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First UE Contract
With Penske Logistics
For New Local 112


Local 112 members following contract ratification
Talotta, Nolf, Koch, Klipple  

Above, Local 112 members following contract ratification; at left, the Local 112 committee: Vic Talotta, Bob Nolf and Pres. Lester Koch, who were assisted by Intl. Rep. Bruce Klipple.

On Feb. 27, the members of newly established UE Local 112, Bethlehem Drivers and Dockworkers, ratified their first contract with Penske Logistics Inc. since affiliating their independent union with UE.

Penske, a large nationwide trucking company, is a major part of the rapidly growing, dedicated-freight logistics business that enables contractors to meet corporations’ JIT (Just in Time) production standards. The new UE members separate, pack and distribute auto parts used by General Motors and Ford.

Prior to organizing their independent union, these Penske workers had been stuck in a large business-type union which provided no assistance in enforcing a vague contract they didn’t have the right to ratify. Upon affiliation with UE the nearly 60 members began immediately participating in contract meetings, preparing their contract demands and electing their committee.

At the same time, they worked to establish their union, electing officers and hand-collecting dues — with nearly 98 percent participation.

The negotiating committee quickly realized that developing an entirely new contract is a lot of work, but very rewarding.

With the three-year contract, Local 112 gains a full union shop with monthly dues check-off and a solid "member-run" grievance procedure; stewards will be paid for union time. The contract contains considerably improved seniority language protections as well as increasing recall rights for those on layoff from one to two years.


Contract language, providing new protections for union members, literally doubled the size of the previous contract. New language covers leaves of absence for union business, safe equipment, protection for drivers facing dangerous conditions, accidents and suspension of licenses, and paid time for Department of Transportation physicals and tests.

Also, the contract guards against subcontracting and restricts the use of casual employees (an industry norm), benefiting both drivers and dockworkers, and protects drivers from discipline for refusing to cross a picket line.

Penske workers gain an additional paid personal day, for three per year, plus seven holidays. The contract increases holiday pay, if a holiday is worked, from straight time plus holiday pay to time and one-half plus holiday pay. Vacation eligibility is improved; three weeks become available with six years’ service, instead of seven; eligibility for four weeks is reduced from 20 to 15 years. Vacation pay for drivers is increased from 40 hours’ pay per vacation week to 45 hours’ pay.

Grandparents are added to paid funeral leave. The union got back an eight-hour work day with a half-hour paid lunch break.

Health and dental benefits remain the same. A new 401(k) plan with immediate vesting is implemented; the employers’ pre-tax contributions will be 2.5 percent the first year, 3 percent the second year and 3.26 percent the third year. All employees who have been on the payroll since June 7, 1999 receive $10 for each week, including shutdown; the payout is equal to the amount the company was required to contribute towards an inferior pension plan imposed by the previous national union.


Wages for dockworkers rise from $14.05 to $14.40, $14.65 and $14.90. Drivers are paid by the mile; the mileage rate advances from $.333 per mile to .34, .35, and .36 each year. Driver hourly rates increase from $14.57 to $14.86, $15.11 and $15.36. In addition to paid mileage, route drivers are paid for each stop; stop pay rises from $15.61 to $15.92, $16.22 and $16.52 per stop.

Drop and hook pay for drivers (when dropping one trailer and picking up another) increases from $7 to $7.43, $7.58 and $7.73. Delay time due to breakdowns begins paying the hourly rate immediately; previously it was after the first hour. In addition, drivers using sleeper cabs will receive an additional $41, $42 and $43 per day from $40. If staying in a motel, drivers will receive motel costs plus $20-$21 meal allowance per day.

Local Pres. Lester Koch spoke for the membership in stating, "It’s not everything we would have liked to gain, but it is certainly much greater than we had, with real improvements and protections for the members. It’s a solid base to begin preparations for the next time, and now we have a union that will help us and the members run."

The Local 112 negotiating committee consisted of Pres. Koch, Vic Talotta, driver, and Bob Nolf, dockworker. They were assisted by Intl. Rep. Bruce Klipple.

UE News - 03/00

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