Greetings from the Burgh, where it a been a busy day to get a sense of how workers feel about the Teamsters settlement at UPS.
Teamsters UPS Deal Leaves Out 180,000 Part-Timers
Earlier today, the Teamsters announced they had reached a “historic” tentative agreement. (The Teamsters have not released the legal language contract, but only a few highlights)
“We changed the game,” tweeted the Teamsters. “Today, the Teamsters reached the most historic tentative agreement in the history of UPS.”
The news shocked many, who expected the Teamsters Union would hold out until their contract expired on July 31st before reaching a deal. This past weekend, Teamsters President Sean O’Brien declared at a rally this weekend, “We’ve organized, strategized, now it’s time to pulverize.”
However, President Biden pressured the Teamsters to settle nearly a week before the deadline to avoid any shocks that uncertainty of the strike could cause the economy.
“Today’s announcement moves us closer to a better deal for workers that will also add to our economic momentum,” President Biden said in a statement.
Not wanting to upset the White House, the Teamster’s leadership agreed to a tentative contract, according to interviews with various people involved in the union. While the agreement contains $2.50-an-hour raises for full-time Teamsters drivers and $7.50-an-hour for Teamsters drivers with more than five years of experience.
The contract leaves over 180,000 part-timer UPS workers with no path to making full-time status or wages equivalent to what full-timers earn, maintaining a sub-category of part-time, precarious workers at UPS.
Part-time workers will start at $ 21 an hour. Only 7,500 part-time workers will be converted to full-time; less than 10,000 part-time workers converted to full-time status during the 1997 strike.
“I petitioned with [Teamsters for a Democratic Union] call for a $25/hr base wage. I’ve been telling that to my coworkers for five months.,” Chicago-based UPS part-timer Peter Lynsgo told Payday Report. “The part-time activists im plugged into are furious. I feel betrayed.”
Other part-time workers said the contract, which only guarantees part-time drivers 3.5 hours a day, does little to eliminate the problem of part-time workers being forced to work full-time hours at much lower wages.
“If I still can’t get full-time status with 24 years seniority, that’s a problem,” Virginia-based UPS part-timer Zach Callahan told Payday Report. “I’m in a precarious position because I need the 40+ hours I get, but since I’m part-time, I’m only guaranteed 3 hours a day. Now it will be 3.5, which is still weak. They can always cut my hours without notice”.
Over the next three weeks, Teamsters will vote on whether or not to approve the new contract, announcing their results in late August.
While the Teamsters hailed this tentative agreement as a “historic” victory, it’s unclear if the deal will even be able to pass.
Already, there is significant resistance to the contract among part-timers. However, given the big raises for many full-time workers, those workers may vote against the interest of part-timers.
Stay tuned as Payday continues to cover the fight for a fair contract at Teamster.
Donate to Support Honest Labor Reporting
Today, many top labor “reporters” immediately praised the tentative agreement reached by the Teamsters. Their stories featured no quotes from workers, just praise from nervous Teamsters leadership, pushing a “victory narrative” in the hopes that the tentative agreement would be passed by a workforce that was eager to strike.
Payday, though, went out and talked to workers, mainly part-time workers. We are finding very different feelings about the contract.
Yellowstone Rangers Unionize
Last year, Payday traveled to Yellowstone Park and uncovered workers being thrown out of their housing during the pandemic in 2020.
Despite this, 350 Yellowstone National Park Rangers voted to unionize this week.
“We’re thrilled that our colleagues — hard-working public servants — voted overwhelmingly in favor of unionization,” Yellowstone National Park Mark Wolf said in a written statement. “Now we have a seat at the table for our collective voice to be heard in determining our working conditions. The better our working conditions are, the better we can steward this incredible national park.”
Striking UE Members at Wabtec Target “Scab” Trucking Companies
As the strike of 1,400 Wabtec workers reaches its second month, UE union members are increasingly targeting companies breaking picket lines.
Last week, the union targeted the Avalon Hotel for housing scabs. Now, they are picketing against Barnhart Transportation, whose trucks have regularly been breaking the picket line.
“We’re taxpaying members of this community, we’re churchgoing members of the community, and we do business with all these small businesses in the community that we can’t do business with now because of the amount of time we’re spending outside of this plant on strike and without paychecks,” striking UE member Ricky Steele told Erie News Now.
SAG-AFTRA Strike Could Last till January or February
Finally, the SAG-AFTRA strike could drag on for some time.
“I wouldn’t rule out January or February,” SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director Dunch Crabtree-Ireland told the Sydney Herald-Morning. “Everyone should be working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen, but the only way that doesn’t happen is by finding a path to a fair deal.”
News & Links Elsewhere
- Southern California hotel workers strike expands to new spots
- FedEx pilots reject 30% pay hike proposal, but a strike isn’t imminent
- Winnipeg Liquor & Lottery workers continue walkout
- Union leaders worry that Democrats are not doing enough to prevent a vacancy on the National Labor Relations Board
- Steelworkers strike in Minnesota
- Israeli Doctors Go on a 24 Hour General Strike
- New York Times union says the plan to outsource sports coverage is “textbook union busting.”
Alright, yinz, that’s all for today. Keep sending ideas, comments, tips, and links to [email protected]
See Yinz tomorrow,