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.

Here Are the Proposed “Entitlement” Cuts

A Pivotal Moment in American History

With one week to go before an Aug. 2 deadline for raising the nation’s debt limit, the stakes are enormous. Some in Congress continue to press for steep cuts in programs for working families. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid remain in jeopardy. Funds for education, child care, nutrition, affordable housing, environmental protection and energy independence also are at stake. When Republican leaders talk about $3 trillion or $4 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years, with no new taxes on the wealthy and large corporations, please understand what they mean. 

SOCIAL SECURITY — The average Social Security recipient who retires at age 65 would get $560 less a year at age 75, under a proposal to change the formula which determines cost-of-living adjustments.  The same retiree would get $1,000 less a year at age 85 than under current law. Another provision pushed by House Republicans would require that Social Security always be solvent for 75 years, an avenue to even larger cuts in benefits.  All of this would take place despite the fact that Social Security has not contributed one penny to the deficit and has a $2.6 trillion surplus.
 MEDICARE — Raising the eligibility age from 65 to 67 is one proposal. Another would cut benefits by as much as $500 billion over 10 years. How are 66-year-old Americans with modest means going to afford health insurance with a private company especially if they have medical problems?  It’s not going to happen. They are going to suffer.  Some will unnecessarily die.
MEDICAID — At a time when 50 million Americans already have no health insurance, Republicans and some Democrats are proposing to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid. That means that many men, women and children will lose the health insurance they have.  According to a Harvard University study, some 45,000 Americans die each year because they don’t get to a doctor when they should.  How many more will die if Medicaid is slashed?  How many children will be thrown off the Children’s Health Insurance Program?
EDUCATION — Childcare and college education already are unaffordable for millions of working families. Head Start has long waiting-lists.  If Republicans and some Democrats get their way, Pell grants and other educational programs will be deeply slashed.  Affordable childcare and a college education will no longer be possible for many families in our country.
ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY — Forget about the government having the ability to protect the people from corporations who want to evade Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act regulations. With massive cuts in the EPA, the resources will not be there.  Forget about this country having the investment capability to transform our energy system to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.  Forget about creating millions of jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and improving our public transportation system.
We don’t have to make these cuts. Adopting a fair budget plan which ends tax breaks for the wealthy and large corporations and makes real cuts in military spending is the kind of shared sacrifice that the American people want — and that Bernie has been fighting for.

I Hate When That Happens

                                UPS Truck Strikes Mentor House

Authorities are investigating a Monday evening crash in Mentor that sent a UPS truck into a house.  (I hate when that happens)

Mentor Fire Department Battalion Chief Terry Szabo said crews were called out at about 7:30 p.m. to the area of 7198 Lake Shore Blvd. for a motor vehicle accident.

Szabo said a UPS truck, headed westbound, sideswiped a white car going the opposite direction before continuing through a neighbor’s yard and into the living room of the house at 7180 Lake Shore.

You can read the whole story here plus pictures and video.

The American Sellout

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mexican trucks: Today’s attack on the middle class

Once again the multinationals are having their way with the U.S. government at the expense of the American middle class. Today U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and his counterpart in Mexico signed away thousands of good American trucking and warehousing jobs by agreeing to open the border to Mexican trucks.

The Teamsters will fight to keep the border closed to dangerous trucks, as they have for almost two decades. Teamster General President Jim Hoffa had harsh words for the agreement:

Opening the border to dangerous trucks at a time of high unemployment and rampant drug violence is a shameful abandonment of the DOT’s duty to protect American citizens from harm and to spend American tax dollars responsibly.

This so-called pilot program is a concession to multinational corporations that send jobs to Mexico. It erodes our national security. It endangers motorists. It ignores the rampant corruption among Mexican law enforcement. It lowers wages and robs jobs from hard-working American truck drivers and warehouse workers.

It adds insult to injury to force U.S. taxpayers to pay for monitoring equipment on Mexican trucks so Mexican carriers can take away their jobs. The DOT shows more loyalty to the Mexican people than it does to Americans.
The Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association isn’t pleased either. Their press release said small-business truckers and drivers are fuming about the deal. Said OOIDA President Jim Johnston,

If the agreement is good for the U.S. why the hell is he (Secretary LaHood) sneaking down there to sign it?” … Why not let the public see the details before signing the agreement? Seems like the Administration is dead set on caving to Mexico’s shakedown regardless of the costs to the American public and our tax coffers.
And Rep. Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, filed a bill today to limit the pilot program and forbid the U.S. government from spending taxpayer money on equipment for Mexican trucks.  DeFazio said,

…three issues must be addressed in the cross-border trucking program: safety, security and job loss. I have sent several letters to DOT asking them to address these issues. My calls for caution have gone unanswered. My legislation puts the brakes on a bad deal for American truck drivers and the traveling public…As we debate deep and harsh cuts to programs that help middle class families, it is outrageous that taxpayers are being told to foot the bill for the Mexican trucking industry to comply with American safety standards…