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.
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.