Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Questions answered nearly a year later: Teamsters' sell-out at UPS becomes crystal clear...

At last, the question raised last summer has been answered.

Some may recall, during the Teamsters' Las Vegas convention last summer that Teamster Boss Jimmy Hoffa announced amid much fanfare that he and his fellow comrades negotiated a "historic card-check agreement" with UPS for UPS Freight, the former company known as Overnite Transportation.

The timing was perfect for Hoffa who, at the time was facing a re-election bid against Teamsters for a Democratic Union activist Tom Leedham. Leedham's campaign to oust Hoffa ultimately

However, the Teamsters' garnering of card-check recognition for Overnite Transportation (UPS Freight) seemed to be a significant victory for Hoffa, which left many in the labor relations community wondering: What did UPS management get in exchange for selling the rights of 15,000 workers to a secret-ballot NLRB-conducted election?

Bottom-line is this: A company as large as UPS does not willingly give up its rights and the rights of its workers unless it's going to get something in exchange for it acquiescence.

Without delving into the extraordinarily lengthy history of the Teamsters' battle with the former Virginia-based carrier, suffice it to say that the three-year strike that the union conducted against Overnite was one of the biggest labor debacles in modern labor relations.

On October 24, 1999, after a long battle to unionize Virginia-based Overnite Transportation, the Teamsters union--once the most powerful union in the free world--called a "nationwide" strike against the trucking company. The strike, which the Teamsters' leadership thought would be short, quickly became a symbol of union impotence, as the besieged company chose to operate its business using replacement worker. What the Teamster bosses thought was only going to take three weeks turned into three years.

On the third anniversary of the strike, after numerous incidences of violence, vandalism and outright hooliganism, the Teamsters threw in the towel...No contract, just egg on their collective faces and a
settlement agreement with the National Labor Relations Board that the Teamsters were required to post.

In 2005, just a few short years after the Teamsters ended their strike against Overnite Transportation, shipping giant
United Parcel Service bought the carrier for $1.25 billion.

Many speculated that Overnite's union-free status would be leveraged against the Teamsters in 2008, when the Teamsters' contract with UPS expires.

Therefore, when Hoffa made his announcement that UPS had agreed to card-check in June 2006, many were stunned. The lingering question was: Why?...What did UPS gain?

Well, nearly a year later, the answer seems to have been given:

On May 10th,
the Teamsters announced that the union was in discussions to allow UPS to pull its employees out of the Teamsters' Central States Pension Fund. In their statement, the Teamsters stated:

What will capture the headlines is an offer to create a new, joint Teamsters-Company pension plan to cover full-time UPS employees who currently obtain their pension benefits from the Central States Fund....

The current proposal would create a plan jointly administered by UPS and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters with an equal number of Teamster-appointed and Company trustees....

The Company proposes to pay in a lump sum the withdrawal liability owed to the Central States pension fund, an amount subject to negotiation between the Company and that Fund. The Company contends that depositing a large amount of money into the Fund will improve its stability and protect the Fund from some of the requirements of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, which will go into effect in 2008.

Alas, the question is answered.

The trade-off of giving card-check at UPS Freight (formerly Overnite) to the Teamsters seems to be the union's willingness to let UPS out of the Central States Pension Fund, which is around
$15 to &16 billion underfunded.

Since much of the liabilities comes from the fact that so many unionized trucking companies have gone out of business, for its part, UPS has offered to pay $4 billion to get its people out of the plan.

Such a move would be a boon to both UPS and its Teamster-represented workers, but it could spell disaster for the Teamsters who remain in the CSPF....And, ultimately, it may prove to be a disaster to the American taxpayer if we all wind up bearing the brunt of another defunct pension plan.

Whether or not UPS does ultimately pull its workers out of the Teamsters' pension plan remains unknown. However, the mere fact that the Teamster brass are talking about it right now seems to be a clear sign of the pay-back UPS management got in exchange for giving up UPS Freight employees' rights.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Union Organizers' Dirty Tricks: All that is wrong with EFCA found in a single charge...

Any honest discussion about the moronically Orwellian-named Employee Free Choice Act amongst this nation's Congressional leaders should include this...

  • Harrassing and intimidating employees at their homes to secure signatures on purported union authorization cards;
  • Misrepresenting to employees the meaning of union authorization cards in an attempt to have employees sign union authorization cards;
  • Misrepresenting to employees at their homes that the union represented Total Health Home Care and that the union authorization cards were paperwork the Employer authorized the employees to sign;
  • Threatening employees using racial intimidation, stating in public that Total Health Home Care is white, that employees are black, and if they did not join the union they were black and stupid;
  • Threatening employees that if they did not sign union authorization cards, the union would use their social security numbers as signatures;
  • Preventing employees at their homes from going to work until they signed union authorization cards;
  • Making employees sign a union authorization card as an entry fee into a union-sponsored organizing event;
  • Asking whomever answered the door at the employees' homes to sign a union authorization card on behalf of the employee;
  • Taxiing employees to regional transportation terminals in return for signing union authorization card.

If one piece of paper could convince the morons in Congress who are supporting EFCA that union organizers will stop at nothing to get authorization cards signed, it should be this, an unfair labor practice charge filed against Service Employees International Union, 1199P. Courtesy of our friends that "The Institute."

Friday, May 11, 2007

UAW Hits Brick Wall at Trump Marina

Ignoring the havoc it has wreaked upon the US auto industry, some months ago, the UAW (Union of Ailing Workplaces) rode into Atlantic City like an invading army of Vandals attempting taking over the New Jersey town.

After overtaking the dealers at Caesars Palace and Trump Plaza (with the potentially unlawful interference of US Congressmen Robert Andrews), the UAW hit a brick wall on Friday night, losing an NLRB secret-ballot election 183-175 at Trump Marina.

Perhaps thinking that the AC dealers would continue blindly following its rhetoric, the UAW's onslaught of the City was dealt a serious blow.

While the union continues its attempt to replenish its depleted coffers from the income of Atlantic City's dealers (to the tune about $3,000,000 in dues per year), the dealers at Trump Marina will be spared the aggravation of dealing with the failure that the UAW has become.

The Left & Their Lies...

There they go again! Whether you call it a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts, a fib, a lie, or just plain old Left-Wing Propaganda...the Progressives** are once again not telling the truth!

In today's People's Weekly World, as well as on the International Labor Communications Association website, under the heading "NLRB opens new attack on unions" the writers blatantly misrepresented a recent National Labor Relations Board decision as opening "the way for decertification of unions even before the first contract negotiated by a union and approved by the workers takes effect."

As our interest was piqued when we saw this wild assertion, we quickly investigated and realized these left-wing dolts don't know what they're talking about...and clearly, don't know the difference between a decertification election and a deauthorization election.

Here's the REAL scoop:

Back in October, 2005, a company called Convenant Aviation Security agreed to deny their employees the right to a secret ballot election and agreed to recognize SEIU 790 through the often coercive card-check process. The union gained recognition by getting 55% of the 1,010 employees to sign union authorization cards.

In December 2005, the Company and union reached a first contract and the union had the contract ratified with a vote of 378-229 (or 37% of the total bargaining unit).

The contract contained a Union Security Clause, also known as a forced dues clause or "union income security clause," which forces employees to pay dues to the union or be fired from their job.

A number of employees signed a petition seeking to remove the union security clause from the contract. The legal question that arose was whether the signatures gathered were valid, since a majority were gathered before the union had gotten its contract.

After the San Francisco region of the NLRB denied workers their right to vote on deauthorizing the union income security clause, they appealed to the NLRB in Washington. Nearly a year and a half later, the NLRB ruled:

After carefully considering the language of Section 9(e)(1), the legislative history behind that statutory provision, and Board law governing deauthorization elections, we believe that requiring the signatures underlying the showing of interest to postdate the effective union-security provision here would unjustly impede the right of employees to deauthorize a union shop

That's it...

No decertification...Just workers getting the right to choose whether or not their union should get the right to get them fired for refusing to pay the union.

End of story...

In the meantime, however, the wacky "progressive" writers at People's Weekly World, as well as International Labor Communications Association are either deliberately misleading readers or are too stupid to check the facts before writing their story.

In either case, it would appear that giving workers the right to choose where their money goes is somehow "anti-labor" as the PPW writer stated in his piece.

** Editor's note: the term "progressives" can literally be read as socialists, anarchists, leftists, communists, Democrats, Liberals, or whatever other moniker they choose to call themselves these days--and it often changes daily and by audience.

Sunday, May 6, 2007


Flying under the radar in recent weeks has been the Democrats' introduction of the Re-Empowerment of Skilled and Professional Employees and Construction Trade Workers ("RESPECT") Act on March 22nd.

As is usually the case, Big Labor Bosses are attempting to tilt an issue in their favor at the expense of the average worker and, if successful, could effectively drag 8 million more workers into unions and take their money.

Introduced as payback to the Big Labor Bosses' $100 million investment in the current US Congress, RESPECT's purpose is to not only to overturn the NLRB's Oakwood Decisions, also known as the Kentucky River csases, it is also to dramatically rewrite the National Labor Relations Act and eviscerate the definition of supervisor.

The NLRB's September announcement on the Oakwood/Kentucky River cases spawned large union-sponsored protests before, during and after the decisions were actually issued.

For those who know little about it, here's the background:

For the past 70+ years, the National Labor Relations Act has defined a supervisor, as follows:
The term "supervisor" means any individual having authority, in the interest of the employer, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay-off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other employees, or responsibly to direct them, or to adjust their grievances or effectively to recommend such action, if in connection with the foregoing the exercise of such authority is not of a merely routine or clerical nature, but requires the use of independent judgment.

However, unions have a problem with the current definition as it limits the amount of people (and money) unions can sink their talons into. Therefore, Big Labor Bosses and their congressional minions have proposed to eviscerate the role of a supervisor in order to unionize them by altering the NLRA's definition of supervisor, as follows:
(1) delete "assign;" (2) delete "responsibly to direct;" (3) and require that
the individual spend the majority of his or her time performing the remaining
supervisory functions in Section 2(11) in order to be classified as a
[For an excellent review of the subject, check out Littler Mendelson's article The RESPECT Act: A Bad Law With A Snappy Acronym Is Still A Bad Law]

Through it all, one thing that seems to be missing from the dialogue on both sides of the issue:

The average rank-and-file union worker.

Though laughable in practice, in theory, unions are supposed to protect workers from "the boss."

However, if the "boss" is person who directs, controls and assigns my work on a day-to-day basis and he mistreats me, who do I go to if the boss is in the same union as I am?

The same union that my boss' dues? Hmmm....Could be a problem there, right? Perhaps a Conflict of Interest???

If I raise an issue with my shop steward regarding my "boss" (who's paying dues just like I am--and possibly more), how is the shop steward going to serve two masters?

Ever hear the term retaliation? [The next day at work is going to be a living hell.]

Oh yeah. There's also the problem that I, as a union member, might have with raising an issue with the union about another union member( the boss)--never mind that he's my boss and I'm supposed to be paying protection money to the union to protect me from such mistreatment.

The whole concept of "wronging a fellow member" is punishable by trial in most unions.

So, if I bring up an issue to the union against another member, I can be placed on trial and, if found guilty, be fined, suspended, or expelled from the union (which could cost me my job in a non-Right-to-Work state) boss and fellow union member probably won't give a rip anyway.

Not surprisingly, it appears the RESPECT act is less about respect and more about dues.