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Teamsters Local 705 outmaneuvers Hoffa, wins improvements

By staff |
November 17, 2018
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Chicago, IL - Negotiations ended with a tentative five-year agreement, November 16, for the over 10,000 Chicago-area UPS workers represented by Teamsters 705. Ballots, including contract changes, will be sent out shortly for members to review and vote.

After watching the national contract be imposed, with major concessions, Local 705 found itself in a difficult position. Teamsters President James Hoffa, for political reasons, was determined to not allow Local 705 to negotiate a better contract than the U.S. national agreement.

Facing a battle with Hoffa and UPS, who were willing to fight at any cost for concessions, Local 705 was able to wait out negotiations until the busy season for UPS, when a strike would hurt the most, hoping to win gains where the national agreement fell short. As UPS dragged its heels, Local 705 revoked their contract extension so it would end just after ‘Cyber Monday.’

Local 705 was able to win major pension increases, $15 an hour for existing part-time workers, stiffer penalties for supervisors working and harassing, and more full time jobs, among dozens of other improvements, all by raising the threat of a strike and tough negotiating.

A major point of contention with the national language was a proposal to hire in 25% of all new drivers under a two-tier wage scale with less benefits and protections. While Hoffa collaborated with UPS management to get that proposal through at the national level, ultimately approving a contract through that was voted down by 54%, Local 705 Secretary Treasurer Juan Campos led a campaign to keep that contract language out of Chicago.

As Hoffa and UPS made it clear to Local 705 that Chicago would be forced to accept the two-tier drivers, Campos strategically bargained in work rules to the language that protects the original package car driver job and enhances benefits to new two-tier workers, making it the best language in the country and difficult for UPS to implement.

Teamsters are currently debating the gains and shortcomings on the internet, in the workplace, and at after-work hangouts. What is clear is that Teamsters everywhere need to come together in 2021 to kick out Hoffa and his lackeys in order to launch a national contract campaign and get ready for a strike in 2023, because UPS made it quite clear that’s what it will take to save better-paying jobs and improve life for part-timers.

In the meantime, Local 705 members will have the best UPS contract in the country because they showed what a strike threat and tough bargaining can accomplish. Local 705 members will live to fight another day and are ready to take on Hoffa and join a national movement to lift part-timers out of poverty and strike out two-tier wages for good.