Part-Timers ‘Benefit’ as Teamster Union Dons ‘Sell Them Out’?
On August 3, Huffington Post contributor Dave Jamieson posted a perceptive report on the “intense debate” among Teamster-“represented” United Parcel Service (UPS) employees regarding the then-proposed contract union bosses and the company had negotiated. If it is ratified, the contract will take effect this fall.
The Teamster-UPS deal creates a new class of “hybrid” drivers who will spend part of their work time sorting packages and the rest of it delivering them out of a truck.
Their pay will be significantly lower than that of full-time drivers, and they won’t enjoy the same limits on forced overtime.
Ken Smith, a 22-year UPS veteran driver quoted by Mr. Jamieson, is strongly opposed:
“This devalues the job of a driver. We [the best-paid hourly employees] should be pulling everyone else up, which is allegedly what unions helped do in the past.”
It’s Not Easy to ‘Convince’ Drivers Who Are ‘Getting Sold Out’ to Pay Dues Voluntarily
Another opponent of the new two-tier system for drivers quoted by Mr. Jamieson is Tyler Binder, a driver who lives in Right to Work Wisconsin.
Mr. Binder is a union activist who finds it perfectly understandable that UPS employees who aren’t full-time drivers would not want to continue bankrolling the union that helped create the new “two-tier” system.
“How am I supposed to convince these part-timers who move into this position to pay their union dues when they’re sitting here getting sold out?” he asked.
Mr. Jamieson obviously sympathizes with the rank-and-file Teamsters who charge, with ample evidence on their side, that the new contract benefits the Teamster brass and some wage earners at the expense of vast numbers of UPS’s 260,000 employees.
And the fact is, if UPS were a union-free company, executives would almost certainly never have adopted a “two-tier” system that accords a higher pay scale to and strictly limits forced overtime for a select group of drivers only.
Instead, UPS executives would have sought to cut sky-high driver overtime costs by hiring more drivers, and paying them the same as current drivers. The added nonwage cost of the new hiring could have been contained by modifying fringe benefits across the board.
But Teamster union bosses would not agree to meaningful noncash benefit changes.
As their actions demonstrate, they prefer a contract that, in Mr. Jamieson’s words, makes certain drivers “second-class within the union and potentially drive[s] down the standards for everyone over the long term.”
Shouldn’t Workers Whom Union Dons Sell Out ‘Have the Option To Not Pay Any Union Dues’?
Incredibly, despite the ample evidence it furnishes that rank-and-file employees subject to a contract negotiated by Teamster officials or other union bosses with similar values may well be harmed by its terms, Mr. Jamieson’s August 3 article repeats, near its end, this boilerplate anti-Right to Work smear:
In Right to Work states, employees “have the option to not pay any union dues, while still enjoying the benefits [sic] of a union contract”!
National Right to Work Committee Vice President John Kalb commented:
“Dave Jamieson’s uncanny and disturbing ability to comprehend exactly how union monopoly bargaining can and does help some employees by harming others, and then suddenly ‘forget’ this ever happens when he addresses the Right to Work issue, is obviously shared by many other forced-unionism apologists.
“The selective amnesia about how Big Labor’s ‘exclusive’ representation actually works displayed by forced-unionism propagandists during their recent successful bid to kill Missouri’s Right to Work law in the cradle, shows that ‘doublethink’ is still with us today.”
In the classic dystopian novel 1984, “doublethink” is defined as “the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously and accepting both of them.”
If well-informed proponents of corralling workers into unions such as Mr. Jamieson weren’t able to use doublethink, they would have to acknowledge that what they really favor is forcing employees to fork over union dues or fees for so-called “representation” that harms them economically.
Of course, the handful of provisions in federal labor law that authorize compulsory unionism as a condition of employment would then be unsustainable.
“Along with Organized Labor’s vast financial resources and manpower, doublethink is critical for the perpetuation of forced-dues privileges for union officialdom,” Mr. Kalb concluded.