WASHINGTON (PAI)-Teamsters leaders, nationally and locally, hope the second time will be the charm as 13,000 members who work for UPS Freight cast ballots on Jan. 11-12 on a new five-year contract.
That's because their first try lost last year. Teamsters for a Democratic Union, a dissident group, says there's little difference between the two pacts, but Teamsters headquarters says the new proposed pact is better than the rejected contract.
The new pact increases pay by 50 cents per hour each year over its term, which ends July 31, 2018. That would make the UPS Freight workers "the highest paid in the (less than truckload/LTL) industry," a Teamsters fact sheet says. The proposed pact would also cover UPS Freight's clerks, joining the truckers and loading-dock workers.
And while UPS Freight gets to change health insurers, the union says that workers in the firm's "buy-up" health plan will see premiums decline by 10 percent, and those now in the free health plan will see it stay free. The pact cuts retiree health insurance premium costs, too, the union fact sheet says.
And the 10 percent of the UPS Freight workers who had no minimum weekly guarantee of work hours now get a 4-hour guarantee, the pact itself adds.
The pact also has stronger seniority provisions. A new section says any driver awaiting company discipline for an accident will be shifted to loading dock work - at the dock workers' pay rate - until the discipline case is decided, within 20 days.
The contract mandates union participation and representation of workers at discipline hearings, the Weingarten rule that the NLRB produced years ago. It also says the only way a shop steward or other union rep cannot come to the discipline hearing is if the worker facing the hearing waives his or her right to union representation having the union rep, in writing. And it requires UPS Freight to make sure the trucks are safe before drivers take them out on the road. If the driver feels the truck is unsafe, the driver can refuse to drive it - and the contract bars the firm from disciplining the driver for the refusal.
The union said the pact curbs UPS Freight's ability to subcontract unit work. A new provision says any full-time driver cut back to part-time hours shall get the full-time pay rate, not the "casual" rate. Union Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall warned at the start of bargaining there would be no contract unless UPS Freight addressed subcontracting.
"UPS and UPS Freight Teamsters are the best in the world. They are productive and dedicated. They deserve the best pay and benefits in the industry," Teamsters President James Hoffa told the firm when talks started months ago.
Photo: Teamsters website.