A lot of members and even more supervisors misunderstand certain contract articles. Here President Bagby busts some of the most common myths about the UPS contract.
Prepared by Clarence Bagby, President & Business Agent of Teamsters Local 623
MYTH #1: Higher Seniority Members Can Displace Work
Members sometimes think that their seniority allows them to “bump” lesser seniority members off their assignments. For example, if you’re a full-timer and you finish your assignment early, management may say that in order to get your daily guarantee they will bump a part-timer from his assignment and have you finish the work. Right?
The truth is that seniority does not give some members the right to infringe on others’ right to work. Management may instruct those members in need of fulfilling their daily guarantee to help with other assignments but they may not displace those other workers before their assignment is completed.
ARTICLE 50: SECTION 9 - EXTRA ASSIGNMENTS
Preference shall be given to employees in the order of their seniority to extra work available after the completion of their day’s work, provided that such employees are available at such times as the work is assigned and are qualified to perform the work required. In no event may employees displace other employees who have not completed their assignment.
Don’t let management take work away from other Teamsters. Management is required to respect the rights of all members to work and to fulfill the daily guarantee. That means if there is no work that can be done, management must pay out the hours.
MYTH #2: Discipline Is Based Off Your Last Discipline.
Many members (and most supervisors) assume that progressive discipline is based off the last discipline you received. So if a member received a 3-Day suspension for attendance issues the next time there is an issue, no matter how much time has passed in between, that member will receive a 5-Day suspension for his next violation. Right?
The truth is that progressive discipline is based off the warning notice the member first received. And that warning notice is only valid for nine (9) months. For example let’s say a member was warned about his attendance in January. If he has no attendance issues for a full nine months but then screws up again in November management must issue him a new warning notice, not a suspension.
Put another way, the Company has nine months from the date of that first warning notice where they can progressively increase discipline up to and including termination. But that nine month clock does not reset with each new discipline. Lets say that same member was issued a warning notice in January and then in March he received received a one-day suspension for the same violation. If after that March suspension he had no other incidents until November he would still only qualify for a warning notice.
ARTICLE 51 - DISCHARGE OR SUSPENSION
The Employer shall not discharge nor suspend any employee without just cause until the case has been discussed with the Business Agent in person, where practical, except where the provisions of this Article provide for discharge, but in respect to suspension or discharge shall give at least one warning notice of the complaint against such employee to the employee, in writing, and a copy of the same to the Union and Job Steward affected.
The warning notice as herein provided shall not remain in effect for a period of more than nine (9) months from date of said warning notice. […]
If discipline were based on the last discipline some members would be stuck on a discipline treadmill forever. We need to protect the contract and ensure that no one is over-disciplined. Always ask to see the last warning letter associated with the violation and always argue down discipline that is excessive.
MYTH #3: YOU Have To Give The Company A Chance To Correct Your Pay Before Filing a Grievance
Management screws up payroll all the time and members lose wages in the process. Typically, if a member’s pay is short, the company will assure us that they will correct the shortage in the next paycheck. Members usually think this means that the company has to have a chance to correct the pay shortage before a grievance can be filed. Right?
If your pay is short file the grievance immediately. The company can make it right in the meantime but every day that the shortage is not corrected is a day that the member could be accumulating penalty pay but only if the grievance is filed.
ARTICLE 17 - PAID FOR TIME
[…] Other shortages involving more than fifty ($50.00) dollars for full-time employees, and twenty-five ($25.00) dollars for part-time employees, will be corrected and the payment will be made available to the employee at his/her reporting location on his/her second scheduled workday after reporting the shortage. If the Employer fails to make the payment available on the employee’s second scheduled workday and the shortage was the result of the Employer’s error, the employee will be paid an additional amount equal to one-half (1/2) of his/her daily guarantee at his/her regular hourly rate for every full pay period in which the shortage is not paid after the second (2nd) scheduled work day, until corrected.
Errors of less than fifty ($50.00) dollars for full-time employees or twenty-five ($25.00) dollars for part-time employees and overages will be corrected in the following weekly paycheck. The Union and Employer shall have the authority at any level of the grievance procedure to award a penalty up to the amount specified in the prior paragraph for any violation of the provision.
Teamsters may love their jobs but we aren’t volunteers. The company should be held accountable as soon as any pay shortages are found. The longer a member waits to file the grievance the less penalty pay they will be awarded when they are finally made whole.