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Teamsters Local 396 Fights Back Against UPS Subcontracting


Across the table from UPS management, Teamsters Local 396 representatives took the company to task on its recent schemes to take work away from Teamster drivers in Southern California. A series of grievances filed on the matter were debated yesterday at the National Grievance Committee Panel being held this week. 

“Subcontracting is a growing problem at UPS that we will need to push back on aggressively in the upcoming negotiations. The company is disrespecting our members and the contract language we already have in place – and I applaud Local 396 for drawing a line in the sand against this practice,” said Sean O’Brien, Director of the Teamsters Package Division.

The set of grievances brought by Covina, Calif.-based Local 396 dealt with the company’s use of Coyote Logistics, a UPS subsidiary, during the last peak season.

The local argued that the company violated Article 26 of the Master Agreement as well as a Memorandum of Agreement when it failed to hire temporary casual peak season drivers for its feeder operations. Local 396 also argued that UPS violated Articles 1, 26 and 32 by unilaterally taking bid runs away from Teamster drivers and re-assigning work to Coyote Logistics. This was done even though the union did not agree to the subcontracting plan when it met with the company in its 2016 peak season review meeting.

“The company’s use of Article 26 to justify the subcontracting is a major problem,” said Ron Herrera, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 396. “Unless we push back hard on this issue, UPS is going to keep trying to do whatever it wants to steal work from our members.”

Cherry-picking language from Article 26, the UPS representative on the panel insisted that Section A of the article allows the company to subcontract during peak season with or without union approval. But Local 396 relentlessly grilled the company representative and debunked his argument.

“What the company did here was create a way to artfully avoid its obligations under the contract so that it could deprive our members of work and move loads on the cheap,” Jay Phillips, President of Local 396, told the panel.

“What I saw was the company taking little steps over the line to see if they got their hand slapped by the union. And the answer is yes, they did,” said Wayne Ponschke, a feeder driver affected by the subcontracting. “What I witnessed from the company was not good – embarrassing actually. All I have to say is if you see something wrong, pick up the phone and call your business agent. Because if it does not feel right, it’s probably not. All your business agents are willing to fight all across the country.” 

Local 396 is calling on the company to cease and desist its violations of the contract and pay all appropriate pay claims, subcontracting claims and damages to its members for the loss of bargaining unit work.

While the claims in all four cases brought by Local 396 were deadlocked, the union will move them to arbitration.