“Rather than strike, the union sold us out”
UPS workers in Rockford continue to speak out against sellout contract
24 January 2019
Workers at United Parcel Services (UPS) in the economically devastated Midwestern city of Rockford, Illinois, continue to speak out against the sellout contract imposed by Teamsters Local 710, an agreement that is largely indistinguishable from the concessions-filled national contract undemocratically imposed on 250,000 UPS workers last year.
The contract for Teamsters Local 710 covering 6,600 UPS workers in Illinois, Iowa and Indiana was declared ratified with nearly 60 percent abstaining from voting.
Teamsters Local 710 has negotiated separate contracts for nearly six decades alongside Teamsters Local 705, which covers more than 9,000 UPS workers in the Chicago area. The concessions in the Local 710 contract mirror the national contract and include the maintenance of poverty wages for part time workers, with the bulk expected to make a starting wage of $13 an hour. The contract also includes the widely hated imposition of a two-tier system establishing a new category of hybrid warehouse/driver workers, many of whom will start at a lower wage than regular full-time parcel delivery drivers at UPS.
Such concessions were widely opposed; with more than 93 percent of the 250,000 UPS warehouse workers and drivers voting to authorize a strike. Instead of calling a strike, however, the Teamsters took a 54 percent majority ‘no’ vote and illegitimately imposed the sellout contract on UPS workers for five years, utilizing an obscure and anti-democratic constitutional loophole. The ramming through of the contract widely discredited the Teamsters and provoked an explosion of anger that continues to this day.