We recently published a call-to-action (here) for our brothers and sisters at Sky Chefs, who are represented in Dallas-Fort Worth by UNITE HERE Local 23, although some of the company’s 11,000 workers nationwide are Teamsters in other areas.
In the video below, hear what those members recently shared with Local 767’s Kristan Turns and why they need all hands on deck.
Relative to H.R. 397, the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act aka The Butch Lewis Act, the Teamsters Department of Political and Legislation Action released the following information:
“The House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (MA-1) has formally noticed the mark-up of the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act (HR 397) for Wednesday, July 10 at 10:00am ET. Following the mark-up, the committee members will vote on this bill. This is the final step before a full floor vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. You can watch a live stream of the hearing here.
“General President Hoffa sent the attached letter to members of the committee, urging them to pass the bill out of committee. Teamster members and retirees from across the country have made their voices heard in their districts and with calls into congressional offices. This nationally coordinated effort will culminate with a rally at the capitol on Wednesday morning, hosted by the General President to keep the pressure on our congressional members to show leadership on this very important issue.”
It’s only June, but 2019 has been an incredibly busy year for Local 767. We’d like to share some highlights to bring all of our Brothers and Sisters up to speed.
Political action ensures the future of workers’ rights. Therefore, Local 767 is proud to announce we are now officially recognized as operating a PAC by the State of Texas. This spring, we had reason to celebrate after filing the necessary paperwork, recognizing Assistant Business Agent Benny Brooks as PAC Treasurer. Through this effort, our power increases significantly as a political entity amongst not just legislators but also company lobbyists who are fighting against us every day.
With over 35% of our membership now contributing to DRIVE, we wanted to have greater opportunities to address our membership’s labor needs with legislators here in Texas. Therefore, having instituted our PAC status, we also submitted the request to be listed as a “rebate local” within the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Once enacted, this fantastic program will direct a large portion of YOUR contributions toward a separate fund that can only be used to strengthen our local’s political voice pertaining to the best interests of working families and union longevity. Through our Communications Department headed up by Kristan Turns, we have already been awarded over $9,400.00 from the IBT in reimbursements for our DRIVE campaign activities–the bulk of which included our local’s first-ever DRIVE payroll reimbursement benefit for those pulled out of service.
Since generating funding cannot change the regional landscape of American labor alone, President Perrier initiated a relationship with leaders from the Texas AFL-CIO. This partnership was responsible for further educating our team and assisting us with the tedious process of navigating meetings with officials inside the Capitol, as well as introducing us to other labor organization leaders with similar goals. Earlier this year, Local 767 moved to formally affiliate with the Texas AFL-CIO. Joined by the diverse network of labor union members bonded through efforts led by the Texas AFL-CIO, our local now stands united and organized for power with over 235,000 Texas AFL-CIO members. We are also beyond pleased to announce Brother Charles Anthony’s daughter applied for and earned a college scholarship through the AFL-CIO this year, which was made possible by Local 767’s affiliation with the organization.
Educate! Organize! Mobilize! Our presence in Austin and at city hall means much more when coupled with strong voices on our shop floors. During our Weingarten Rights campaign in February and March, our local distributed over a thousand cards in English and Spanish to members at the gates. We have increased steward representation by more than 25% since January of 2019 through steward training orientations hosted by Business Agents Andrew Reddell and Bobby Jach and are currently planning our third steward training session of the year for this July. Last week Stewards Brandon Hubbard and Robert Lopez returned from IBT Organizing School, and Brother Hubbard reports:
“We need to find ways to grow, both internally and externally. As a local, we need to be making a sound effort to be involved in our community, with our local politicians, and with other community leaders. If we are invested in fighting for all workers’ rights–from Gainesville to Palestine–we will find ways to grow.”
The local has empowered members to lay the groundwork for committee involvement, and we are excited to see that develop in the near future. With a PAC in place, upcoming legislative speakers, and members slated to attend the IBT Political Coordinators Conference in Washington, D.C., next week, our Organizing and Political Education Committee will be ready to hit the ground running hard next session. According to plan, we are educating. We are organizing. We are mobilizing.
While our general membership held strong at a 16% increase last month compared to the same time last year, members of Americold experienced the largest percentage of growth overall by more than 50% since January. Additionally, over 80% of Americold members voted to ratify their new contract with 95% approval in May. The negotiating committee, comprised of business agents and shop stewards, hammered more improvements out of the company than ever before, including recognition of seniority and higher wage increases than past contracts.
Over the past six months we’ve also worked diligently to connect our members with information like never before. Local 767 purchased and published this entire website for only $300 with no monthly maintenance contract, which is 45% less expensive per year than what we were paying for the old website with very little functionality and limited access. Our members now also have multiple current social media channels and will soon benefit from a mobile app that should enable our Brothers and Sisters to: communicate with us as well as with legislators, receive instant notifications via text, push alerts, and email blasts, and view contracts, forms, and membership data as well as the capability to submit documents. Beta testing begins next week on our Teamsters Local 767 app, and we have already submitted a request to integrate this product with TITAN. On the shop floors, we have changed most of the bulletin board information at Americold, Safran, and each UPS facility (except in areas under construction), and Brother Eric King tirelessly replaced every lock to keep management from interfering with our right to communicate with you. (That was a LOT of locks; many thanks again, Eric!)
While integrating one mobile app is a major improvement, two apps are even better. Our Communication Department is also in discussion with the IBT Data and Analytics team to modernize and restructure the way we handle information, scheduling, grievances, and pretty much everything that we’d enter into a database to better serve you. Once completed, your business agents will be able to review your grievances through a secure network whether they are in the office or at a panel hearing in Florida or anywhere. Our current system offers very limited data fields and crashes frequently, making it very costly to maintain and impossible for our BAs to perform certain facets of their jobs without having the paperwork immediately present. If you’ve ever been terminated, you can probably imagine how a database application that allows your agent to instantly view your grievance and its supporting documentation can make a huge difference, lessening our need to respond “when we get back to the office.” Once implemented, this more efficient, customized CRM database will replace our outdated interface, saving time and money.
Most importantly, during the course of the past six months, you have given us the opportunity to forge lifelong friendships, brother-and-sisterhoods with our 767 family. As proud union members, we stand firmly together, lifting up and encouraging one another so that no one stands alone. As Teamsters, we create solutions that strengthen our unity, that cement our position at the bargaining table, that establish labor-friendly legislation, and that carry forward the hard-fought union legacy left to us by those who desperately struggled, even sacrificing their own lives.
As we say farewell to our first six months in office, we graciously anticipate more good things yet to come for Local 767. Brothers and Sisters, many sincere thanks for all you do every single day to build a better tomorrow within our union, our communities, our families, and on the shop floors. SOLIDARITY FOREVER.
We walked in at midnight on New Year’s Day with one goal: Serving YOU.
On the Shop Floor and at the Gates
Last month, we ordered new Weingarten Rights cards for you to carry and have been distributing those at the gates while also signing up new members, gathering Feeder surveys regarding your experiences while using the Bendix/Wingman system (in order to build steam for our anti-Peloton platooning campaign), and ensuring every member we meet fully understands we are here to assist and how s/he can reach us. Over the course of the past few weeks, we’ve largely focused on shops in the most critical need of representation, blitzing those areas repeatedly during different times of the operation to drive our point home with management: We are not backing down.
New Steward Training
On March 2nd, Business Agents Andrew Reddell and Bobby Jach hosted our first New Steward Training Seminar, targeting the areas we identified as urgently needing Union involvement. Field Agent / Communications Director Kristan Turns led an exercise and discussion in signing up new members during orientation classes and encouraging coworkers to become more involved. President Perrier and Secretary Treasurer Romo attended as well, delivering helpful tips. Congratulations to all: Ruth Rich, Eugene Garcia, Jeff Winchester, Jess Davis, Alexander Dorsey, Chris Linton, Manuel Moreno, William Hale, Elizabeth Lopez, and Recording Secretary Debbie Jennings.
Contracts, Negotiations, Meetings, and Political Updates
Americold Brothers and Sisters, round two of negotiations begins March 11th. The contract has been extended through March 31st, with a third set of meetings also scheduled prior to that date. Business Agent Andrew Reddell reminds all Americold members in those facilities to focus on reaching out to coworkers to express the importance of supporting a solid contract by becoming engaged and active.
UPS Teamsters voted on supplemental agreements yesterday. Teamsters Local 89 reported:
Today votes were counted for three of the four remaining UPS supplements.
Local 243 members in Detroit voted 88.13% no. Members in the Western PA supplement voted 96.42% no. Notably, the company actually offered a worse contract to Western PA members in this round than they did in the first vote.
Central PA members also voted no by 56.62%. Unfortunately, this was not a 2/3rds rejection and less than 50% of eligible members voted, so it is almost certain that the IBT will forcibly ratify this agreement as they have so many others.
These agreements, plus Local 804’s supplement which will be voted soon, are the last UPS agreements remaining across the country.
We support and respect our Brothers and Sisters throughout the voting and negotiation processes. Once these agreements are all ratified, UPSers can expect retroactive pay increase reimbursements dating back to August 1, 2018.
Week before last, legislative language was introduced in Austin that would allow public transportation vehicles with connected braking systems to decrease the legally afforded following distances. We are communicating with the Texas AFL-CIO and other local unions, state politicians, and the IBT about this alarming issue that could usher in Peloton’s ability to also begin platooning practices here. Last week, President Perrier and Kristan Turns met with the President of the Tarrant County AFL-CIO and staff to outline thoughts and solutions going forward. 767 Political Coordinator Scott Sexton will be addressing the matter with members before the General Membership Meeting on March 23rd in an 8:30am Organizing and Political Education Committee gathering at the hall. All interested members are encouraged to attend.
Our agents have had a very busy month between local hearings and preparations thereof, SRAPGC, Deadlock Panel, and National Panel. We have very exciting updates in those areas and will be bringing you that news shortly.
During the February meeting, we welcomed Sister Karen Berry, a longtime UPS DFW Combo, back to her Union Hall home. Karen suffered a life changing, medical setback last year and has been in recovery and rehabilitation for many months. President Perrier presented her with an embroidered blanket, and Sister Berry received a standing ovation. We love you, Karen, and are so glad to see you up and full of fight.
BAs Don Pontecorvo, Jeff Schenfeld, and Secretary Treasurer / BA Romo delivered a 25-plus-year jacket this week to our Brother Mario Rangel from UPS Dallas Package. Rangel is battling aggressive cancer at this time, and we have him heavily in our thoughts and warmly in our hearts. Please send positivity, love, and prayers to our Brother and his family. Rangel, we stand with you.
Stay Tuned. Stand Ready.
We have several opportunities in the works for members to become more involved in various committees and projects happening within our Local and alongside our labor partners that we’ll be posting about shortly. If you are not already following our social media accounts, check them out via the icons on this page (to the right on desk/laptop versions and below on mobile).
We enjoyed connecting with so many of you today, Teamsters! BAs Schenfeld and Killion conducted a shop visit at UPS McKinney where they visited with lots of drivers prior to the start of their days and surprised hardworking Steward Garfield Hooper with a set of concert tickets, thoughtfully donated by House of Blues Dallas.
Amongst topics discussed were Workers’ Comp assistance and how to properly present an 8 Hour Request Form. Awesome crew up there! Afterward, Schenfeld and Killion attended local level hearings and reviewed pending cases.
In the early pre-pre-pre-dawn hours, President Perrier and BAs Andrew Reddell and Bobby Jach left to meet with a UPS Feeder Driver in Wichita Falls, TX, at 3 am. Then they traveled to Vernon to be present when Feeders were coming and going and to catch the Pre-load and Package Car employees. Shortly after sunrise, the three quickly hopped back to Wichita Falls, where they were able to visit with that facility’s Package Car and Pre-load sort, as well. While there, BAs Reddell and Jach changed the Vernon bulletin boards in the front and back of the building so members had current information, including the URL to our new website. It’s especially important for our most rural and long distance hubs to know they have access through additional means since traveling to the Union Hall is understandably more difficult for them.
At UPS DFW, Business Agent Ben Scott sat in on local level hearings with UPS labor management (his first of the day, that is). Marine, longtime Teamster, and UPSer Brent Camp, DFW Day Air Ramp, was excited to receive the day’s second set of surprise, free concert tickets, also donated by HoB Dallas. Thanks for your hard work and decades-long service to our country, Brent. Enjoy the show!
Of course, this is just a brief snapshot of some of our shop visits, meetings, and other happenings today, but…you get the idea! If you see us at your hub, don’t be shy. Come introduce yourself, Brothers and Sisters. We are a Teamster family and we care about you.