From the capitol to the capital: a week in review

Last week we put our words into action, joining forces with the Texas AFL-CIO at the Texas State Capitol. Thanks to President Rick Levy and his lege-savvy, incredibly helpful staff, we were able to voice our concerns regarding Peloton’s platooning project to many legislators. At this time, Peloton is unable to legally operate on Texas roads due to current following distance laws. However, we are watchful of any pending legislation to alter that language. Stay tuned for ways you can help in the next phase of this battle.

Take a look through the gallery from our visit and see if you can find your representative:

And these are just a few of the photos we captured for you! Our representatives also visited the hardworking staff for: Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, Rep. Ramon Romero, Jr., Rep. Yvonne Davis, and Rep. Nicole Collier. Senator Bryan Hughes was kind to meet with us, as well, on his way to another meeting. Again, many thanks to our friends at the Texas AFL-CIO for facilitating, navigating, and mentoring our group.

As some of us focused on legislative action, business agents at the Local prepared for this week’s SRAPGC, attended various meetings, and conducted shop visits. Lots of them. BA LaQuanda Chatman reported ongoing issues with supervisors working, which is a major concern across the board and at every hub. In the past week, every agent, along with President Perrier, has been on UPS property, speaking with members and surveilling issues during work operations.

As you can see, we’ve also started new member registration drives, which we’ll be holding regularly along with implementing and continuing new-hire orientation programs led by stewards and our internal organizing unit. This month during the drives, we’ll be distributing your new, laminated Weingarten Rights cards that were discussed at the last General Membership Meeting. If you’d like to pick one up in person without having to wait for a shop visit, feel free to stop by the hall or grab one at the February 23rd monthly meeting.

On the Americold front, Business Agent Andrew Reddell says phase two of contract negotiations resume on February 14, 15, and 18.

One of the areas in which we’d like to serve our membership more effectively is to work together to positively impact our communities. Be looking for announcements for various committees and ways in which YOU are needed in the near future. We’ll be beginning this program by reinstating the Women’s Committee, which has done some fantastic charitable work in the past. If you’re interested in learning more, contact Kristan Turns at: kturns@local767.com. If you have ideas or input, drop Kristan a line for sure. All are welcome!

On Monday, officers from our Executive Board flew to Washington, D.C., to attend training and educational courses at the IBT. President Perrier reported that, although ongoing, the team is learning about important topics and enjoying hearing about the detailed history of our great Teamsters Union. He’s bringing back some new ideas and information to share with all. Check out some of the photos he’s sent:

We hope you’re all having a great week out there and are staying dry and warm. For daily updates, be sure to check out our social media accounts (the icons to the right, under the headers of each page, will take you straight to our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube).

The Problem with Peloton

It’s not just about UPS Feeders. It’s about every motorist on the road.

Peloton Platooning technology is an electronic tethering concept United Parcel Service and other trucking transportation companies have expressed intent upon incorporating in the future. If you’re unfamiliar, take a look at Peloton’s promo video below.

“UPS wants to implement this plan to save fuel,” says Teamsters Local Union 767 President Brian Perrier, “but it’s really just one step closer to driverless trucks.”

Peloton’s top investors readily agree. Intel Capital’s Automated Driving Divison Vice President, Kathy Winter, characterizes Peloton’s technology as “a key element on the path to fully autonomous driving,” while Omnitracs CEO, John Graham, claims, “We want to expand the possibilities of truck automation on the nation’s highways.” Not surprising, United Parcel Service has invested many millions of dollars into Peloton.

Highway safety and labor advocates in Texas have pointed toward legislation that is prohibitive of Peloton’s program. The Texas AFL-CIO and the Teamsters have taken the position this legislative language must remain unchanged by UPS’s lobbyists in order to further protect the lives of all motorists.

Safety is always the most important factor. UPS Feeder Drivers and Teamsters 767 Business Agents Bobby Jach and Andrew Reddell have reviewed the specs associated with the Peloton plan: “This goes against everything UPS drivers are trained to do. The following distance maintained during platooning is unsafe.” Jach, a UPS Circle of Honor driver agrees, “It’s incredibly dangerous, but that’s just the beginning of the problems we foresee with Peloton.”

At the Teamsters Local 767 General Membership meeting over the weekend, many truck drivers expressed concern about existing issues with other Wingman (Bendix) technology already in use. UPS Driver James Pushala explained, “With the technology these tractors have, if somebody gets too close or cuts you off, it doesn’t slow down nice and easy. It actually jams on the brake, noses over, and you noticeably feel it. It’s not safe. Peloton will not work.” Other senior drivers quickly added, “It’ll throw your co-driver out of the bunk,” and, “It’s a big safety issue. No warnings whatsoever.”

With drivers already battling against the current, less-automated systems that frequently malfunction and cause other concerns, we cannot allow UPS and other companies to create an even more hazardous environment on our Texas highways.

If you’re a 767 Feeder Driver, we’d like to hear about your experiences using the current Wingman (Bendix) system: (a) Have you driven one of these tractors?; (b) Have you experienced a malfunction? Please email your responses to: teamsters@teamsters767.com along with your name and phone number.