Chicago Local 705 mounted a credible a strike threat—twice—to win new full-time jobs and contract gains for 10,000 Teamsters at UPS.
Chicago Local 705 Teamsters are proud of their local’s independence and power. The 10,000 UPS Teamsters in Local 705 are covered by a separate agreement from the national UPS contract.
Twice over the past year, Local 705 used strike threats against UPS to deliver gains for working Teamsters.
The first strike threat brought a multi-year campaign against supervisors working to a victorious conclusion.
Over a three-year period, Local 705 business agents and shop stewards won a total of 4,000 to 5,000 grievances—including 700-plus grievance settlements where the company agreed to cease and desist from having supervisors work.
The Local 705 contract gives the local the right to strike if UPS does not comply with grievance resolutions.
When supervisors continued to work despite the “cease and desist” agreements, Local 705 smacked UPS with a 72-hour notice that the union would strike UPS for its failure to abide by grievance decisions. The strike threat brought the company to the table to seriously negotiate the creation of additional jobs.
As a result, Local 705 forced UPS to create new package car and part-time jobs and to curb future supervisors working violations.
Contract Talks Go to the Wire
The second strike threat came before Aug. 1, 2008, the day of the expiration of Local 705’s contract with UPS. Local 705 did not settle early when the International Union did but used the contract expiration deadline to maximize their bargaining leverage.
The local printed up T-shirts that said, “August 1, We’re Done.”
More than three thousand Local 705 members turned out to the union hall to participate in a vote to authorize a strike against UPS. Five hundred members were lined up at 9:00 a.m. when the doors opened to start the voting. Balloting continued until 5 p.m.
Members voted to authorize a strike should one be necessary by an overwhelming margin of 2,993 to 232.
The union bargained down to the wire, negotiating to the last day before expiration. Management was forced to start diverting packages away from Chicago, and major shippers were near to canceling shipping contracts.
The union also put nearly 200 deadlocked grievances on the table, to end management stonewalling.
On the last day of negotiations, the company dropped its hard-line approach and agreed to some key union demands.
A priority union goal was to win stronger contract language, and Local 705 won improvements on such issues as seniority and bidding rights, air operation and an improved grievance procedure.
Members won an extra personal day off each year, and an extra week vacation (8 weeks total) at 30 years seniority. The contract also delivered a large number of new feeder shuttle jobs.