Teamsters

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Teamsters Weekly Update, Week Ending May 17, 2019

Teamsters Leader on Trade with China: They're Keeping Us Out: International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President James Hoffa discusses the impact of President Trump’s tariffs, and what should be done to get tough with China on trade, during interviews with Ali Velsh of MSNBC and Judy Woodruff of PBS NewsHour.

Teamsters YRC Freight, Holland, and New Penn Contract Will Now Take Effect: The last supplement to the YRC Freight, Holland and New Penn National Master Freight Agreement has now been ratified by the affected membership, which means the new national collective bargaining agreement and all supplemental agreements are now fully ratified and will take effect immediately. The National Master portions of the agreement and all other supplements were previously approved by the membership on May 3.

Teamsters' Hoffa: 2020 Democrats Are Vying for Union Support, And That's A Welcome Shift: As the 2020 primary season heats up, presidential candidates in the massive Democratic field — from Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden — are vying for critical support from labor unions.

NV Governor Signs Two-Person Rail Crew Bill: On May 15, organized labor secured a major victory for railroad workers and safety when Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak (D) signed a two-person rail crew bill into law.

Teamsters Stand with Law Enforcement Officers: On average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 58 hours. In all, more than 19,000 American law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice since the first known line-of-duty death in 1791.

Teamsters Strike at Murphy Warehouse: Today, nearly 80 warehouse employees went on strike at 5 a.m. at seven Murphy Warehouse Company locations across the Twin City region to protest unfair labor practices.

Sea-Tac Airport Fuelers Ratify First Contract With Teamsters Local 174: Life is about to change for a group of over 150 fuelers, dispatchers and mechanics working at Sea-Tac Airport, as they voted yesterday to ratify their first-ever Teamster contract.

It’s Time to Finally Fund Infrastructure Investment: The Teamsters know a little something about infrastructure. Approximately 600,000 of our members drive the nation’s roadways as part of their job. And we have tens of thousands of members who work on railroads and aircrafts delivering passengers and goods to their final destinations.

Teamsters Plan Strategy to Build Member Power at Public Services Division Conference: With more than 200,000 members, the Teamsters Public Services Division is one of the largest in the union. After participating in workshops and trainings geared towards building Teamster power, the 250+ Teamsters who attended the Public Services Division Conference are poised to make it even larger.
 

NEWS ARTICLES

Teamsters Leader on Trade with China: They're Keeping Us Out: International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President James Hoffa discusses the impact of President Trump’s tariffs, and what should be done to get tough with China on trade, during interviews with Ali Velsh of MSNBC and Judy Woodruff of PBS NewsHour.
MSNBC: Teamsters Leader on Trade with China: They're Keeping Us Out
PBS News Hour: Why The Teamsters President Supports Trumps New Tariffs

Teamsters YRC Freight, Holland, and New Penn Contract Will Now Take Effect: Workers in Western Pennsylvania Have Approved The Last Supplement: (WASHINGTON) – The last supplement to the YRC Freight, Holland and New Penn National Master Freight Agreement has now been ratified by the affected membership, which means the new national collective bargaining agreement and all supplemental agreements are now fully ratified and will take effect immediately. The National Master portions of the agreement and all other supplements were previously approved by the membership on May 3.
The only outstanding supplement following the May 3 vote, the Joint Council 40 Supplement, was approved this week.
“The national contract will now take effect and I want to thank all our members for their support during this long process,” said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division.  “The wage increases are retroactive to April 1 and it is anticipated that any retro pay will be distributed within the next 30 days.”

Teamsters' Hoffa: 2020 Democrats Are Vying For Union Support, And That's A Welcome Shift: Republicans Did Well with Union Voters in 2016. But Our Focus On Income Inequality And Workplace Changes Is Helping Workers And Democrats Gain Ground: As the 2020 primary season heats up, presidential candidates in the massive Democratic field — from Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden — are vying for critical support from labor unions.
Don't dismiss this as typical election posturing. Those of us who have watched the labor movement’s ebbs and flows over the past few decades know things have changed. Democrats' actual support for labor unions has fluctuated wildly in recent decades. The failure to focus on economic insecurity and the industrial heartland in 2016 allowed anti-union Republicans to make gains among union voters.
This shift is not arbitrary but tied to a resurgence in union support among all major gender, age, education and geographic groups. Across the country, unions representing truck drivers, nurses, pilots, teachers, retail workers and more have stayed vigilant on the core issues that impact working people. We’ve helped turn income inequality — which is at a level last seen in the years just before the Great Depression — into a mainstream issue. We’ve also fought against policies that are an affront to working people, such as Missouri’s “right to work” law, and won.
But beyond that, unions have undergone a critical self-assessment in order to remain nimble in the changing landscape of e-commerce. Consider the Teamsters drivers’ recent contract with UPS, which went into effect last month. Virtually everyone in this country depends on UPS to keep their lives running smoothly and efficiently. However, shifts in technology and changes in consumer behavior have affected this work over the past decade and dramatically changed the delivery and global logistics industry. In the wake of these changes, UPS workers faced more challenges than ever and needed their contract to reflect that. We're helping workers adapt to changing lives: We approached the UPS negotiation table with an eye toward growing good jobs and ensuring strong wages, but also building a sustainable life for working Americans in the ever-changing, high-demand workplace. Months later, we have now secured one of the largest collective bargaining agreements in the United States, covering nearly 250,000 workers across the country. The new contract includes significant wage increases for both full-time and part-time workers, 5,000 new full-time jobs, health care benefits without premiums for all workers and a pension for all workers. We also fought for a solution that provides service to UPS customers who demand weekend deliveries, while protecting Monday-Friday jobs.
This contract couldn’t be more timely. In today’s economy, when unemployment has been going down without a substantial increase in wages or work-life balance, this historic agreement is poised to raise standards for the entire logistics industry and help make e-commerce work for working people. At the end of the new agreement on Aug. 1, 2022, a full-time UPS package car driver will earn as much as $40.51 an hour with additional health care and pension benefits, paid leave and grievance procedure. Workers can achieve more when they stand together.
Labor solidarity is helping us win for workers: Perhaps as a result of each union’s individual work, the labor movement has demonstrated enormous solidarity in recent months. In April, tens of thousands of Stop & Shop employees represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers went on strike over stalled contract negotiations in supermarkets in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The strikers were met with public support from 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls. But maybe even more important, other unions played a critical role in the strike.
For instance, Teamsters who serve as warehouse workers and truck drivers for Stop & Shop honored the picket line and, by doing so, stopped the store from restocking. Their unity demonstrated the strength and success that labor has when workers stand together, and resulted in a new contract that includes wage increases, a fully funded pension plan and protected time-and-a-half on Sundays.
Union leaders like me are thankful to hear from presidential candidates and glad there is a focus on reaching working people in the upcoming election. But we know that the candidates’ interest is the result of our diligence and commitment to workers. While we continue to adapt and grow in these changing times, we’ll keep doing what we do best: fighting for working people. Because, at our core, we remain steadfast in our belief that a rising tide should lift all boats, and we will keep working to make sure it does.

NV Governor Signs Two-Person Rail Crew Bill: BLET Lauds Safety Move Protecting Communities: On May 15, organized labor secured a major victory for railroad workers and safety when Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak (D) signed a two-person rail crew bill into law.
Assembly Bill 337 passed out of the Nevada Senate on May 7, 2019, by a 13-8 party-line vote. Previously A.B. 337 was approved by the Nevada State Assembly by a 29-12 vote. The bill requires a two-person crew on Class I and Class II railroads in the state of Nevada.
Matt Parker, BLET Nevada State Legislative Board Chairman, worked closely with Jason Doering, his counterpart with the SMART Transportation Division, to lobby in favor of the bill.
“We let legislators know that A.B. 337 should be passed so when things go wrong, two trained and experienced crew members are in the train cab to help, no matter what,” Brother Parker said. “This is about the safety of the communities we travel through — not just for the train crews, but more importantly for the residents of those communities.” For the complete article, click here.

Teamsters Stand with Law Enforcement Officers: On average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 58 hours. In all, more than 19,000 American law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice since the first known line-of-duty death in 1791.
Today, Peace Officers Memorial Day will be a time to reflect on the heroes that ensure our communities are safe. This includes honoring the growing Teamster contingent of police officers, correctional officers and those in related fields.
“Our members, who work in police departments, correctional institutions, as well as those who monitor offenders when released, are steadfast in their role of keeping our communities safe,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “Each of us has an obligation to be an advocate for those who serve and protect us and the Teamsters will continue fighting for the passage of laws that provide for superior pay and benefits.”
The Teamsters Union, which currently represents tens of thousands of law enforcement officers nationwide, recently convened a special meeting of law enforcement officers in Des Moines, Iowa, where programs were held covering recent developments in law enforcement labor relations, disciplinary procedures, understanding body cameras and use-of-force issues and other topics.
Additionally, the union provides access to a unique benefit for members: The Teamsters Legal Defense Fund (TLDF). The program provides legal representation and guidance to Teamster member participants in law enforcement with quality professional legal representation and stands by law enforcement Teamsters and their families when they need advice, guidance and comfort the most.
“The Teamsters Union stands with the dedicated law enforcement officers and workers who put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve, to make sure they receive the fair pay, secure retirement, and rights at work that they deserve,” said Jason Rabinowitz, Director, Teamsters Public Services Division.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund:
In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.
There are many events and activities planned in D.C. and around the country for National Police Week, which you can access here: http://www.policeweek.org/schedule.html

Teamsters Strike at Murphy Warehouse: Contract is Ratified Unanimously by Participating Workers: Union Denounces Corporate Greed as Company Makes Unreasonable Demands During Contract Negotiations: (MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.) – Today, nearly 80 warehouse employees went on strike at 5 a.m. at seven Murphy Warehouse Company locations across the Twin City region to protest unfair labor practices.
The primary issue centers on the employee healthcare benefits. The company’s current contract proposal nearly triples employee healthcare costs even though the overall cost for the health plan went down more than 4 percent this year.
“This is corporate greed at its worst. The costs went down and they are still demanding our members agree to triple their out of pocket? It’s outrageous,” said Tom Erickson, Teamsters Local Union 120 President.
Murphy Warehouse Company provides logistics services to companies like Anderson Windows, Dakota Growers, United Sugars as well as many other accounts. Twenty-year employee Jason Cadalbert feels the offer and the conduct of Murphy management during negotiations has been offensive.
“We’ve always been a family here, but this time around they are choosing to spend tons of money on multiple attorneys and consultants, instead of just giving a fair offer to us,” Cadalbert said. “We aren’t greedy, but we need to be able to take care of our families. I just don’t know why they are doing this to us.”
When asked by union bargaining committee why they are demanding to nearly triple employee healthcare costs if the overall cost went down, the company responded by stating that it is a “pet peeve” of owner Richard Murphy Jr. that employees have great health coverage.
Employees will continue to picket at all seven Murphy Warehouse sites around the Twin Cities metro region including the company’s main office located at 701 24th Ave SE in Minneapolis.
Teamsters Local 120 proudly represents over 12,500 members in the States of Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota. We serve members in a variety of industries, from freight, airline, warehousing, and foodservice in the private sector, to police officers and city workers in the public sector. Our Local Union negotiates industry-leading contracts, and defends our members’ rights every day.

Sea-Tac Airport Fuelers Ratify First Contract With Teamsters Local 174: Lengthy, Contentious Negotiation Results in Record-Setting First Contract for Swissport Workers: (TUKWILA, Wash.)—Life is about to change for a group of over 150 fuelers, dispatchers and mechanics working at Sea-Tac Airport, as they voted yesterday to ratify their first-ever Teamster contract.
The smell of jet fuel was strong in the meeting room, as workers voted enthusiastically and overwhelmingly in favor of the contract, a contract which makes them among the highest paid Swissport fuelers in the country, and codifies strong language that will dramatically improve their daily lives on the job.
The workers first voted to join Teamsters Local 174 in March of 2018, after a challenging organizing drive spearheaded by Local 174 Director of Organizing Meaza Ogbe.
“Despite cultural and language barriers, the group was eventually able to agree on one important thing: they wanted respect on the job,” Ogbe said. “Yesterday, they proudly voted to guarantee they will be treated fairly by their employer.”
The new contract guarantees respect in many ways. Not only does it ensure that workers will be fairly compensated for the physically backbreaking work they do, it also ensures that things like favoritism, being forced to work through breaks and lunch and being penalized for using protected leave will be in the past at Swissport.
“This contract remedies most of the major issues the membership identified at their demands meeting held last April,” said Business Agent Michael Walker, who will be representing the group. “This is a major victory for everyone.”
Negotiations were contentious at times, especially during the holiday season when workers voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike that would have shut down Sea-Tac airport. A strike seemed imminent yet again just a few weeks ago, until Swissport management finally decided to do the right thing and give their workers a fair contract.
“This contract is far more than just record-setting wages, as it includes all the core basics you’d expect in a union contract—seniority, union security, grievance procedure, ‘just cause’ discipline – truly the whole package,” said Local 174 Director of Negotiations Patty Warren. “It was a tough negotiation, but in the end we reached an agreement that is fair to everyone, and will really make life better for these workers.”
“Before this contract, people worked at Swissport for years and got nothing – no raises at all, and no respect,” said Swissport employee and Bargaining Committee member Vailili “Vice” Malauulu. “This contract changes everything. No more discrimination or favoritism. The old Swissport is gone; we are Teamsters now.”
“Everyone should be proud of this contract and the incredible improvements it will make for these hardworking Teamsters,” said Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks. “This fight wasn’t just about money. It was about respect for a group that is largely comprised of minorities, making minimum wage doing a difficult, smelly job out in the elements – a job that most of us would balk at performing ourselves. While we are pleased Swissport management decided to do right by their workforce, we still have a tremendous amount of work left to do in exposing the price-fixing done by the airline industry in taking advantage of a mostly immigrant workforce.”
“This strong Teamster contract is going to benefit everyone involved, and is just the beginning,” Hicks added.
Founded in 1909, Teamsters Local 174 represents 7,600 working men and women in the Seattle area. “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TeamstersLocal174.

It’s Time To Finally Fund Infrastructure Investment: The Teamsters know a little something about infrastructure. Approximately 600,000 of our members drive the nation’s roadways as part of their job. And we have tens of thousands of members who work on railroads and aircrafts delivering passengers and goods to their final destinations.
These same workers have witnessed firsthand the decline of the nation’s transportation network. Crumbling roadways and bridges, cracked rails and overcrowded airports and public transit systems plague travelers and commuters from coast to coast, endangering the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans. The U.S. economy suffers because of it.
For years, the Teamsters have led the charge in the call for a substantial increase in infrastructure investment. So this union was encouraged late last month when President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced a preliminary $2 trillion agreement to do just that. But we also know there is still plenty of work to do to get it done.
This is a problem that can no longer be ignored. The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) last month released its annual report on the state of America’s bridges, showing that slightly more than 47,000 of the nation’s 616,000 spans were rated structurally deficient and are in need of urgent repairs. It also showed that the pace of repairs fell last year, resulting in only a 1-percent reduction of deficient bridges.
It’s a continuation of a trend that began five years ago, when the pace of bridge improvements began to slow down. Incredibly, at this point, it would take more than 80 years to make the significant repairs needed to these structures.
But the nation’s transportation ailments go beyond bridges. The most recent American Society of Civil Engineers infrastructure report rated it a D+, with roads and public transit pulling up the rear with D and D- grades, respectively.
These are the challenges that President Trump and congressional leaders are going to have to come together to solve when they meet again in the days to come. More funds will be necessary to get it done. The importance of doing so, however, cannot be dismissed.
The gains from making such investments go beyond the better infrastructure. Rebuilding, repairing and reinvestment is also about rebuilding and repairing the trust between government and workers by reinvesting in the people that have and can continue to make this nation great. Better pay will lead to more spending and improve our quality of life. That way everyone wins.
There was a time when building roads and rails weren’t just political issues – they were American values, something everyone could support. The leadership in Washington, D.C. has an opportunity to return to that era right now. It’s an opportunity to break political gridlock.
Take it from the Teamsters’ membership – transportation needs elected officials’ immediate attention! Now it’s time to finally make it happen.

Teamsters Plan Strategy to Build Member Power at Public Services Division Conference: With more than 200,000 members, the Teamsters Public Services Division is one of the largest in the union. After participating in workshops and trainings geared towards building Teamster power, the 250+ Teamsters who attended the Public Services Division Conference are poised to make it even larger.
“Our Teamster public service workers make our communities safer, healthier, better places to live, and they deserve fair treatment at work,” said Jason Rabinowitz, Public Services Division Director. “That’s why it is so important that we come together and develop strategies to build Teamster power in public service, organize thousands of workers and give our existing membership the best representation that they could possibly have.”
On the first day of the session, In the Public Interest (ITPI) Executive Director Donald Cohen led a workshop on fighting privatization and subcontracting. Cohen stressed that having a proactive and multifaceted approach that involved legislative advocacy, coalition building, and a well thought out communications strategy was essential to pushing back on austerity measures at the state and municipal level. During a discussion, Local 237 Housing Division Director Kevin Norman emphasized that monitoring “pilot programs” had been a successful tactic for unions fighting privatization in his hometown of New York City.
“What public officials are really saying with these ‘pilot programs’ is that they don’t want to hire more people to be in the union and have to pay the salaries or benefits,” Norman said. “You need to be aware of these small pilot programs which can be used to displace you later on down the road.”
Cohen wasn’t the only special guest at the conference - representatives from the Northwest Accountability Project also ran a workshop. The Northwest Accountability Project is a non-profit dedicated to bringing awareness and transparency to corporate-funded right-wing extremist organizations. The NWAP provided Teamsters with a tool kit on how to fight back against organizations like the Freedom Foundation, a dark-money group that targets public sector workers with misleading propaganda designed to convince them they should opt-out of union membership.
Workshop participants all agreed that a dark-money campaign is no match for an educated and mobilized membership. Local 2010 Union Representative Joseph Meyer advocates on behalf of members at the UC Office of the President and UC Berkeley, where he used to work as a records clerk. Meyer said that he and his Local 2010 brothers and sisters have no patience for anti-union pestering from outside agitators.
 “They are not welcome on our campus,” said Meyer. “Our members know that at the end of the day, whether it’s the Freedom Foundation or anyone else, all they want to do is take money out of our pockets and give it to the one percent.”
On the second day of the conference, Deputy Organizing Director Kim Keller gave a presentation on Teamster organizing in the public sector, noting that the Teamsters have successfully organized 33,000 public sector workers in the last five years alone. With public sector workers under attack by politicians, there has never been a more important time for them to stand together in a union. At one point, Keller and Rabinowitz asked every Teamster at the conference to pledge that they would add 5,000 public sectors workers to their membership rolls. The audience roared in applause, enthusiastically accepting the challenge.
Keller then moderated a panel discussion on public sector organizing with Local 238 Secretary-Treasurer Jesse Case, Local 14 Vice President Grant Davis, Local 2010 Organizing Director Jesse Mathus, and Local 320 Organizer Claire Thiele. There was extended discussion on the importance of mobilizing millennials in the public sector
“We have no choice but to attract more young people to our union,” Thiele said. “The good news is that there is a lot of enthusiasm among workers under 35 and a lot of opportunity for growth. We just need to make the case on the importance of joining.”
 

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