Contracts often contain language that gives the union the right to use important leverage to compel an employer to pay health and welfare contributions in a proper and timely manner.
In this case, full-time UPS Teamsters in Local 162 and throughout Joint Council 37, are covered by the Oregon Teamster Employers Trust for their health care benefits. The trust periodically audits all participating employers, including UPS.
A recent audit of UPS revealed that they had shorted the trust over $283,772.32 in health and welfare contributions. With penalties and interest this amounted to a total of $352,420.38.
It is not uncommon for audits to reveal both shortages and overages. What makes this case newsworthy is that UPS had reached an agreement on what they owed the Trust and they then began a month’s long process to delay their payment with the old story of “the check’s in the mail.”
Once the Trust notified Local 162 of the shortage and UPS’s month’s long delay in paying it, the union immediately notified the UPS labor department of its obligations to pay the Trust immediately or risk the Teamsters invoking its members’ clear contractual rights under Article 8 Section 2 of the National Master UPS Agreement for failing to make health and welfare contributions.
This notice from Local 162 did the trick. A check was immediately cut to the Oregon Teamster Employers Trust in the amount of $352,420.38.
“This is a good example of our National Master UPS Agreement working in a way that most members would never see or hear about,” said Mark Davison, President of Local 162 and Chair of the Joint Council 37 Negotiating Committee. “Health care benefits are perhaps the most important benefits our members and their families receive under this contract and we have strong contract language to compel UPS to pay for it.”