Hoffa Brown-Nosing at UPS


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Hoffa Brown-nosing at UPS

TEN YEARS after the historic strike by the Teamsters at UPS that electrified workers in the U.S. and put fear into the hearts of America’s CEO’s, Teamster leader James P. Hoffa has tentatively negotiated a new national contract with UPS that can an only be described as an historic defeat, and, if passed by the membership, may permanently cripple the ability of future union activists to recover the union’s once formidable position at the world’s largest transportation company.
"While other unions are struggling against employers, this tentative agreement with UPS addresses our members’ concerns and is an example of how the Teamsters are moving forward faster and stronger than ever," claims Hoffa. These other-worldly, bombastic boasts are a perfect example of Hoffa-speak, where defeats are portrayed as victories, and sell-outs as masterful leadership. The only direction the Teamsters are moving in is backward and at top speed with the proposed contract.
Among the major union concessions:

∑ The withdrawal of 44,000 UPS/Teamsters from the Central States’ Pension Fund, the largest pension in the Teamsters union that could bankrupt the fund in the future.
∑ Starting pay for part-timers would remain at $8.50 per hour for the life of the proposed contract (until 2013) that would mean that start pay would remain where it has roughly stood since 1981 or 32 years.
∑ No new full-time jobs would be created out of existing part-time positions (two-thirds of the jobs at UPS are part-timer) this was one of the important victories coming out of the 1997 strike.
∑ No health coverage for part-timers during their first year of employment, and no health coverage for their family members for their first eighteen months of employment.

There are a myriad of other unnecessary and mind-boggling concessions that permeate the proposed contract, which raises a big question: Who wrote this contract? Was there even a pretense of negotiations? Or did Hoffa and Parcel Division Director hall just simply accept the company proposal after it was slid across the table?
Traffic World, the semi-official voice of the transportation industry, has editorialized that this was the contract that UPS wanted in 1997 but was stymied by then Teamster General President Ron Carey, elected as a reformer in 1991 and re-elected in 1996, who called a three week strike against the transportation giant, popularly known as Big Brown. The strike was solidly supported by UPS Teamsters across the country and won a major victory over UPS.
Ten years later the tables have been turned. Hoffa came to power in 1999 following a federal government sponsored witch-hunt that drove Ron Carey permanently out of the union. Hoffa, the son of the notorious union racketeer Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared in 1975, has been the leader the of the most reactionary and mobbed-up elements of the Teamsters union. Many of his closets advisors and supporters have been permanently barred from the Teamsters for corrupted practices including his former running mate William Hogan and his former special assistant Dane Passo. Carroll Haynes, a Hoffa slate member and a Teamster vice president, is being forced to repay more than $100,000 in improper payments he received from the company that manages his former local union’s health plan.
Hoffa, who ran for office on the slogan of "Restore Teamster Power," has been attempting to return the union to its alleged glory days of cozy relationships with Republican presidents and sweetheart deals with the big trucking and freight companies. He was always the preferred candidate, especially by UPS, to lead the "old guard" Teamsters in the battle against reformers led by Carey during the 1990s.
As soon after Hoffa came into office, Traffic World ran a major article on his emerging relationship with UPS called "In Love with Hoffa." This love affair has blossomed into one of the great corrupt marriages of our time to the detriment of the 235,000 members of the Teamsters union at UPS, the largest private sector unionized employer in the country today.
UPS over the last decade has morphed into a global behemoth. It is familiar to most Americans, with its brown delivery trucks that dot the landscape of the country and its "what can Brown do for you?" commercials. It has one of the largest privately owned airlines in the world, and an army of employees that load, unload, sort and delivery hundreds of thousands of packages a day. It has one of the largest political action committees in Washington and has long been a player in Republican Party politics. UPS is one of the most profitable corporations in the United States; its after tax profits of $2.4 billion in 2002 grew to $3.9 billion in 2005, and leaped to over $4 billion last year.
"During that same time," according to the Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), the longstanding reform organization, "the base wage for UPS part-timers remained $8.50. That wage was frozen in the 2002 contract, and has gone up just 50 cents in 25 years! Some 29 states have minimum wages above the federal level, and some of them could soon pass up our base part-time wage. Net profits of $4 billion. That’s about $20,000 per year for each part-time and full-time Teamster. That’s more than many part-timers make in a year."
Don’t expect opposition to come from the local officers of the Teamsters. On October 11, 300 local officers unanimously endorsed Hoffa’s proposed contract at a national meeting addressed by hall. Not only have reformers been marginalized or muted on a local level, but the current crop of officers are gorging themselves on the dues money with bloating salaries and maintaining a go along to get a long attitude. TDU reports that ninety-six Teamster officials now make over $150,000 a year. "Hoffa doled out an incredible $8.4 million last year to 164 Teamster officials who already earn at least one other union salary. Multiple salaries have skyrocketed by 764 percent since Hoffa took office. These salaries function as a patronage system to officers who are expected to turn out the vote for Hoffa in return," according to the TDU website.
At the same time, Hoffa and Hall, in a conference call on October 2, reported to local unions that there is a "card check" deal with UPS Freight (formerly Overnite transport), where if a majority of workers at a UPS Freight terminal sign Teamster cards, the company will recognize and bargain with the local Teamsters union at that terminal. This, however, is contingent, according to TDU, "on ratification of the UPS national contract, including the break-out of 44,000 Teamsters from the Central States Fund. That was management’s central demand in national bargaining. As reported on the call, signing of cards cannot start until after the whole UPS contract process is done."
There seems to be no limit to the duplicity of the Hoffa administration, and he is hoping for a quick national vote on the proposed contract. It will take an all-out effort by rank-and-file activists at UPS around the country to defeat the greatest threat to their union and their livelihood in a decade.

Joe Allen is a former member of Teamsters Local 705 at UPS in Chicago. This article is taken from the forthcoming Nov.-Dec. issue of the International Socialist Review.


Two minute Therapist
Thanks for the article. The proposed contract is a NO for me. There are too many concessions on our part,even our raise is tentative we get half and the other half, if UPS decides that the pension fund is underfunded they can put that raise into the pension fund. Our pension is at their mercy we could be stuck at our current level of monthly pension for decades even our lifetime with no increases.:mad:

blue efficacy

Well-Known Member
People need to quit talking like Socialist is a dirty word. If you think socialism is bad, you might as well think unions are bad, and your $28 driver pay is bad.
Don't forget if UPS puts the second half of our raise into the pension, they don't have to pay overtime on it. Why haven't they negotiated overtime into our pension since we are forced to work it??

Liberty Bear

New but not Naive
"International Socialist Review"? No thanks. I am not ready to have my decisions influenced by some disgruntled Socialist.

I can't vouch for the International Socialist Review, as I haven't researched it. But if you think there's something wrong with "disgruntled socialists," you need to go back to school and take American History 101. if it weren't for disgruntled socialists, you probably wouldn't be enjoying things like overtime, paid vacations, benefits and on and on.


Active Member
"International Socialist Review"? No thanks. I am not ready to have my decisions influenced by some disgruntled Socialist.

I agree, the obvious slant is off-putting, if the "international socialist review" info was at the beggining i wouldn't have read the whole thing. However looking at the "big picture" i don't really doubt much of the information in the article, for the following reasons:

I can't get any info or opinion from my local stewards, they all just state that our local BA "loves" the contract. They state they haven't personally read the contract yet, and suggest i "wait for the meeting at our local" which hasn't been scheduled yet or at least announced. My BA hasn't returned my call from a week ago. I have recieved several recordede messages from hall stating that the locals unanimously support the deal (despite the fact that it seems 50-50 in the brown cafe), and another call boasting of the "huge contract gains". The lack of real communication from the union makes me highly suspicious, and i get the sense they are pushing a yes vote with very little room or time for scrutinization.

Having read the proposed contract it seems to me that, since i supported the strike in '97 why should i vote yes on this contract when it clearly gives back the major gains in that contract? Additionally, i don't like the language opening the door to 35 cents of my general wage increase susbsidizing pensions/helathcare. I don't like the fact that the general wage increase doesnt have a chance to outpace inflation. It also makes getting into feeders less appealing with the 3 year layoff deal.

Now, i will admit that i am in the western conference pension fund, my pension is healthy and at this point will pay out more than any other teamster fund (even with the accrual rate cuts in '03). I am not sure how i would lean were i in central states. Because the current CS plan will pay out more than the proposed single-employer plan. But will the '06 pension law force companies to bring CS back to "acceptable" funding levels? I dont know. Clearly UPS and the Teamsters dont want to go down that road and clearly they don't want to spend the time explaining why.

My fear is that the contract is ratified, UPS withdraws from CS, then ABF and Yellow withdraw. The fund looks better for now with all that new cash. But in 5-15 years the fund looks like crap again and fund managers want to combine plans and use the healthier plans to prop up the others inevitably dragging my plan down another notch.

I really feel this deal works out nice for UPS and the TEAMSTERS but maybe not so much for us UPSERS. So, i keep coming back to this: Its not Hoffa or my managers knees and back that kill while delivering 170+ stops a day with a smile. Its also not their cell phone placing 10 customer calls a day to make service on every package. Its not them that our customers are loyal to, its us, because were the ones bending over backward every day to make and keep them happy. If you're out there in package or feeders you know this is true. If you talk to the FedEx guys you know you work at least twice as hard as them.

We deserve a better contract offer with significant wage and pension increases. I just dont buy the spin that CS have to accept a lesser pension payout. Why does the employee always have to take a little bit less each year, while profits grow? And why does each contract involve a bit of a sell out to future employees? Longer wage progressions evry contract, longer waits for full healthcare coverege to part timers, no starting wage increase's etc. what is this, Walmart? Enough said.

Scrutinize this contract and your local teamster officials. Make them justify to your face why this contract is so good for you. I know I will just as soon as i can get one to return my call or tell me exactly when the meeting is.


Well-Known Member
Defining weakness of U.S. unionism bubbles up from a single poisoned well: corruption.
Historically U.S unions acting as private patronage systems for it's leaders. A kind of protection system based on exclusive jurisdictions, exclusive bargaining, and job control. It's a dependence rather than solidarity, one that promotes the most wide-ranging corruption. Corruption in turn developes weakness. A weakness that must be addressed, confronted, and re-strenghthen for future survival. It may be looked upon as a submission by some, but every action has a re-action, in other words, suffers the consequences of it's past wrongdoings.
Declining memberships, failed organizing, historic lows in strikes, lack of member control/participation, dependence on the Democrats, etc. to this history. Many union members would undoubtedly bob their heads in agreement. As far as our current contract is concerned, it's not enough to say that everything is rotten and to advocate for a vague alternative without a solid base. Hourly and Labor's crisis is deep and the stakes too high for workers to wait around for the right leader to get elected and finally upright the business-union stronghold.
Reforms hinge on changes to labor and employment law at the federal level. By implying that fighting with the current reform movement offers no real avenue for change at the workplace or union level.


Well-Known Member
Yes, corruption combined with public apathy.

The Teamsters have jumped from the Mafia's bed into bed with Corporate America.

I'm curious as to what group you represent or are affiliated with Liberty. It seems as though someone with such outspoken views would be proud to make it known whether it be TDU/MakeUPSdeliver or The Socialist Worker or whatever. I am interested in finding out what you and/or your group proposes as an alternative to our current Union leadership and current status as UPS employees.

I am being completely serious as I try to stay as open minded as possible. You talk about everything that is wrong about the Union and the current contract so I'd like to hear how you would change it.


Well-Known Member
I'm curious as to what group you represent or are affiliated with Liberty. It seems as though someone with such outspoken views would be proud to make it known whether it be TDU/MakeUPSdeliver or The Socialist Worker or whatever. I am interested in finding out what you and/or your group proposes as an alternative to our current Union leadership and current status as UPS employees.

I am being completely serious as I try to stay as open minded as possible. You talk about everything that is wrong about the Union and the current contract so I'd like to hear how you would change it.

**for clarification** I understand the invisible republic thing as well as the other sig links you have ...my question was with regard to which organization dealing with UPS you are affiliated with.


Well-Known Member
Don't forget if UPS puts the second half of our raise into the pension, they don't have to pay overtime on it. Why haven't they negotiated overtime into our pension since we are forced to work it??

To and to this. At a meeting yesterday it was discussed that if you are in a muti-employer plan and .35 is taken out of your wages and redirected into the pension.. what happens to all the others in that plan? The national fright agreement is being negotiated now, you can BET this language will be in there contract....BEWARE! :mad:


1997, we walked a picket line in support of one another as coworkers & Teamsters. We stood hand in hand as Ron Carey was at the controls and we listened to what he had to say. Allbeit later the gov. took Mr. Carey down, he had a vision of improvements for all of the Teamster workers at UPS. He did not pin one against the other.

Today, the company has tried to split us up and pin us against one another. Feeder drivers have the least to lose, why would they vote this down?

Package Drivers get $4.00 an hour over 6 years so why worry about part timers.?

Part timers (historically) dont vote on contractual issues with any majority so who listens.

Its always after the fact when people complain, never when there voices can actually be heard. We earned hard fought langauge that protected drivers and this language has been washed away.

Electronic Data from GPS to seat belt and bulkhead door monitoring, electronic devices are being installed into the package cars. This contract does nothing to stop it!

Think about it drivers, Do you want to wait till you are fired before you voice an objection to language that doesnt protect you???

This is the biggest problem with contracts. NoBody wants to read.

They hear what they want to hear and nothing else. A new contract should reflect what actually transpires day to day. It should be written with a syntax that clearly defines what is said and what is meant, not confusing jibberish that only confuses an issue, and furthermore, when three people read it, you get three different explanations.

We need to Unite ladies and gentlemen. We need and should demand that this contract be turned down and the parties at every local call a meeting and discuss each article that needs correction.

If not, we are going to be stuck with language for 5 years and a good percentage of you reading this today as UPSers and Teamsters, will no longer be here because of something in this contract.

As I read all the posts on the threads, I see a split, but that split is a dangerous one.

Of course the Company feels this is a good contract, this goes without saying, But for HOFFA to come out and tell us this is the strongest contract ever??

This has to be a joke. I agree with the original poster on this thread, HOFFA simply accepted what was slid across the table.

This is bad for all of us no matter what our personal opinion.

Read, understand whats at stake with every article, apply the language to yourself and see what could happen and probably will, forget about the $4.00 and VOTE THIS THING DOWN!!

Whats the hurry to accept it? We have plenty of time for corrections.

Would a company like UPS really put its best offer on the table this far ahead of the deadline?? Think about it!! They have until next spring before they really have to worry about anything.