Comrade Anklebiter wrote:Did I miss it? Why was the International mediating instead of being on the side of the members?
More commie commentary:
Well, I'm not absolutely certain that him mediating wasn't being on the side of the workers, but, quick recap:
Last year (the year before?) there was a three-way race for the top spot in the Teamsters--the incumbent, James Hoffa, Jr.; a breakaway from the Hoffa machine, Fred Gregaire; and the candidate of the Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU--rank-and-file reform caucus), Sandy Pope.
Hoffa won hands down, and promptly began negotiating a new contract with UPS. The latter started with the scare tactic that they were going to ask for substantial concessions in paying for health care (up to $90/week), but this was understood by almost all observers as nothing more than a scare tactic. The union stepped forward and proposed to take UPS Teamster bargaining-unit members who were currently in a company-run insurance plan and bring them into a union-run insurance-plan.
This didn't affect employees in the New England region and the Southern region because we were already enrolled in a union plan, but, apparently, there were increases in co-pays and deductibles in other plans that, rightfully imho, the members didn't want to pay while UPS is raking in $4 billion+ in profits every year.
So, when the national contract was put up to vote, back in August, it narrowly passed because it was solidly backed by the two non-affected regions; but something like a dozen regional supplements were voted down. This means that the national contract was passed, but it hasn't gone into effect, meaning that I've been waiting 7 months for my raise!!! But more importantly than that, there's been 7 months of the company and the union renegotiating the regional supplements and then, usually, the membership voting them down. The Hoffa machine (which includes my local leadership, I'm afraid) have spent a lot of time bad-mouthing the TDU-inspired "Vote No!" campaign, but I have to say, each time they vote "no," the company makes further concessions, so I can't say I blame them. Also, if it keeps up long enough, I'll get two raises at the same time and a retroactive check for all the hours that I worked this past contractual year. (Huzzah!)
Anyway, point being, the rank-and-file at UPS, even those unaffected by the health insurance changes (I don't know whether Queens is or not) are pissed off and even though Hoffa probably isn't pleased with locals wildcatting, he probably was pressured from below to send VP and head of the Package Division (which is UPS), Ken Hall, to NY.
I don't know if that helps any. I'm not a huge fan of TDU, but they've got a decent website that has both a UPS and a Hoffawatch section. Hope that helps.