Monday, May 29, 2023

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‘We’re ready to strike’: UPS workers and Teamsters prepare for contract fight

For 8 years, Rob Becker labored as a transport motive force for UPS in Queens, New York. About 5 years ago, he became terminated. He were given concerned in his neighborhood union, Teamsters Local 804, and fought, successfully, to get reinstated.

While pushing for modifications and amassing signatures in current months at UPS because the Teamsters put together for a brand new union agreement combat throughout on the organisation in 2023, Becker, an exchange union steward, became once more fired from his job.

“I wager I became costing the organisation an excessive amount of money,” stated Becker. “We are continuously burdened and intimidated with the aid of using our control. It’s never-ending, we do undergo a few calm periods, however necessarily it turns lower back up in some unspecified time in the future once they determine to crack the whip.”

He stated his termination cited that he became fired for taking a two- to three-minute damage withinside the morning to get a drink of water.

In the brand new union agreement, Becker and different people were pushing for higher extra time protections, an removal of a 2nd tier of transport drivers who’re paid much less and furnished with much less protections for doing the equal paintings, higher pay for part-time personnel and warmth protection.

UPS people and the Teamsters have signaled arrangements to strike to win those needs withinside the subsequent union agreement.

“We are geared up to strike a hundred%. It’s glaringly a weapon of final resort,” stated Becker.

In August, Teamsters International released the agreement combat at UPS, because the union management newly elected in 2021 has signaled an cease to accepting concessions in union contracts with UPS.

The union is preventing for the cease of misclassifying people as a way to pay them much less, including private car drivers who paintings as brief contractors. They additionally need the growing surveillance of drivers at the job, a two-tier worker machine of drivers, at the least a $20 an hour beginning pay for part-time personnel and warmth protections as UPS cars aren’t prepared with air conditioning.


UPS reduce hourly pay for lots part-time people in advance this year, because the organisation suggested file earnings of nearly $13bn in 2021.

“Our union is resolved to win the great agreement for UPS participants and to reset the requirements for wages and blessings on this enterprise with the aid of using August 1, 2023. We won’t amplify negotiations with the aid of using a unmarried day. We’ll both have a signed settlement that day or be hitting the pavement,” the Teamsters International president, Sean O’Brien, stated in a statement.

Ben Douglass, every other UPS motive force in Queens, New York for 2 years, became additionally fired on 24 August, the equal day as Becker, at the same time as serving as an exchange union steward. He stated during the last six months, retaliation and harassment has ramped up.

“Myself and different employee activists have emerge as thorns withinside the facet of control. In the lead as much as the agreement combat, control has a approach of looking to scare the group of workers so humans aren’t completely organized to combat in opposition to accepting a subpar agreement,” he stated.

Douglass is one of the transport drivers who’s categorised as a 22.four motive force, withinside the 2nd tier of transport drivers in which pay is a great deal decrease and that they don’t acquire extra time protections. He’s additionally preventing to enhance pay and operating situations for part-time people and warmth protections withinside the wake of drivers requiring scientific interest and the heat-associated demise of 24-year-antique motive force Esteban Chavez in California in advance this year.


Douglass and Becker have each filed grievances to push to be reinstated to their positions view their firings as a part of focused on of union activists and organizers withinside the place of job beforehand of the brand new union agreement combat.

“I assume there’s a scientific coverage from the UPS control to goal activists withinside the place of job and there’s a way of life of harassment and retaliation,” brought Douglass.

UPS did now no longer touch upon the firings and claims of retaliation.

In regards to the union agreement negotiations, a UPS spokesperson stated in an email: “These, and lots of others, are essential subjects that we can speak as a part of our negotiation. UPS and the Teamsters have labored cooperatively for nearly a hundred years to satisfy the wishes of UPS personnel, customers, and the groups in which we stay and paintings. We have constructed UPS into the world’s main package deal transport organisation together, which has additionally strengthened Teamsters club over the years. We agree with we’ll retain to discover not unusualplace floor with the Teamsters and attain an settlement that’s exact for anyone concerned.”

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