Thom Hartmann – Debating The Employee Free Choice Act Part 1 of 3

There is going to be a lot of debate very soon concerning the Employee Free Choice Act. 
We need to be ready to argue. We will not win Card Check without a fight.
Are you ready to fight?
This video is part 1 of a 3 part debate. It will help you understand the argument.
I will publish parts 2 and 3 soon.
Thom Hartmann can be heard evenings on AM 760.


Friends of Labor/ Help for You

With the company’s policy of harrassing anyone that gets hurt, I am happy to be able to provide you with people that will help you. The company specifically targets people that are hurt on the job. Making an example out of them, in the hopes that their harrassment will scare off everyone else. Their idea is to persuade people into assuming injuries on their own dime and own time. These guys come highly reccomended by our local, and I have had the pleasure of working with them. Don’t let the company hurt you, then make you assume the financial consequences.
Help yourself!Don’t Get Screwed!

How to Grow the Union

It’s important that we grow the company because it makes our jobs and our pensions more secure. But it’s equally important to grow the Union. Many people don’t know how to grow the Union. They think it takes a big organizing campaign to bring in new workers under the Teamster umbrella. But there are many things you can do everyday to grow the Teamsters Union. Here are a few of them.

        First, take your full lunch everyday. We are requiered to take an hour for lunch each day. Every minute you don’t take and choose to work for instead is work that should have been dispatched to another car. Our building dispatches about 300 routes a day and if just 16 of those drivers skip half of their hour  lunch, they have ran an entire route that should have been dispatched and run by anotherTeamster. Don’t let the company reduce our ranks and undermine our power by skipping part of your lunch. Every Teamster on the payroll is another person making our union stronger. Make it grow
        Use your 8-hour requests. Each driver in Denver gets three 8-hour requests per month. Our center has 45 drivers. If each one reduced their dispatch by one hour (from 9 to 8 hours), 3 times a month, that’s 135 hours a month or the equivalent of over 3 weeks of work that we could generate just by taking what’s is rightfully ours to enjoy. We could add a driver in our center if everyone used all of their 8-hour requests.
        Refuse to work excessive overtime. We have strong 9.5 language in our contract. Use it. Keep your hours under control and the company will need more drivers to cover the routes that we are running ourselves right now by working 10 to 11 hours a day. Just 8 drivers working an extra hour per day are absorbing a route that another Teamster should be running. Excessive overtime weakens our union and hurts our families.
        Don’t work off the clock. Every time you work off the clock you are giving the company a false impression of how long and how many people it takes to get the job done. Don’t give away precious minutes that someone should be paid for. UPS made $3 billion profit last year, you don’t have to work for free to keep them afloat.
        Stop supervisors from doing our work. Go to your steward every time you see a supervisor working and have him investigate the reason for this violation. Sometimes the reasons are legitimate, sometimes not. If not, then file a grievance. Time slip grievances encourage the company to put on more people. See the next blog entry here for the steps to follow when you see a supervisor doing our work.
        And finally, grow the business. The company consistently refuses to hire more people because the growth is flat. They say it would be bad management to add people when the business isn’t growing. So, grow the business and grow the Union. 

        None of these simple ways to grow the Union require a degree in organizing or long weekends spent talking to unorganized workers. These are things we can do everyday at work to grow our Union. Do your part, grow the union.

How to Win a Supervisor Working Grievance

        Supervisor working grievances are filed under two articles of our contract; Article 3, section 7 of the National Master Agreement and Article 1, section 2 of the Central States Supplement. Both state that the job of the supervisor is to supervise, not to do the work of the person he supervises. The person who files the grievance gets paid for the hours worked by the supervisor. It’s easy to win a supervisor working grievance.
        You need 5 things. Who, what, when, where and why. Be ready to take notes when you see a supervisor working. 
        Take notes and winFirst, find out Who. When you see a supervisor working, you have the right to walk up to them and ask them who they are. They should be wearing a name tag. You do not have the right to inhibit the flow of packages in any part of the operation at any time. Be careful not to interfere, but go ahead and get their name. Tell them that they need to stop doing the work of the hourly employees.
        Make note what the supervisor is doing. Is he advancing the progress of the packages? They have the right to pull packages out of the system and audit them at any time, but should return the packages to the same location they pulled them from. They have broad powers when it comes to training and can help an employee being trained in an effort to keep the trainee on schedule. Examples of the work they should not be doing includes driving tugs with packages on them, sending home hourly workers and wrapping up themselves, delivering stops to ‘help’ a driver and shuttling out packages to drivers.
        Put down in your notes when the violation occurred. Note the day and time. Record how long you observed the work being done.
        Be specific on where the supervisor was working. Was he pulling from a box? Which box and which boxline? What center was he in when you observed him driving a tug and dropping off packages? All of this information will be important to your winning the grievance.
        Why? This is often the most important step. Most grievances are won or lost on the question of why. This is where you get your steward involved. Your steward will take the who, what, when and where and go find out the why. The company feels it has a responsibility to its customers to make service at any cost and uses this to justify supervisors working. When the Teamsters don’t show up for work and that shift is understaffed because of it, supervisors will be working and that’s a hard grievance to win. Let your steward find out why the supervisors were working. He can request staffing records and time cards. The investigation into why is the job of the steward.

        It’s not hard to win a supervisor working grievance if you keep good notes. Often, supervisors don’t want to be working and (while they may be afraid to say it) will welcome a grievance to hi-lite their own concerns. Feel free to accommodate them. Contract enforcement is everyone’s responsibility.

Twist and Shout

It’I Hate Yous been an interesting week. The company never fails to seaze on an opportunity to increase profit and production. The fun part this week was the earnings announcement. Yes we shouldn’t make assumptions about the future! Yes things could be worse tomorrow! Yes the world may end! The reality is big brown is still making tons of money. They love to keep you in a state of fear much like the Bush administration did for the last eight years. They get to control you thought process, and it makes you easier to buffalo. The big thing is the battle over nine fives. Management has been telling drivers they don’t have the right to file if they didn’t plan an 8.4 hour dispatch. Their new rule is you have to plan 8.4 and run scratch before you have the right to excersize your rights under the Union contract. Huh? When did that happen? They think we’ve forgotten that many of the areas have not been time studied since 1948. Many of our allowances do not reflect the specialized delivery requirments of today. I made a few phone calls to the union this week just to be sure we were all on the same page. All 9.5 rules remain as they were. Obviously we advocate a fair days work for a fair days pay. Do your job correctly, safely, and to the best of your ability. If you continue to be dispatched over 9.5 hours, file! For those of you that don’t mind the overtime, let them know. For those of you that do not want the overtime, let them know. Just don’t ask for one thing then do another. Don’t make your steward crazy by getting your dispatch reduced, then working over 9.5 hours anyway. Also don’t make your steward crazy by telling them you’ll work over 9.5 hours then filing after your 20th 9.5. They have made it clear that they intend to harrass anyone filing a 9.5 hour grievance. Be consistant in your work methods, (we’ve discussed that here), and know what is a reasonable dispatch for you. Be upfront about what you think is reasonable, but don’t expect something for nothing.

Keeping Management Off Your Back

I got another email today from someone asking me how to keep management off their back. This is an age old problem at UPS.

Management is like the bully in the school yard. How do you keep from drawing his attention? The answer is simple. Do what he wants. Then he looks at someone else to harass.

Look at this video. This guy is makng his numbers, he’s going to look good  on paper and he thinks he’s doing what management wants since management is all about numbers. But if management can identify the driver in this video, they’ll fire him. Is he doing what management wants? Will the bully harass this guy?

Sometimes it’s hard to find the balance between using the methods and making your numbers. Most drivers believe that hitting the numbers will keep them out of the spotlight and the methods don’t matter as long as you stay out of the spotligtht. NOT. The methods are everything. The numbers are not your problem, no matter how much management tries to make you think they are your problem.

Hitting the numbers and not using the methods will get you fired. Using the methods and not hitting the nmbers will not get you fired. How tough is it to figure out which is the right path for you?


This is simple. Obama has set it up to make it easy to contact him. Will he respond? Email him and find out. Click on the attached link and find out. This guy says he’s going to keep an open door. I want to believe him. Let’s find out. Click on the link and send him a message. He will never be able to say we didn’t tell him.

“Hello, this is Barack”

Is the UPS/IBT Full Time Pension worth the price?

    When UPS set up the UPS/IBT Full Time Pension Plan for employees covered by the Central States Plan (CS), it covered active employees only. You have to work at least one day after Jan 1. 2008 to go with UPS out of CS and into the new UPS/IBT Plan. People who retired before Jan 1, 2008, or for any reason were not able to work one day after that date remain in the Central States Plan.

    For those who went into the new plan, UPS will pay their pension until they reach the age of 65, then most of it (about 90%) will fall back on Central States. At that point, retirees will get 2 checks one from UPS and one from CS. If Central States is not in good shape and cannot meet their obligations to these retirees, then UPS will make up the difference to guarantee your full pension amount for the rest of your life. UPS is assuming this obligation until age 65 to remove retirees from the CS re-employment restrictions, which are quite severe. Those restrictions are removed at CS at age 65. It was one of the selling points to get UPSers to accept the UPS pension plan.

    Those who remained in the CS Plan and did not go to the UPS/IBT Plan are at the mercy of Central States and their full pension amount is not guaranteed. Under the Pension Reform Act of 2006, Central States will never be allowed to fold up and let their obligations fall on the Govt Pension Guar. Corp. Central States will always have to remain in existence and pay AHHHH...Retirementpensions at whatever level they can afford.  It could be the full amounts or any percentage thereof. 
    So for  retirees who voted for the new Pension Plan and will retire under the new Plan, it’s a pretty good deal. It guarantees a full pension for life. But what about oour brothers and sisters who retired prior to Jan. 1, 2008? They stay with CS and have no guarantees. 
    Should we have stayed with Central States and rejected the UPS offer?

    The problem with staying in Central States as opposed to going with the new UPS/IBT Pension Plan is that if we stayed in CS and CS went down, we would go down with it. I have always felt that I will outlive CS. That means I feel that by the time I reach 65 or 70 or 75, CS will no longer be paying full pensions. The new UPS/IBT Pension guarantees my full amount for life. That  is a better deal for me as I go into my golden years.

    Central States unfortunately does not have a good track record for being healthy. They have already reduced the amounts members accrue towards their pension. They do continue at this time to pay out full pension amounts, but not at the amounts the did prior to 2003. In 2003, they reduced the accrual amounts to about 85 cents on the dollar, with a 6% per year early retirement penalty. So if you retired at 57 with 30 years today, instead of $3000 a month, you would recieve about $2650. You would get the $100 for each year of service up to 2003 (24 years) but only about $85 a month for the last 6 which accrued after 2003 and that amount would be reduce by 6% for each year you were under 62 or 36% of the $85. So people accruing a significant amount of their pension after 2003 would get a lot less than the expected $3000 at 30 and out, especially if they were under the age of 62.

    The cost of insurance from CS, which UPS matched both coverage and cost to retirees, was upped in 2003 from $50 to $255 a person and set to increase $50 each year until you reach Medicare age. So for you and the wife, it would be 510/month the first year, then $610 next year and so on. If you retired at 57, by the time you reached Medicare age it would be $1400 a month. Under the UPS/IBT Pension, the same insurance is $200/person guaranteed not to increase for the life of the contract.

    Even more scary, last year CS sent a letter out to all participants (which officially we still are) saying that despite the infusion of cash from the UPS buyout, they were slipping into the dreaded Red Zone and would be forced to make cutbacks again because of the requirements of the 2006 Pension Reform Act which say they must stay viable and cannot fold. One area that they were looking at for cutbacks was eliminating the ‘and out’ language, meaning you could retire at 57 but could not pull a penny of your pension until you reached retirement age of 65. For anyone looking to get out of UPS before the age of 65, that would mean finding alternate employment until you reach retirement age and could begin receiving your pension. That would be totally unacceptable.

    Central States once had 115 companies paying in to the fund, they are now down to less than 20. UPS felt that under the new 2006 Pension laws that say active companies in any underfunded plan must pony up more money, they were going to be left holding the bag for Central States. All the retirees from all the folded companies still get their pensions and the 20 companies still standing have to fund those pensions plus their own. So UPS wanted out. And as you can surely see, the guanantees and the insurance costs to retirees were a good deal for UPS employees voting in December of 2007. It not only restored the full pension amounts ($100 per year for 57 and older) but also guaranteed a defined benefit amount for life. And the insurance was cheaper.
     Did UPSers sell out their own UPS brothers and sisters who retired prior to 2008? There was surely no reason to hang with the ailing Central States other than Brotherhood. 
    Granted, Brotherhood is a noble cause. It’s the very foundation of unionism.
    But at what price??

Here Comes the War

Well it’s no surprise, but here comes the war. With the falling volume, cars are being split out, areas are being expanded, and of course up go the hours. I heard the statement for the first time, “you should consider yourself lucky to be working in this economy!” The center manager blew a gasket when the driver complained about hours. He threatened the driver with having to sit with the division manager and explain himself if he filed a nine five grievance. Of course there were five more drivers complaining after this one, and of course the grievances will be filed because everyone is being dispatched with 10 to 11 hour days. The sh-t will really hit the fan when they in turn lay off the low senior drivers, and stop giving any days off. The interesting part will be to see how the Union reacts. Where they’ve been able to make the company pay double time in the past, the current economic times will allow the company to whine much louder, and I suspicion the over dispatching will go on without relief. Time will tell.

I forgot to include that 8 hour requests are also going to be under attack. They want to go back to the old days where you worked all day and half the night and liked it. Now your seeing the push by Bush to create dog like slave labor in this country. UPS is definetly on that page. We’ll find out if the Union is.

UPS driver information