Now Is the Time for Best Contract Enforcement Ever On Aug. 30 the IBT announced that the master UPS contract was approved, with 72 percent voting in favor (see story). Three supplements were narrowly rejected and have to be renegotiated: Detroit Area Local 243, Local 926 and Western Pennsylvania. Because in 1991 we won the Right to Vote on supplements and riders, the master contract has not yet been ratified, to preserve the bargaining power of the UPS brothers and sisters in Michigan and Pennsylvania. We should all stand with them. Turnout in the contract vote was the lowest in history. Less than 80,000 votes were counted. The range for UPS contracts between 1990 and 1997 was 93,000 to 118,000. Of course UPS has grown dramatically during this time. Only 38 percent of UPS Teamsters voted. This is the first time that the voting rate has dropped below 50 percent in UPS national contract balloting. The low turnout is particularly striking for a contract that the IBT has described as the best ever. Why Some Locals Voted No A review of the local by local vote on the contract indicates that where members were involved in discussing certain important issues, the contract was rejected or passed narrowly. Participation of members also increased. In the San Francisco Bay Area, several locals voted no on their supplement, including San Francisco Local 278 and Richmond Local 315. Other locals such as Oakland Local 70 passed it, but with a very low turnout. Members here are concerned about several issues, including the demand for a true cost of living clause in their supplement. Seattle Local 174, with a good dose of rank and file power, voted down the contract. In the Central and Southern Regions, covered by the freeze in the Central States Pension plan, the Central supplement was rejected in Detroit (and several other Michigan locals), Cincinnati, Des Moines and several other locals in Iowa, Indiana and Kentucky. The Central narrowly passed in Kansas City, Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton, Toledo, Lexington and some other midwest locals. In the South the pattern was similar. Where there was more membership networking and distribution of TDU literature, and where the members were aware of the pension freeze, the Yes vote was not high. The Southern Supplement was actually rejected in the state of Tennessee, adding the votes in the Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Jackson locals. High no votes on the supplement also came in from several other locals across the south, from Amarillo to Shreveport to Arkansas. The three locals in North Carolina (covered by the Central States Plan) passed the contract but by a low margin. In New York Local 804, the supplement passed by 1293 to 1283 or 50.2 percent. Members there are demanding to know the process for a recount and review of challenged ballots, since a swing of only five or six votes would cause rejection and renegotiation in a large supplement. The contract was rejected in some other eastern locals such as Syracuse, N.Y. and Worcester, Mass. The Western Pennsylvania supplement was narrowly rejected, with a big no vote coming from the largest unit, Local 30. The Central Pennsylvania supplement narrowly passed (while the master passed easily there) due to anger over the pension. Although the International Union and UPS both spent millions of dollars to sell the contract, which contains decent raises, in many areas a majority actually voted to hold out for a better contract for the future. It was because of a rank and file information network. Thats the kind of rank and file power we need to build nationwide to strengthen our union.