Why Didn’t I Think of That

If God wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates.  ~Jay Leno~

The problem with political jokes is they get elected.  ~Henry Cate, VII~

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office  ~Aesop~

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.  ~Nikita Khrushchev~

When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I’m beginning to believe it.  ~Clarence Darrow~

Why pay money to have your family tree traced; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you. ~Author unknown

Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel. ~John Quinton

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other. ~Oscar Ameringer

I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truthabout them. ~Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952

A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country. ~ Tex Guinan~

I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians. ~Charles de Gaulle

Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks. ~Doug Larson

There ought to be one day — just one — when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

Local 455

   Don’t be afraid to contact your Local Union for information on the UPS contract proposal. Here in Denver that’s Teamsters Local 455 and in the rest of Colorado, it’s Local 17. Local 455 is headed by West Region VP Steve Vairma and some of the BA’s were on the national negotiating committee. so they know what they’re talking about.

Local 455 
website or Facebook or 303-458-1600.

Local 455 members ponder the proposal from UPS. More pictures at photos

All Pensions Not Created Equal

Local 804 has won the biggest pension increases in the country, including a written agreement on the pension increases that will be approved by the Pension Fund trustees when the contract is ratified.

On Jan. 1, 2014, the 30 & Out benefit will go to $3,900/month. On Aug. 1, 2017, the 30 & Out benefit will go to $4,000/month.

The 25-at-age-55 benefit will also go up to $3,900/month and $4,000/month on those dates.

The current 30 & Out and 25-at-age-55 benefit is $3,600/month.

On Jan. 1, 2014, the 25 & Out pension will go to $3,400/month and on Aug. 1, 2017, the 25 & Out pension will be increased to $3,500/month.

The current 25 & Out benefit is $3,100/month.

These increases will be voted in at a special meeting of the Pension Fund trustees.

The Pension Fund’s actuaries did a study and have reported that the Fund can afford to pay these increases and continue on the path to get into the Green Zone on schedule.

Click here to read signed Letter of Intent by the UPS Pension Fund Trustee that spells out the pension fund improvements that the Company Trustee will support.

Contract proposal dissected on FightBack!news

Rank-and-file Teamsters say: “Vote no on UPS contract”

Commentary by Kas Schwerdtfeger |

May 24, 2013

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Kas Schwerdtfeger is a rank-and-file Teamster and UPS worker.
Kas Schwerdtfeger is a rank-and-file Teamster and UPS worker. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Early this May, UPS management, as well as Teamsters leadership, released the completed tentative agreement for a new five-year contract. The contract, which represents the largest private sector collective bargaining agreement in the U.S., is being touted by both sides as a win-win for the company and the workers, establishing raises and gains that both say they can be proud of.

With negotiations concluded, Teamsters leadership under President James P. Hoffa and Secretary Treasurer Ken Hall now go to the general membership, who must ratify the contract by a simple majority for it to take effect. Among their accomplishments, they claim that they have defended workers’ health care, won a raise of $1.50 in the starting pay for warehouse workers, raising it to $10.00 an hour, as well as an additional 2350 full time jobs and stronger language for stopping harassment and excessive overtime for drivers.

These statements, as well as much of the praise offered to the contract, are misleading to the workers they claim to represent.

Health care

During early negotiations, UPS management demanded that Teamsters begin a $90-a-week payment into their healthcare. This demand infuriated the rank-and-file workers, many of whom make only $150 to $300 a week in pay. In response, Hoffa and Hall issued a strong statement, with the phrase, “not $90, not $9, not 9 cents” will be paid by workers into their health care. In the tentative agreement, Hoffa and Hall claim that they have saved health care. The reality is something quite different.

Part-time Teamsters, who are currently under a company health care plan, will be moved under this agreement to the Teamster-run Teamcare plan, an “enhanced C-6 plan.” Under this plan, a rising level of deductibles will take effect August 1, with part-timers paying $50 for an individual and $100 for a family in the first year, and $200/400 by the end of the contract. Services such as chiropractic care, previously fully covered, now will receive only partial coverage.

Part-time pay

In 1982 part-time and full time UPS workers’ starting wage was the same – $8.00 an hour. In the last 31 years the starting wage for part-time Teamsters at UPS has only increased $0.50 an hour. As a result, wages that once helped to support working families are now well below the poverty level, and in a few places in the country the starting rate, currently at 8.50 an hour with a $1 raise after 90 days, is less than the minimum wage.

Hoffa and Hall come to Teamsters’ members claiming a $1.50 raise in the starting pay to an even $10. Realistically, any worker that continues through to reach seniority at UPS already begins at $9.50, which makes the real wage increase only 50 cents. Further, as has been explained by negotiators, those reaching seniority after August 1 under the new contract will not be a part of the annual raises in the contract, and will thus get only about two-thirds of what current members will receive. Regardless of what Hoffa and Hall say, this is in essence a two-tier system for new hires.

Raises for current warehouse workers are less than the previous contract.

Full time jobs

In 1997 during the historic UPS strike, Teamsters rallied around the slogan “Part-time America doesn’t work.” That statement is just as true today as it was then. As a result of this courageous action, UPS management caved. Over 10,000 full time jobs were created by united action on the part of UPS workers around the country.

Yet now, as UPS becomes more and more profitable, the tentative agreement adds only 2350 more full time jobs. This could be as little as two to three jobs per building in some cases. These jobs, as well as some of the previous ones, also will force workers to take an hour and a half unpaid lunch. Workers at UPS will now have to struggle through 15 years of poverty or more to gain a full time warehouse job, which they will then have to spend up to 9 1/2 hours a day for 8 hours of work.

Driver pay

Hoffa and Hall have secured wage increases for drivers as well, but at the expense of selling out those in the future. New drivers will now be put on a four-year progression before they are able to reach the top rate of pay, up from three years in the current contract. Despite their wage increases, newer drivers will still be making less than top rate for longer, while enduring days that can last as long as 11 or 12 hours.

9.5 opt in

UPS drivers have long been forced to take excessive overtime from a company that would rather work its employees to the bone than hire additional people. Hoffa and Hall attempted to alleviate some of this overtime by creating an “Opt in” list of drivers who have worked over 9.5 hours a day for three days in a five-day period.

While this could be a step forward, they allow the newer drivers to take the heat, as those who are not at a full four years of seniority will be unable to join this list. The effect of this very well may be that younger workers will be crushed with excessive overtime as higher seniority members demand more regular days for four full years before being able to opt in.

The current contract is better than this new one. A new part-timer will get 50 cents and a smaller raise yearly, while paying more every year for their health care. New full timers, on top of smaller raises than the previous contract, will be forced to take excessive lunch breaks, cutting into family time and community events. New drivers will spend four years making less pay than their more senior coworkers and may be forced to endure longer hours.

UPS has posted record-breaking profits of over $4 billion in 2012. In the first quarter of 2013, they broke another record, reporting well over $1 billion in profits. Is this tentative agreement, filled with concessions and giveaways on everything from decreasing raises, worse health care and attacks on younger workers, worth signing onto as profits soar? Should Teamster rank and filers simply accept what Hoffa, Hall and other Teamster leaders tell them?

Many UPS Teamsters have responded with a resounding “No!” Teamsters for a Democratic Union held an enormous phone conference, with over 1000 people participating, to explain the contract. A Facebook page, created not by an organization but by rank and filers, named “Vote No on the UPS Contract,” already has nearly 1500 members from all over the country. In Kentucky, the heart of UPS operations and the largest UPS Teamster area, the entire executive board and over 77 stewards of Local 89 voted unanimously to oppose this agreement. Across the country, a movement coming from everyday UPS Teamsters is hosting protests, gathering in meetings and making T-shirts to demonstrate against concessions from a corporation already fat with profits. Many of these recognize the importance of solidarity between older and younger workers. As younger workers are forced to take home less for the same work, harassment of older workers with better conditions goes up.

We need to see solidarity, determination and courage from ordinary Teamsters on this contract. Voting no does not mean a strike, it means more negotiations. We need to demand negotiators go back to the table and fight for more full time jobs, a respectful starting wage, and quality health care. No more sales pitches from union officers; we need to throw the concessions back at UPS and its billion dollar profits.

As a young Teamster, this will be my first contract that I vote on, and yet I’ll be faced with making the same decisions as some of my more senior brothers and sisters. Voting yes will mean selling out those who haven’t been hired on yet. Voting no will give them, and ourselves, a shot at something better. When the ballots come out, I’ll be voting “No” because of what I’ve heard those around me who were on the picket lines in 1997 say, “An injury to one is an injury to all.”

Will new offer be ratified???????

The Teamsters and UPS reached agreement on a five-year contract April 25. After that, it was all rumors till May 7, when the IBT revealed the changes at its “two-man” meeting (two reps from each UPS local).

Chief negotiator Ken Hall said that he’d preserved our “excellent health care benefits” while “protecting them into the future.” The Teamsters website touted “substantial pay raises,” a “significant increase in the starting wage rate for part-time employees,” and “creation of more than 2,000 full-time jobs from the ranks of part-time workers.”

In fact, the agreement will greatly increase out-of-pocket health care costs for 140,000 Teamsters (60 percent of the bargaining unit), let the company continue with harassment, and maintain a permanent underclass of part-timers, at a company that is hauling in nearly $5 billion in profits a year.

What happened?

As a negotiator on our local rider, I knew that our international leadership had gone into bargaining saying they had specific goals on ending bullying, harassment, and retaliation, and reducing mandatory overtime, while also protecting health care and pensions. I heard over and over about bullying being mentioned at the table and how Ken Hall bothered UPS negotiators with every utterance of the word “bullying.”

Game Changer

Then UPS put health care on the table. Instantly, the union set up rallies all over the nation to change the subject from “bullying” to “no way we pay.” The problem was that our rallying cry was defensive, rather than offensive. The goal now was to maintain.

Hall told the 1,000-plus Teamsters at a rally in Washington state, where I live, that “if the company doesn’t take health care off the table, we’ll see them in July!” (when the contract was set to expire). Hall also hollered, “Teamsters won’t pay $90, $9, or 9 cents!” UPS had proposed that everyone, including part-timers, pay $90 a week of their premium.

These February rallies continued from Seattle to Oakland, then Los Angeles, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Toledo, and more. One word was never mentioned by Brother Hall: “strike.” It was never an option for him.

All I heard after that was how stubborn UPS was being on health care. I then knew that Ken Hall didn’t stand behind his main rallying cry at our meeting in Seattle. Teamster headquarters came out with updates thanking members for coming to the rallies and talking about the company’s position on health care. An April 18 memo called health care “the major issue.”

When the agreement was reached April 25, members I spoke with were relieved. “This means we’re not going to strike,” an Oregon driver told me.

Finally, on May 7, specifics were given. Raises were a total of $3.90 over five years. That’s down from $5 in the 2001-2005 contract and $4 over five years in the last contract. In 2011 Bloomberg Business Week quoted UPS CFO Kurt Kuehn bragging about “a very reasonable contract in place that will show modest, below-inflation increases in wages.” The “below-inflation” bar has now been lowered even more. UPS and Hall are hoping that no one pays attention.


What is really being maintained is a near-permanent underclass of Teamsters, the part-timers who sort and load the packages. Management is very candid about who they’ll hire: they want students. Students stick around till they graduate, with no goals of staying at UPS. I can’t even remember the last time I saw a new-hire over 30.

The part-time starting rate in the current contract is $8.50, which is $.69 under the Washington state minimum wage. Now a part-timer’s pay, after 90 days, will be $10, just 50 cents higher than before. Many new hires are on call for a few months, getting called in a few times a week. If you’re lucky enough to get work all five days, your guarantee is only 3.5 hours a day, so a part-timer’s paycheck is very small.

Their health care deductible will now be $400 per year, and it was $0. Providers are now limited, and lab tests, prescriptions, and ER visits will cost more.

Yes, new harassment language has been added, but it doesn’t appear to add any teeth to what was there, and in some cases, it’s worse. As a driver, if you have more than four years’ seniority, to get a 9.5-hour day you have to demand to be on a “9.5 list” (never mind the eight-hour day the labor movement fought and died for). Once you’re on the 9.5 list, a supervisor will assign himself to a three-day ride-along with you, to bully drivers into staying off the list.

In my building, most drivers already avoid the list because of harassment, but for the few on the 9.5 list, the company pays the small penalty and the driver still never gets the 9.5-hour day. They can run drivers 12+ hours, and all the contract language is more hoops to jump through. Without real penalties, this language isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

There is little hope of the promised new full-time inside jobs either (where two part-time jobs are combined), since our previous contract language on maintaining such jobs is not enforced.

Honestly, I get paid very well. I make $33.22 per hour, which sounds nice. But I make that wage after working seven years as a poor part-timer before getting a promotion, and then starting my progression to that wage, which was 30 months then but will be four years under the new contract, while calling in at 2 p.m. and 2 a.m. to see if there’s work for me, and usually working three days a week—only getting a consistent five-day work week after 12 years.

And even those standards are ones that many upcoming Teamsters will never experience the luxury of. We have a 10-12-year wait to go full-time now, in my region. Adding four years to get to top scale, our members are half-way into their careers before they make the best pay.

All the while, our company made record profits in 2012, on our backs, with record pay and benefits for our CEO.

Tim Hill is a UPS road driver in Spokane, Washington, and a member of Teamsters Local 690. He serves on the negotiating committee for the Washington State Rider to the national UPS contract and on the Teamsters for a Democratic Union steering committee.

Police: Fake UPS Driver Who Robbed Woman, Taped Her to Stove Is ID’d But On The Loose

Police say that on April 27, a man posing as a UPS delivery driver forced his way into an Ellisville home, stole a woman’s jewelry, taped her to her stove and then left.

And now, officials say, they have identified the man — but they don’t know where he is.

Yesterday, St. Louis county prosecutors issued warrants for 37-year-old Tyson McGuire for first-degree burglary, stealing and kidnapping with a bail set at $250,000. For now, police say, he remains on the loose and is considered armed and dangerous.

His victim was an 86-year-old woman who lives on Kensington Way Drive. Police say that in the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday, he pretended that he was a UPS delivery driver and then when she opened the door, he forced his way in.

That’s when he allegedly taped her to the stove.

McGuire, who lives on the 4900 block of Macklind Avenue, had with him a cardboard box and an electronic device used for collecting signatures, the Post-Dispatch reports.

He then searched her home for money and stole multiple items, including her jewelry.

The P-D has some especially disturbing details from the victim’s account:

The woman told police McGuire said he needed money to travel to California to visit his 10-year-old son who has cancer. He then kissed her on her cheek and told her he would call police so that they could free her. She told officers that once he left, she chewed through the tape to escape and called police.

Police say McGuire is a black man, about six-feet-two-inches tall and weighs 165 pounds.