As workers’ opposition grows to Teamsters contract, UPS Freight prepares for strike
3 November 2018
With opposition mounting among 11,000 UPS Freight workers to the Teamsters union’s efforts to ram through its sellout contract, UPS management released a statement Thursday announcing that it was making preparations to respond to a strike.
Workers voted by more than 62 percent to reject the UPS Freight contract on October 5. On October 25, however, the Teamsters announced that it would force workers to vote again on virtually an unchanged agreement. Workers are due to vote November 7-11, with the results to be announced Sunday evening, November 11.
Both versions of the contract create a new second tier of lower-paid workers by creating a new top pay scale for current “in-progression” workers, that is, those who have not yet reached the top pay rate. The contract does virtually nothing to reduce the widespread use of subcontractor freight drivers, most of whom are forced to pay for their own medical and maintenance bills and gas. And it includes an effective wage cut, increasing wages by 1.7 percent, less than the rate of inflation.
UPS’ statement from Thursday declares that “the company has now begun discussions with UPS Freight customers to inform them of the potential for service disruption and the need to arrange alternative carriers.” It states that the company will “work to empty our network of freight by Friday, November 9.”
This action is intended not only to mitigate the financial impact of a strike, but also to intimidate workers with the threat of a lockout by reducing work hours over the course of the next week, while they are voting. Workers have reported being told by managers that the company could close its doors in the event…