Alexandra Bradbury

If UPS keeps stonewalling in upcoming bargaining, members of Chicago-area Teamsters Local 705 will take a strike vote in early November, for a possible walkout the week after Thanksgiving. That’s peak season at UPS.

Stewards greeted this morning’s announcement from Secretary-Treasurer Juan Campos, the union’s principal officer, with “lots of rounds of applause,” said bargaining team member and UPS feeder driver Dave Bernt.

There’s one bargaining session left, October 25-26, and Bernt said the union is approaching it in good faith.

This article, originally published October 5, was updated October 8 to reflect the results of the vote count and subsequent developments. –Editors.

Apparently trying to have their cake and eat it too, Teamsters brass have announced that they consider the UPS contract ratified, despite members voting it down by 54 percent—but don’t worry, they’re going to keep negotiating to improve it.

Bargaining between health care giant Kaiser Permanente and a new union alliance representing 38,000 of its employees has come down to the wire.

“Kaiser is playing hardball,” said Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Practitioners President Adrienne Enghouse, a 21-year nurse.

The unions that split from the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions this year to form the Alliance of Health Care Unions have emphasized their commitment to continuing a friendly partnership with the employer.

The movement for a no vote keeps growing at UPS.

Each UPS local sent two leaders to the union’s “two-person meeting” August 9 to hear the international union’s sales pitch and decide whether to recommend the agreement to the 270,000 affected members.

It’s typically a rubber-stamping, but this time local leaders had a lot of questions and criticisms. In a voice vote, roughly a third voted against recommending the deal.

Missouri Voters Overwhelmingly Reject ‘Right to Work’

Unions in Missouri are declaring victory after voters shot down a Republican-backed “right-to-work” law by a hefty 2 to 1.

The final vote count was 937,241 against the legislation to 452,075 in favor.

Missouri became the 28th state with a right-to-work law on the books in February 2017, when Republican Governor Eric Greitens signed the law at a ceremony in an abandoned factory.

There are no flashy special effects in Tyler Binder’s 12-minute video, “Why the UPS 2018 contract sucks!”

No stirring soundtrack, no animation, no laugh track. It’s just him and his whiteboard, explaining in plain language how the tentative agreement would affect every group of workers.

But the video went viral. Just two weeks after he uploaded it, it had 90,000 views on Facebook and 50,000 on YouTube.

In negotiations over the nation’s largest union contract, a three-way battle is raging. UPS is demanding new givebacks, top Teamsters are offering them up, and rank and filers are organizing a grassroots network to push for better—and getting ready to vote down a bad deal, if necessary.

In February, Chief Negotiator Denis Taylor threw one opposition leader off the UPS bargaining committee; in May he kicked off three more. Their apparent crime was breaking the information “brownout” that keeps Teamsters in the dark about their own contract negotiations.

Update, June 27: As expected, today the Supreme Court ruled against the union in Janus v. AFSCME District 31, invalidating agency fees. This makes the whole public sector open-shop. Coming soon: the Labor Notes guide to organizing in open-shop America.

It’s Friday morning, and you’re starting another 12-hour shift in the bitter cold. At least you know the end is in sight, because tomorrow is Saturday and you’re almost to the 60-hour weekly limit.

That is, until your manager hits you with the news: UPS has decided to exploit a loophole in Department of Transportation regulations to allow 70-hour weeks. You’ll be working tomorrow after all.

If there’s one lesson labor can draw from the events of 2017, it’s this—to survive and grow in the face of a nationally coordinated employer offensive, we’ll have to use the attacks against us as organizing opportunities.

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