from the company. Right away their mouth opens up about how weak the Union appears, and how the Union has no strength. Of course they have never taken a step to support Unions and Labor in their vote politically. They have also never taken the time to attend a Union meeting.
     Suddenly they are thrust into the situation where their job is on the line. It’s funny when that happens because their mouth slams shut. Suddenly the business agent is their best friend, (for awhile). Suddenly they are the great Union supporter. Many hours, and much effort is put into saving their jobs by both the Business Agent, and the Steward. Most of the time the outcome saves their job, their benefits, and their livelihood. Most will walk away with a big “phew”, but rarely is there ever a “Thank you”. Rarely is there a, “I will be a Union supporter from now on”.
     Most usually return to work, and bad mouth the Union for letting themselves get into that situation. It’s the Union’s fault that the driver is a lying, cheating, thief. It’s the Union’s fault that they were so stupid as to do something to get themselves terminated. It’s the Union’s fault that they should have to pay for representation. 
     The hypocrisy is a daily event, and it’s disgusting to watch. Unfortunately it distracts from the reward of representing people that have backed the Union up. Be quick to jump on the hypocrite. Be quick to remind the hypocrite of how the Union saved their job. 
     Stand up in support of the Union, and the Union will stand up for you! 

The New Attack

     The company has taken a new plan to avoid having to pay Unemployment. We're Watching You, and We Will Get You!They are able to combine the new Telematics system with the desire to terminate senior drivers, and the desire to send them down the road with no unemployment benefits.
     They use Telematics to show when a vehicle stops, and when it starts. They then have claimed that your break starts and stops based on the movement of those wheels. You do not get credit for putting your mirrors in. You do not get credit for entering times in your board. You do not get credit for washing your hands, or going to the bathroom.
     They claim that if you do claim that time for any of the above listed activities that you are, “stealing time from the company”.
     Telematics does not show any information about any action that takes place outside of the delivery process. Other than the seat belt, and bulkhead, and backing, it only shows stops, starts, and speed of the vehicle, and the vehicle location, all as a function of time.
     The system does not show questions from customers. The system does not show the driver dealing with damaged packages, or open packages. The system does not show a driver dealing with rabid animals, or people.
     Of course the company design is that any action outside of the delivery process is on the driver’s time.
     So of course the question would be, “Why would the company leap directly to the theft of time when such problems arise?” The answer is of course the quest for super production standards, the attempt to rid themselves of less than desirable drivers, and the desire to terminate for dishonesty.
     The Unemployment system in most states allows a company to protest an employees right to claim unemployment for theft from the company.There are a number of other reasons, violence, disappearing from the job, etc.
     The worst part of the whole attack is that the Union has become accepting of the Telematics information. Even though the contract specifically prohibits the information from being used against a driver, the mapping and times are routinely allowed to be presented in a case. The Union has accepted that all of the information is exact, and in fact is a clear reference of the drivers actions, setting the drivers up for failure in any case the company may have brought before them. 
     It would seem to me that the Union has forgotten what it is like to be a driver on a daily basis, and in fact many of the BA’s have never had to survive with the company under the Telematics regime, and probably would be the first ones fired if they did.
     Of course when you go up the ladder within the Union officer ranks, that mentality becomes even more prevalent, which is unfortunate for the driver, because these are the people that are supposed to be representing the driver’s interests with the Company.
     The goal here is of course to make the Rank and File aware of the situations that you may face, and to give the Rank and File the ability to anticipate the politics of the Company/Union relationship. 
     Write or call your Business Representative, and let him know that you want to be protected in these situations. A call to your Local Union principle officer would also be a good idea.
     To find your Local Union go to
     It also wouldn’t hurt to send a note to James Hoffa.
     Your world within the company is definitely under attack, and any fairness in the decisions that may affect you, are being taken out of the equation.
     If you don’t believe that, then you have your eyes closed.