As a long-time UPS employee, I’ve learned that employees’ opinions about our “union” are all over the map. A lot of people love the Teamsters, and a lot of people hate’em.
There are also a lot of employees, particularly, new hires, who don’t have an opinion. Many are scarcely aware the Teamsters exist, a fact that speaks volumes.
It really isn’t hard to figure out what the Teamsters are all about. Simple observation and logic are your friends.
For example, have you ever checked out the Teamsters’ website(s)? Do they feature lots of useful, helpful information? Do they say anything about union transparency? In other words, do they have detailed information about union officials? Do they preserve a record of past elections and contract votes?
The answer to all those questions is HELL NO.
The last time I checked, we were living in the 21st century. How hard could it be for the Teamsters to create a simple web page titled “10 Top Tips for New Hires”? Rather than leaving new hires to thumb through the contract, trying to figure things out, they could choose ten of the most common issues and offer some simple advice. How long do you have to work before you get medical benefits? How long do you have to work before you get union protection? Did you know that, if a supervisor tells you to clock out after working two hours, you can get paid for 3.5 hours?
I was stunned when I asked a shop steward a question about that, and discovered he wasn’t even aware of that rule!
Most UPS employees don’t have a clue about union elections or contract votes until the last minute. The Reamsters may hit us with a sudden letter or e-mail advising us that there’s an election or contract vote, but they have little to say about it. After that, there’s generally little more than silence. After the contract has been ratified, the Teamsters naturally endorse it. They often describe it as “the best” contract ever. Every contract is the best—at least until employees vote NO.
There was a creepy supervisor in my building who turned out to be an ex-cop, serial rapist, and double murder suspect. The Teamsters did absolutely nothing. They didn’t alert employees to the problem. They never lifted a finger to help the multiple women who were being harassed by the creep. They did nothing.
As I write this, there’s talk about a possible strike over the 2023 UPS contract. I began hearing rumors about the strike a few months ago, and the rumors were all over the map. Some people said the strike was a done deal, other said it was just a possibility. What was the strike about? Some said it had something to do with the contract. Others said it was about automation. Still others didn’t know.
Not until the media began publishing articles did I really get the big picture.
So why do the Teamsters have such a major problem with communications? Do they speak a foreign language? Can they not afford to hire a person who knows how to make a web page?
Inquiring minds want to know . . .