Brothers and Sisters of local 396, you better listen up and read the Southwest package rider. There is a key component given up by our current Officers that affects us all. This language was agreed too over 5 contracts ago, long before these Officers took office. In our current contract, on page 85, we have had the benefit of EXCLUSIVE language to local 396. This language provided protections covering "Settlement of controversies". It was an addendum to the Rider that gave us superior protections that superceded the WEST and the National agreement. These protections have protected thousands of employees for many years from an agressive company bent on disciplining or discharging employees. The addendum read as follows: Addendum #2 Applicable to Teamster Local Union 396 Memorandums of agreement between Teamsters Local Union No 396 and United Parcel Service SETTLEMENT OF CONTROVERSIES (Section 3- Settlement of Controversies) Both parties further recognize and agree that industrial peace is to be desired at all times in the area covered by this Rider, and to that end it is agreed. Should a controversy, dispute or disagreement arise during the period of this Rider, there shall be no cessation or stoppage of work authorized by the Union, and the Union will do its utmost to see that work is continued in a normal and orderly way and said controversy, dispute or disagreement shall be adjusted in the following manner. The grievance shall be discussed with the employers immediate supervisor and/or manager within five (5) days of the known occurence giving rise to the grievance. If the grievance is not resolved at this meeting the grievant must submit a signed grievance through the Local Union to the Employer within fifteen (15) working days from the date of the occurence. Verbal Warnings, warning notices and suspensions shall become inoperative after a nine (9) month period of time. After this time period, the employee shall not be discharged without following the steps of progressive disciplinary action. Each of the parties shall make an earnest attempt to settle all differences, but in the event they fail, an Arbitrator shall be mutually selected for Arbitrations and his decision shall be final, binding and conclusive on both parties. It is the intention of both the Local Union and the Employer that the grievant recieve a hearing as soon as possible but not longer than the 30 days from the time of the filing of the written grievance unless otherwise mutually agreed to. The Arbitrator shall render a short formed decision within three (3) working days of such hearing. **end** In this addendum, it was the intention of the local and the company to settle all differences in a timely manner. Over the years, this meant arbitrations for sups working or discharges and mainly to bypass the pointless panel system. In the panel system, a case can crawl through and take up to 1 year to finalize, and even then, the case could deadlock and no decision be made final. This system is a failure and will always continue to be a failure. This addendum, provided an alternative solution to handling cases. An outside person to weigh the evidence and make a ruling within 35 days of the filing of the grievance from start to finish. Either way, the employee had the decision and went forward with his life. In addition, ALL warning letters, suspensions, discharges or any other type of discipline in an employees file would become INACTIVE after 9 months and could NOT be used against any employee in future disciplinary actions. NOW ITS GONE FROM THE RIDER!!!!! A major concession to the company thats screws us all in 396. Now, we are placed into the WEST language for discipline and discharges. Anyone with ANY experience in the panels knows that the un-official term for panels is called the "DEADLOCK committee". Panels waste a week of time for the Union and Company. Cases are rarely heard first time out and postponed.. Problem is, it takes 120 days to get to a panel hearing, then postponed and another 120 days. Then , if the case is lucky enough to be heard, a deadlock vote will commence and the case will be sent forward to WRT for review. If they cant render a decision, it will then be subject to arbitration.. This process will take 1 year. Good luck 396er's. Better learn to stay out of trouble!!! Peace.