As you’re reading this the year is already half over; the time just seems to go by faster and faster. Earlier this year I reported that new master contracts were being negotiated with ABF Freight, UPS, and UPS Freight. I’m happy to say that the ABF national agreement was approved by the membership while work continues on several ABF supplemental agreements. Once all of the ABF supplemental agreements are ratified the negotiated wage and benefit package will go into effect retroactively to the start date of the new agreement. Additionally a handshake agreement was reached with UPS on their national agreement while work continues on several of their supplemental agreements. This is the first time in quite some time that an agreement could be reached with UPS on a national agreement before the contract’s expiration date. Once all of the UPS supplements are completed the agreements will be voted on by the membership. At UPS Freight the national committee continues to work toward an agreement with the company’s negotiating committee. I’d like to thank Local 776 Secretary-Treasurer Ron Hicks, who sat on the ABF National and Central PA negotiating committees for a job well done in securing an agreement for the ABF members. In Central PA the members ratified their supplement by a 73.5% margin.
The Local 776 family picnic was held on June 10th. As the date approached I was apprehensive about the weather forecast and as the picnic drew nearer the forecast worsened. As I stood in the registration tent that morning, as the rain continued to fall, I was disappointed for our members and their families. Many were excited about having the picnic at Knoebels Amusement Park. Registration was up significantly over previous years. Everyone had plans to spend the day at the park enjoying themselves with family and friends. But as I stood there I also felt a strong sense of pride. Pride that despite the conditions members and their families came through the rain, the mud, stood in line to register, and find a place to sit with their family and friends supporting each other and supporting THEIR Local Union. An event of this magnitude could not be postponed until a later date due to the weather. All of the Local’s staff worked hard preparing for the event. Knoebels had made plans for the large Teamster crowd expected and could not postpone until a later date. But despite the conditions over 3,000 Teamster members and their families’ came out in support! The sun might not have shined that day but I was beaming with pride because of our members.
The face of organized Labor changed drastically on June 27th when the U.S. Supreme Court released their decision in the “Janus v. AFSCME” case. This decision reverses over forty years of established labor law in the public sector. By backing the plaintiffs in “Janus v. AFSCME,” the high court’s decision is an attempt to limit the collective voices of not only government workers, but those in the private sector as well. While it is true that this ruling may create temporary roadblocks, public employees throughout the United States need to remain unified. We cannot allow the progress that working people have made in union organizing to be slowed down because of lawsuits that disregard the value of public employees. Dedicated everyday working people standing together built our middle class. Local 776 will honor that dedication by continuing to fight to give working people the promise of the American dream. That won’t end with the Janus decision. Local 776 will continue to organize, mobilize, and do whatever is necessary to achieve prosperity through collective action.
Ed Thompson, IBT Local 776 President