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Why 340,000 UPS Workers Are Preparing to Strike in the U.S.

1 min read
File photo of UPS workers

United Parcel Service (UPS) workers are gearing up for a potential strike as they hold contract negotiations with the company. Talks between the company and the union representing UPS workers, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, opened on April 17. Teamsters President Sean O’Brien says that workers are ready to walk off the job if UPS fails to reach a deal on a strong contract before the current one expires on July 31.

Workers are demanding better pay, more full-time work, better job security, and an end to the two-tier “22.4” job classification. The deeply unpopular “22.4” provision creates a lower-paid tier of workers who essentially perform the same work as senior drivers, but receive lower pay.

The workers are also demanding an end to excessive overtime, better protections against company harassment, the elimination of driver-facing cameras, and protection from hot weather. Drivers reported extreme temperatures inside their delivery trucks in posts that went viral last summer, and workers, like 24-year-old Esteban Chavez Jr., have died due to extreme heat.

A strike may have a formidable impact. UPS workers move 6 percent of U.S. GDP every day. The last time UPS Teamsters went on strike was in 1997 when 185,000 workers walked off the job in one of the largest strikes in U.S. history. The work stoppage cost the company $850 million despite only lasting for 15 days. There has been no larger work stoppage in the US since then.

from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service

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