Maspeth UPS drivers battle to save jobs after 20 firings

By Sarina Trangle

Maspeth UPS workers are slated to protest the firing of 25 drivers in an ongoing dispute over one driver’s termination at City Hall Thursday morning

Local 804 of the Teamsters Union, which represents personnel at United Parcel Service’s Maspeth location, said roughly 250 UPS drivers walked off the job in late February in solidarity with Jairo Reyes, who they said was not given a hearing he is entitled to under labor agreements.

The union said the company responded by issuing notices of terminations to all the protesters, saying it planned to gradually fire them after training replacements.

This week the union said UPS randomly targeted 20 drivers in the first round of firings.

“Political leaders are scrutinizing taxpayer funds that go to UPS, including over $15 million a year that UPS gets in reduced parking ticket fees,” the union noted on its website, which included video clips of city Public Advocate Letitia James, state Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz (D-Flushing) and City Council members Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) supporting the union at a recent rally. “Now more than ever is the time to be united and disciplined.”

UPS said the Local 804’s agreement with the company has prohibited unauthorized work stoppages for decades.

“These employees were warned about the consequences of the walkout as they left their jobs. We are releasing the employees because of the seriousness of the misconduct and because we believe there must be adherence to the bargaining agreement by both parties,” UPS spokesman Steve Gaut said in an email.

— Sarina Trangle

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