UPS Has 260,000 Union Workers and They’ve Just Authorized a Strike

By BloombergJune 6, 2018
United Parcel Service (ups) workers authorized their union to call what would be the first strike since 1997, giving negotiators more leverage in talks to replace a labor contract that expires at the end of July.

Of the workers from the package unit who voted, 93% favored the authorization and 91% of UPS freight employees agreed to the measure, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced on a webcast. The rate of voter participation wasn’t provided. A strike authorization is common during negotiations to put pressure on the company, said UPS spokesman Glenn Zaccara. Even with that, the union can’t go on strike until after the current contract expires on July 31.

“UPS is confident in our ability to reach an agreement that meets the needs of our employees and the business,” Zaccara said.  The labor talks are proceeding amid discussions on pay and work schedules, as UPS looks to increase warehouse automation to keep up with surging demand from e-commerce shipments. The union has proposed increasing the part-time starting wage as well as improving the overall pay structure, according to a statement on its website. It’s also pushing the courier to increase contributions to health and welfare and pension funds.

Union leaders urged support for strike authorization in a letter dated May 15 and signed by James P. Hoffa, general president of the Teamsters, and Denis Taylor, co-chair of the union’s UPS National Negotiating Committee. The last time negotiations broke down was in 1997 when drivers went on strike for less than three weeks before terms were reached.

“Nobody wants a strike. It hurts the company and it hurts members,” they said in the letter. “However, the ability to strike is necessary in order to ensure a timely and positive conclusion to negotiations. We have to show that we’re not afraid of striking.”

Deal Prospects
UPS declined 0.1% to $116.81 in New York. The shares have lost 2% this year, compared with the 1.1% decline of a Standard & Poor’s index of industrial companies and an advance of almost 1% for FedEx Corp.

Voting began in the middle of last month and concluded June 3. About 260,000 UPS workers are employed under a national master agreement with the union, the company said.

UPS and the Teamsters already have reached tentative agreements on a “wide variety of non-economic issues,” Zaccara said.

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Trump Signs Orders Cracking Down on Federal Workers’ Unions

ByToluse Olorunnipa
andJosh Eidelson
May 25, 2018, 4:30 PM EDT Updated on May 25, 2018, 7:55 PM EDT
Order limits time spent on union duties, charges unions rent
Follows wave of GOP-backed state laws limiting public unions
President Donald Trump signed executive orders restricting the activities of unions that represent many of the U.S. government’s 2.1 million employees, the White House said.  One of the three orders signed on Friday limits the amount of official time federal employees can spend on union duties to no more than 25 percent. It also requires the federal government to start charging union members rent for using space in federal buildings, to stop paying employees for the cost of lobbying the federal government, and to more aggressively negotiate union contracts.

Trump’s move to curtail the activities of federal unions follows a wave of laws signed by Republican governors over the past decade restricting public-sector collective bargaining and weakening government unions — moves that conservatives see as helpful in shrinking government and undermining political foes.

The nation’s largest federal employee union, the American Federation of Government Employees, endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president in the 2016 contest with Trump.

Democracy Busting’
“This is more than union busting — it’s democracy busting,” AFGE President J. David Cox said in a statement. “These executive orders are a direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress has specifically guaranteed to the 2 million public-sector employees across the country who work for the federal government.”

James Price, government employees director for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said that union officials use work hours to address important employee concerns. The practice is known as “official time.”

“The official time is specifically used for representation of our people — like for dealing with sexual harassment cases, racial discrimination, retaliation against an employee that’s a whistle-blower, health and safety, reasonable accommodations for employees that have disabilities,” Price said. His union represents about 120,000 federal employees.

Since entering office, Trump has made high-profile overtures to private-sector union leaders and members. He’s shown less interest in winning over their public-sector counterparts. One notable exception is the union representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement staff.

Among Trump’s most consequential moves for the future of organized labor was his appointment to the Supreme Court of Justice Neil Gorsuch, who is expected to vote with the court’s conservative majority next month to ban public sector union fees, making the entire public sector “right-to-work.”

Performance Reviews
Another of the executive orders Trump signed instructs the Office of Personnel Management to update regulations to shorten the length of performance improvement periods, during which a problem worker cannot be fired, to 30 days across all agencies.

Such periods, which allow workers an opportunity to improve their performance and keep their jobs, currently last from 60 to 120 days, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters ahead of the announcement.

“These executive orders will make it easier for agencies to remove poor-performing employees, and ensure that taxpayer dollars are more efficiently used,” White House Domestic Policy Council Director Andrew Bremberg told reporters on a conference call.

During his State of the Union address earlier this year, Trump called on Congress to pass legislation that would give the executive branch more authority to quickly remove workers. No such legislation has been passed, and a senior administration official said that Trump signed the orders in part to achieve a similar aim.

The Trump administration has already begun hard bargaining with federal workers. In March, the Department of Education unilaterally imposed a collective bargaining agreement on its nearly 4,000 employees, saying that the union had waived its right to bargain by failing to provide timely responses. The union, an AFGE affiliate, has filed a complaint with the Federal Labor Relations Authority, accusing the department’s management of failing to bargain in good faith.

Later on Friday, Trump issued another executive order exempting certain contract workers on federal lands from an order his predecessor, Barack Obama, issued requiring their companies to pay them at least $10.35 an hour. Trump’s new order would apply to seasonal workers such as tour guides, except those providing lodging and food services.

The order states that seasonal recreational workers “have irregular work schedules, a high incidence of overtime pay, and an unusually high turnover rate,” and that the $10.35 requirement thus would “generally entail large negative effects” on the number of hours they work and raise costs at U.S national parks.

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Postal worker sexually assaulted on the job

May 21, 2018

MILWAUKEE — A United States Postal Service worker was attacked while delivering mail in a Milwaukee neighborhood. It happened earlier this month, May 5 near 77th and Hampton.

During a Saturday afternoon of grilling out in the backyard, Dave Wetzel witnessed what appeared to be a harmless interaction between a man and the female postal worker who was delivering mail in the neighborhood.

“Looked as though he was handing her some mail that went to the wrong address or something and then she ran around and got into her van and took off. We didn’t think nothing of it,” Wetzel said.

Prosecutors say 48-year-old Anthony Little approached the victim and offered her $500 “to have sex.” When she refused, Little pushed her up against the door of her vehicle and pressed his body onto hers. As she broke free and ran away, Little chased her twice around the vehicle until she was able to get inside and locked the door.

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UPS, UPS Freight Strike-Authorization Vote Timeline

UPS and UPS Freight Teamsters will vote soon to consider giving their respective negotiating committees the right to call a strike, if necessary.

The vote will be conducted by secret ballot as UPS and UPS Freight contract votes have been done in the past, but this time UPS and UPS Freight Teamsters will be using the telephone and Internet through the BallotPoint Election Services voting system.
All members will receive a standard ballot packet in the mail. But instead of a paper ballot that needs to be mailed, each member will receive an individual access code and simple instructions on how to use the access code to vote by telephone or internet.
This ballot process will be conducted by BallotPoint, an election services provider which has specialized in electronic balloting and polling since 1999. Their system is secure and protects the secrecy of each member’s vote. In other words, no one will know how you voted!
The Teamsters Union has used BallotPoint extensively over the past three years to conduct contract ratifications. All of the ratifications were conducted without incident or challenges.
Regarding the upcoming strike-authorization vote, here is the timeline:
Balloting Information to be mailed on or about Tuesday, May 15
All members should receive their ballot by Monday, May 21
Local Unions can begin submitting forms on the members behalf to the Package Division requesting to be re-credentialed on Tuesday, May 22
For Local Unions submitting forms on behalf of members to be re-credentialed, the DEADLINE is Friday, June 1 Noon Eastern Time
Votes are due by 8 p.m. Eastern Sunday, June 3
Deadline to submit challenges is Monday, June 4 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time
The vote count is at 8 p.m. Eastern, Tuesday, June 5
Click the links to read the strike-vote materials being mailed to UPS members and UPS Freight members.
Sign up for the UPS Rising app where you can find the current UPS contract, along with all the UPS contract updates and other news. Visit the UPS Rising Facebook page where members can see the latest updates.
Or go to www.upsrising.org to see all the UPS Rising news. Text “UPS” to 86466 to receive text message alerts (message and data rates may apply).

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