Local 767 Wins Two Major Arbitration Cases Against UPS

Teamsters Fight Back & Win Against UPS Attacks on Grievance Filers
Sister Marie Torres is going back to work. The Waco, Texas UPS package car driver has just been reinstated with full back pay, benefits and seniority.

And she’s not alone.

Brother Muhammed Farhan, a part-timer who was discharged in April of 2016, also got his job back at the UPS Dallas center. Torres and Farhan are members of Teamsters Local 767 in Ft. Worth, Texas and they both filed grievances against UPS for wrongful termination.

What makes the stories of Sister Torres and Brother Farhan so similar – and disturbing – is that their terminations were clearly an attempt by the company to crackdown on union activity and the grievance process.

“These are both significant victories for our UPS members and, frankly, for UPS Teamsters nationwide,” said John Shorts, President of Local 767. “By discharging our sister and brother in these two cases, it was clearly the intent of the company to create a chilling effect among our members who file grievances in accordance with their rights in the National Master Agreement.”

Both Sister Torres and Brother Farhan were discharged for alleged dishonesty. But the only thing dishonest that the arbitrator found was management’s agenda against Teamsters who file legitimate grievances.

Demanding Due Process
Sister Torres, a 21-year UPS employee, was fired in 2015. Local 767 Business Agent, Brother Chris Gourley, helped her file a grievance and eventually brought the case to arbitration. While UPS cited Article 52 in arguing that she was fired for dishonesty, the union proved that the company’s baseless accusations were in fact related to her union activity, including supervisor-working grievances she had filed.

“This is not just a victory for me, it’s for all of us,” she said. “Thanks to the membership and the dues we pay, the process works and we were able to win this case.”

Sister Torres’ case is a reminder of how arduous the arbitration process can be. Local 767 remained steadfast in fighting for her until she got her job back with full back pay along with all the benefits and seniority she would have accrued since her December 2015 termination.

Brother Farhan, a 15-year part-time UPS employee, was similarly discharged in 2016. The company cited Article 52 and accused him of filing dishonest supervisor-working grievances.

UPS also said Brother Farhan lied during a management-run investigative meeting. He was subsequently discharged and filed a grievance. Local 767 Business Agent, Brother Ray Bell, fought the case all the way through arbitration.

The company produced a number of witnesses to make statements that Brother Farhan lied about the facts in the grievances he filed. Union steward Sister Veronica Mangrum testified that at least one of those witnesses was coached by management before making a statement.

“What became clear in Brother Farhan’s case was that the company was singling him out for what it saw as a high volume of grievance filing at the Dallas facility,” said Sister Courtney Shorts, a Local 767 business agent and attorney who, along with outside counsel Rod Tanner, presented Brother Farhan’s case to the arbitrator.

“Unfortunately the company’s actions have had the intended effect of reducing the number of grievances filed – people were scared because they saw what happened to Brother Farhan,” Bell added.

Before even looking at the merits of the case against Brother Farhan, the arbitrator took issue with the company’s procedures in investigating and terminating him.

UPS Labor Manager Sergio Castro essentially played the role of judge, jury and executioner. He was listed as the company officer filing charges against Brother Farhan as well as the lead officer gathering evidence, witnesses, determining culpability, and accessing discipline.

“The evidence of record did not reveal that the grievant was provided a full opportunity to tell his side of the story or to make his case – to include questioning his accusers – prior to the decision to assess the discipline. The investigation by the company did not even approach the usual standards of investigatory proceedings that require a thorough, fair and impartial investigation,” the arbitrator wrote in his decision.

Thanks to Local 767, Brother Farhan will have all discipline expunged from his record. And like Sister Torres, he will be reinstated with back pay, seniority and any other fringe benefits he would have earned during the time he was out of work. The company will also be reimbursing Brother Farhan for out-of-pocket medical expenses he incurred during that period.

“I’ve never lied on my grievances and I never asked anyone to lie,” Brother Farhan said. “I believe that when supervisors steal our work it hurts my colleagues as well as me. It’s not fair.”

The victory in Brother Farhan’s case is especially significant as it addresses two common problems at UPS: retaliation for protected union activity as well as violations of due process and ‘Just Cause’ in discharge cases.

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Teamsters retirees to meet with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin over failing pensions

July 07, 2017 5:50 PM
By Mark Davis  mdavis@kcstar.com
A group of 25 Teamsters pensioners, including three from Missouri and Kansas, will meet Tuesday in Washington with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about failing pension plans.

Each comes from committees created to fight a proposal last year to slash current retirees’ checks, some by more than half, in an effort to rescue the failing Central States Pension Fund. The effort succeeded in May 2016 when Kenneth Feinberg, a special master appointed by the Treasury, rejected the cuts.

It also left the Central States fund facing failure, along with other critically underfunded and declining multiemployer pension plans.

“We have several solutions that people have come up with,” said Cynthia McDaniel, a director of the Missouri-Kansas City Committee to Protect Pensions who will speak about them at the meeting with Mnuchin. “We don’t want bailouts. We want solutions, and I believe we will find one.”

Tom Schwarzenberger, also with the Missouri-Kansas City committee, will attend the session.

Tuesday’s meeting stemmed in part from a commitment Mnuchin had made to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill during his confirmation hearing in January.

McDaniel said regional and national committee members have been pressing members of Congress for action on faltering multiemployer pension plans and the strained Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. that backs their benefits. She said U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver and McCaskill have fought for them.

“She has been a powerful force in this, and this has happened because of her,” McDaniel said of the meeting with Mnuchin.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/business/workplace/article160206364.html#storylink=cpy

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Teamsters Local 25 Wins Arbitration Case Against UPS


Arbitrator Awards Back Pay for Injured Package Driver

On April 12, an arbitrator ruled in favor of Teamsters Local 25 in a case involving a UPS package driver who was injured and not permitted to work despite being released by his doctor. The arbitrator found UPS in violation of Article 20, Sections 2 and 3 of the National Master Agreement and awarded retroactive pay for John Perry, the driver involved in the case.

“This is a significant decision by the arbitrator because it addresses an issue that many of our locals have encountered when it comes to injured UPS members,” said Sean O’Brien, Director of the Teamsters Package Division and President of Local 25 in Boston.

Perry, a package delivery driver, injured his shoulder while lifting a heavy garage door in late 2014. He was on a Workers’ Comp leave of absence and, after physical therapy did not improve the injury, his shoulder was operated on in April 2015.

A few months later, Perry’s doctor cleared him to return to work without restriction. But instead of allowing him to work, UPS referred him to another healthcare provider. Following a medical examination, the health specialist found no specific reason that Perry could not perform his job duties. Nevertheless, the specialist said that more information was needed.

After being told he had to submit to yet another evaluation, Perry consulted with Local 25.

“We contacted the company and requested an impartial examination as per Article 20, Section 3 of the agreement,” O’Brien said, referring to the agreed-upon procedure when the company and union doctor disagree about an employee’s ability to return to work.

But UPS refused to agree to the third-party evaluation, so Local 25 filed a grievance on Perry’s behalf which went to arbitration. Prior to the arbitration it was determined that Perry could return to work, but he went for nearly six months without working after he was initially told by his doctor that he could resume work.

“Article 20, Sections 2 and 3 of the parties’ National Master United Parcel Service Agreement sets forth a clear and unambiguous process for an employee who has been released by his/her doctor to return to work,” Arbitrator Mark M. Grossman wrote in his decision. “The contract simply does not give the company more than three days to examine the grievant.”

He added that UPS violated the contract by not allowing Perry to return to work after his doctor released him and refusing to proceed to a third doctor.

The arbitrator ordered UPS to pay Perry retroactively, covering the period from when his doctor released him to work to when he was actually permitted by the company to return to work.

“After fighting the company on this issue for quite some time, we are pleased that we were finally able to get this Teamster brother what he was owed. This case clearly establishes that there is no wiggle room for UPS when it comes to its obligations and the rights of injured employees returning to work,” O’Brien said.

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