Union, Courier Forge Agreement
United Parcel Service (UPS) delivered a pardon last Wednesday night, Apr. 9, to 250 drivers at its Maspeth facility which the company planned to ax over a job action earlier this year.
On its website, Teamsters Local 804-which represents the drivers- announced that UPS rescinded the terminations following “a 10-hour marathon bargaining session.” The company initially moved to fire the workers last month after workers held a wildcat strike in February in support of a fellow driver, Jairo Reyes, whom UPS terminated a year short of retirement.
The wildcat strike lasted 90 minutes, but weeks later, UPS issued notices of termination to its participants, meaning the company could fire them at any time regardless of terms outlined in the collective bargaining agreement. Teamsters Local 804 joined Public Advocate Letitia James and other elected officials in rallies outside the Maspeth shipping facility and on the steps of City Hall demanding that the courier stop the terminations.
In the meantime, 25 union UPS workers lost their jobs, including one driver, Domenick DeDomenico, who recently returned to work after a long recovery from severe injuries he sustained in an accident.
Reyes, DeDomenico and the other drivers who had lost, or were about to lose, their jobs were reinstated last Wednesday night. UPS and the union reportedly agreed to reduce the terminations to 10 day suspensions; the union also agreed to compensate UPS for monetary damages.
“UPS agreed to work with Local 804 to improve labor-management relations at the company and to handle disciplinary disputes more expeditiously under the new grievance procedure,” according to Teamsters Local 804’s announcement. “We are grateful for the enormous outpouring of support from UPS customers, progressive elected officials and the public. It was that support that saved the jobs of the 250 drivers.”
James and other elected officials cheered the agreement in statements received by the Times Newsweekly last week.
“We have sent a clear message to corporate America that firing workers en masse for minor workplace disagreements is unacceptable,” the public advocate said. “This is a victory for working-class New Yorkers who form the backbone of our great city.”
“[This] marks a huge victory, not just for the 250 UPS workers who now have their jobs back, but for the entire organized labor movement and working families across New York City,” added City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley.
“We are very pleased that UPS and Teamsters Local 804 were able to come to an agreement that allows all 250 workers at its Maspeth facility to keep their jobs,” Representatives Joe Crowley and Grace Meng said in a joint statement. “Last week, we relayed our serious concerns in a letter to UPS and advocated for a solution to ensure these workers not lose their jobs. We’re glad they took our concerns into account and heeded that request.”