The strike that was

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by dannyboy, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. dannyboy

    dannyboy From the promised LAND

    THere have been some heated exchanges over the last three or four days about the strike and what it was really over and about.

    I have a lot to post on the subject, but not much time right now, so those of you with all the knowledge and what you think happened, post away.

    What was the root cause of the strike, and why did it have to happen.

  2. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    D--I am on the edge of my seat--don't leave me hanging!
  3. dannyboy

    dannyboy From the promised LAND

    For what it is worth, I was a Carey supporter and voted for the guy. But then I saw a change, not one of a leader, but that of a coward. Remember what it was?

  4. feeder53

    feeder53 ADKtrails

    Lets hope there is open communications and a swift resolution to the event. Everyone looses and in this day of public shares, it seems to be about their bottom line.
  5. filthpig

    filthpig Active Member

    The strike was about UPS wanting out of the pension plan and nothing else.
  6. brownIEman

    brownIEman Well-Known Member

    pardon me while I throw some gas on the fire.

    The strike was about Carey trying to look tough and save his behind (didn't work).

    Everything the union got in that strike could have been gotten without a strike. Everything, including getting UPS to drop that silly idea about the pensions.
  7. local804

    local804 Well-Known Member

    Um yea ok......
    How about instead of throwing fuel to the fire we work towards our future and stop looking at the past. The last person to knock Carey should be someone from the IE dept.
  8. tieguy

    tieguy Banned

    how silly was it. In hindsight we bailed out the CS plan. I wouldn't be surprised if we bail out others in the future. The cost now was much higher then it would have been in 97.

    our offer to buy the pensions and pay 3000 grand a month actually resulted in many plans offering to pay our retirees more a month.

    six years after the strike 11 of 21 multi employer plans were less then 70 percent vested.

    The new pension reform laws that took affect in january exposed the weaknesses in many plans
  9. local804

    local804 Well-Known Member

    But for sure tieguy UPS was looking out for their employees best interest. The mep were not the only ones that took a dive and I am sure you can dig up the past posts about that. By looking at the way they take care of their own, no thanks.
  10. brownIEman

    brownIEman Well-Known Member

    silly in that it was totally unrealistic. The Union saw that issue as an existential threat. Was it the right thing for UPS Teamsters? yes. Was it the right thing for UPS? Yes.

    and that is what UPS tried to argue. But UPS never looked at it from the Union's point of view. If you are pointing a gun at someone and explaining to them all the perfectly logical reasons why it is just and rational and right that you shoot them in the head, do you really expect them to agree to it, no matter how compelling your arguments might seem to you?

    Of course not, that would be silly.

    But I reiterate, that issue along with all the others won in that contract COULD have been won without a strike.
  11. brownIEman

    brownIEman Well-Known Member

    absolutely, we should work together toward the future. However, if that is your feeling, and you brook no exception to that rule, what might I ask are you doing reading a thread titled "the strike that was"?

    What is the connection between IE and Carey?

    I am not really knocking Carey. I just happen to think he was in a hard election, and felt he needed to look tough so he took a hard line with the company in 1997. I also happen to believe the company was quite naive in its approach to that negotiation and thereby exacerbated the problem.

    In the end, Carey got his strike (smart), won the election (good for him) and then got ousted by the feds for finance shinanigans (not so smart or good for him).
  12. local804

    local804 Well-Known Member

    Actually, it was the first new thread on my sign on page so I glanced a look. I like to debate things that are in this decade and that actually can be debated. I am not too sure if you are aware, but Ron was acquitted of all charges(good for him).
  13. dannyboy

    dannyboy From the promised LAND

    First off, I voted Carey. I thought he was the better choice. And I am glad he was found not guilty of the charges.

    But in the months prior to the strike, I had a real issue with the mafia harrassing drivers and part timers to sign the "strike authorization" forms.

    What, the head of the teamsters does not have the authorization to call a strike? Why would he need the authorization to call a strike before we even know what the company is offering? Why not let the rank and file know what the company is actually putting on the table, not some coolaid crap like has been posted about subcontracting delivery work like fedex.

    As has been posted by the management side of the board, much of what was gained duing that time could have been gained without the strike. And all involved with the central states issue knew it was not so much if, but when. And how much. If you are honest with yourself, you know that to be true.

    I just never had any respect for the way that whole situation was conducted. I had hoped that he would change the face of the teamsters from where it was at when I first joined in 73. Fitz was at the helm I believe.

    I made it through two strikes at UPS, the first being several months in 76. The thing that both had in common was that company growth and advancement oppertunities for hourly people took a huge hit both times. Yes, it hurt the company, but it hurt the hourly more.

  14. satellitedriver

    satellitedriver Moderator Staff Member

    Oh, Dannyboy.
    You know how to poke a stick in the hornets nest.
    If I post the litany of the events that led up to the strike, this thread will decay into another denounce "the scab" thread.
    We all have our own perception of truth, but the facts will lay there patient.
    The buzzards will land and pick apart the carcass and leave no trace of the past life they fed on, as they fly away with their belly full looking for another meal.
    Yes, but the metaphor does apply.
    I am going to sit back on this one,unless things get personal.
    The strike of 97' was a cathartic event in my life.
    In the long run, I am glad it happened.
  15. soberups

    soberups Pees in the brown Koolaid

    I have been tearing my closet apart trying to find my copy of the "best, last and final" offer that UPS presented to us on the morning of July 31st of '97. When we discussed that "offer" at our union meeting, there was one line in it that would have allowed UPS to subcontract any work it wanted too as long as they could save money doing it. It was 8 or 9 words buried someplace in the subcontrating language that would have essentially rendered the entire conract a moot point. I am not making this up, I just cannot find a copy. Does anyone have a full and unedited version of that proposal?
  16. tieguy

    tieguy Banned

    804 I understand your point. But perhaps looking out for your interests was also in our interest. Your point here being that ups was not interested in fixing your retirement so much as saving some money down the road. why can't both be good reasons.
    Even if we are the evil selfish empire you claim then it seems we had a choice. We could keep pouring endless amounts of money into a fund with a bottomless pit or we could fix the plans once and for all so we didn't have to constantly lose the money we paid towards retirements.

    I don't think putting money into something that you knew would lose it was a good business decision for us.

    the fact remains that the teamsters have a poor history of managing retirement funds.

    Meanwhile ups has an excellent track record managing money.

    How long do you go pissing away retirement money in something that is not working before you start trusting someone who knows how to manage money.

    Kinda hard to refute that point don't ya think?

    In either case Carey fought to keep control and then let you guys down.

    Your point about ups taking care of its own is actually a good one. I'll retire in less then a decade and my plan is solid. there are no issues with it. there have never been any issues with it. My retirement plan is solid. Therefore ups does have a much better track record managing retirement plans then the teamsters do.
  17. sx2700

    sx2700 Banned

    I would be funding my own retirement account before I would ever assume a union managed retirement would be waiting for at the end of a long career, especially in todays economy. I am a part timer so I have no intentions of ever collecting retirement benefits from UPS, but my full time job has an excellent retirement plan with a very, very good track record. I am 99% confident that I will have nothing to worry about when retirement comes for me 20 years from now, but, because nothing is certain I am also pouring money into mutual funds just to be 100% sure.
  18. brownIEman

    brownIEman Well-Known Member

    This is a great point. It illustrates both the UPS' naivety and the Teamster's being disingenuous during that strike. The whole period of those negotiations, the teamsters made UPS negotiate against themselves, and UPS bought into it.

    Let me illustrate: When you go buy a car, if you say to the dealer I will pay 5000 for it, and he says simply, no, "that is not enough, offer me more" without giving you a number he might accept, he is making you negotiate against yourself.

    That is how the 1997 talks went. The company offered language on most issues, the IBT team would basically pick it apart and say no, that is not good enough. But they never offered a comprehensive package that they would accept, at least, not until after the strike.

    So, UPS, showing great stupidity, trying to get them to offer up a complete package, gave at the last hour the "best, last and final" offer. Now, anyone familiar with legal negotiations and the terms used in them, knows that "best, last and final" is far from the final offer one side is willing to accept. What it really means is, I am done coming up with offers and you need to come up with one or accept mine. As I said, the idea was to get the Teamsters to actually negotiate and start bringing their comprehensive plan to the table. What the IBT did instead, in an admittedly brilliant PR move, was use the "last, best and final" language to say "see how recalcitrant this evil corporation is being? We can't work with them, we should go on strike".

    Smart move for the IBT, based on it's goals. Stupid move for UPS.

    Winners- Carey, he got to keep his job until the feds ousted him. (yes, I know he was acquitted, but he still lost his job) and, FedEx.

    Losers- UPS and UPS unionized work force. UPS lost tons of customers, many of whom have never returned, and it was 18 months before UPS was back up to pre-strike volume and staffing levels.
  19. local804

    local804 Well-Known Member

    Now do you think the Teamsters take out our money and go place on the Giants in the superbowl or do you think they use the top investors?
    I think its safe to say we can agree even while under federal oversight, the teamsters/ups have used the TOP investors for our pension money. We also can agree that NO investor is a sure money making bet and the economy/war can have an effect on anything worth a dime. Buy 10 houses on Long Island 10 years ago, sell 2 years past, and your profit would have doubled/tripled in 8 years. Now on Long Island, the builders cant even build houses due to high material costs and no one wants to or can afford housing at all. Like I said before, my pension is a UPS/TEAMSTER pension with equal UPS representitives on the board so lets split the blame.

    In regards to your solid retirement plan with age, ask the management guys with 5-10 years with the company or I think its birthday post 1972 how solid their retirement is, correct me if I am wrong please.
    You say your pension is solid, I think my 25 and out before the age of 45 is pretty sweet and everything that I have earned towards this pension can not be touched by law.
  20. 705red

    705red Browncafe Steward

    Sure the pension was a concern in 97. Just take a look at local 804 and 177 for instance they both are single employer pension funds and 804 had taken some pretty big cuts over the last 3 years.

    Lets not forget that ups were using their ptime work force to run the business and basically replace ftime jobs at ptime wages saving them money. Now look at how many more tens of thousand of ftime jobs that were created from this strike. In chicago back in the middle 90s it was a 7 to 8 year wait to go fulltime afer the strike i went with 5 years of ptime.

    If im correct the ftime driving wage was roughly $18 an hour and now 11 years later we are at $28 and change per hour. Yes we lost some customers as would happen with a strike in any unionized field. But if you compare ups's yearly profits reports from the early 90s through today ups has also benefited to the tune of 4 bilion plus a year over the last several years.

    I am a ups teamster and i honestly hope that we never see a strike again, but the union is not the only one that has any control in this. The company has just as much say in it. If we both work accordingly with the contract language and continue to bargain in good faith hopefully a strike will never happen.