UPS pleads poverty despite strong performance
By Donny Schraffenberger, steward, Teamsters Local 705 | April 12, 2002 | Page 11
CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS between United Parcel Service and the Teamsters are heating up.
UPS has had five record profit years since the last contract--and management predicts that it expects to meet or exceed its long-term historical performance levels in 2003 and 2004.
Also, UPS has recently built a new hub in the Philippines, is growing rapidly in Europe, and its nonunion logistics section, UPS Logistics, is the pride of management. UPS stock is up almost 20 percent from September 17, 2001--and JP Morgan Chase has raised its rating on UPS to "buy" from "long-term buy."
But at UPS, management is trying to paint the picture to union workers that the company is under siege from the U.S. Post Office and FedEx. They want us to think of the "interest of the company" and settle the contract in an admirable fashion, i.e., to keep the status quo.
The Teamsters are demanding a three-year contract with 3,000 new full-time jobs created nationally each year. Although wage issues have yet to be proposed by the union or the company, workers in Chicago want part-time wages to be raised to $12 an hour from $8.50.
We need to stay focused on UPS--to press the fight that we have made UPS the world's largest transportation company and demand a good contract. And if that means we must be willing to strike to get it, so be it.
That also means we must be united in our struggle. But at a recent Local 705 meeting, some members made disgustingly racist comments when it was proposed to have our contracts made available in Spanish and Polish.
And it was cowardly that Local 705 leaders, like self-described progressive Secretary-Treasurer Jerry Zero, didn't speak out against this stupid show of English-only bigotry that has poisoned the union movement far too long in this country. This stupidity only plays into the hands of management's divide-and-conquer strategy.
Meanwhile, management is trying to undermine support for strike action by whining about FedEx's nonunion workforce. Management wants us to sign a contract early, or otherwise they claim FedEx will poach business from UPS.
But unless UPS gives in to our just demands, we must be prepared to strike this blood-sucking company to get our fair share of the record-breaking profits.