Alexandra Bradbury

The Better Burn Barrel from the Boeing Strike Lives On

Two photos: 1.Tom with early prototype burn barrel. 2. Wabtech striker warming hands over new barrel.

It’s just what you would expect from airplane engineers on strike—they reengineered the picket line burn barrel to be more efficient.

The strikers were Boeing engineers, members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), who walked the lines for 40 days in 2000 during a rainy Seattle winter.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back for me,” said Chicago Teamsters leader Juan Campos, “was seeing the international shoving the UPS contract down the members’ throats.”

That’s why he has joined an opposition slate to challenge the union’s top officers in 2021.

Campos announced January 31 that he will run for an at-large vice president seat, on the ticket with Sean O’Brien of Boston for president and Fred Zuckerman of Louisville for secretary-treasurer.

Here's the Secret to Getting Young Workers Involved

“How can we get young workers involved?”

That’s the question on everyone’s lips, with union density at near-record lows. Many unions have begun holding summits for young members or forming local committees, which is great.

But too often they’re missing a step that’s more essential: don’t sell young workers out.

When you settle a two-tier contract that puts new hires on a lower wage scale or trades away their pension, it sends a message: “This union is for us, not for you.”

Rolling Strikes Jam Up North Pole

The massive gift production and distribution operation at the North Pole is in disarray amid rolling strikes this week.

The conveyor belts were halted for several hours on Wednesday when maintenance elves walked out just as a mass of taffy was discovered in the gears. On Thursday there was another walkout, this time in Wrapping and Ribbons. And today, no one is loading sleighs.

The wildcat strikes were organized by rank and filers without the sanction of Elves, Reindeer, and Candy Stripers Local 1224.

Reformers in the Teamsters have the wind at their backs. A rank-and-file slate swept to victory November 10 at Local 767 in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, the largest UPS local in the South.

The 767 Teamsters United for Change won an outright majority in a four-way race. President-elect Brian “Smokewagon” Perrier, a 29-year UPS driver, got nearly twice as many votes as the incumbent president.

This article, originally published October 5, was updated October 8 and October 18 to reflect the results of the vote count and subsequent developments. –Editors.

Exploiting a constitutional loophole, Teamsters brass have declared that the controversial tentative agreement covering 243,000 workers at the package giant UPS is ratified, despite members voting it down by 54 percent.

Package Division Director Denis Taylor weirdly claimed that he planned to keep negotiating to improve the deal—but also that members wouldn't get a chance to vote on any further changes.

VIDEO: Rank-and-File Teamsters Discuss the Stolen Vote at UPS


Despite heavy pressure from their employer and their own union leaders, rank-and-file Teamsters across the U.S. last week voted down the controversial tentative agreement at UPS, 54 percent no to 46 percent yes.

Even UPS indicated it was ready to return to the table.

But then Teamsters Package Division Director Denis Taylor announced he would exploit a constitutional loophole to declare this contract ratified.

Teamster activists are calling on the union and the company to respect the majority vote and reopen negotiations.

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.

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.

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