Despite big contract gains, part-timers deserve better —
The power is in your hands to improve the deal
August 8, 2023
This spring, UPS Teamsters voted by a whopping 97% to authorize a strike, showing their willingness to fight for a fair share of the billions in profits that UPS has raked in since the pandemic began.
They are energized by a new mood in the labor movement – and by the election of a union reform slate that promised to stop the givebacks that the previous Hoffa leadership had forced on the membership. UPS Teamsters have mounted an unprecedented mobilization.
UPS management knows the 340,000 drivers
and warehouse workers are serious
That is why UPS management agreed to one of the union’s most important demands weeks before the deadline: an end to the two-tier driver classifications, which divided the workforce and brought down wages and working conditions. Other important wins included limits on forced overtime, moves toward AC and ventilation in trucks, an end to surveillance cameras on drivers, and more.
On July 5, however, Teamster negotiators walked out, citing a refusal by management to offer decent raises for part-timers, who make up a majority of the workforce and are primarily in the warehouses. On a July 16 nationwide webinar for Teamsters, General President Sean O’Brien declared, “We are united … we will not leave the part-timers behind!”
Now is the time to really stand united
When the Tentative Agreement was released on July 25, many part-timers were crushed to learn that new hires would start at $21.00/hour and go up to only $23.00/hour over the course of the five-year contract. Current part-timers will get a raise that new hires will not see. And are those wage gains enough? Other concerns were not addressed: guaranteed hours per day remain at only 3.5, and there are no provisions to address extreme heat and cold in warehouses.
There are a growing number of rank-and-file UPS workers who feel that the momentum they built for a successful strike gave the union the leverage and power to hold out for $25/hour base pay and higher yearly increases. They are now calling for a NO vote on the contract.
These union members cite the danger of creating two-tier wage levels among part-time workers, just as they are celebrating an end to two-tiers for the drivers. They also point out that $21.00/hour isn’t going to inspire Amazon workers to unionize with Teamsters, which the union has set as a strategic goal. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, current wages for transportation and warehouse workers nationally averages above $25.00/hour.
Over 100,000 part-time workers at UPS have less than five years’ seniority because of the enormous turnover rate, and they have the least to gain in this tentative agreement. Women and people of color are concentrated in the part-time positions. When unions fight for the lowest paid and part-time workers, everyone is raised up and solidarity is built.
The FSP salutes your willingness to stand up and fight UPS greed
We stand with those UPS Teamsters who are urging a NO vote on the tentative agreement and who believe now is the time to hold out for more. If members vote no, the negotiators will have your authority to go back and bargain for more. If it comes to a strike, the economic pressure on UPS will be enormous. Also, Teamsters will receive crucial solidarity from all of labor and the community.
The labor movement is surging. The number of strikes has more than quadrupled since before the pandemic. Low-wage workers are organizing as never before – from Starbucks baristas to education workers – and Teamsters are part of this wave. If UPS Teamsters hold the line, it will win not only much-needed improvements for UPS workers, but will raise the bar for everyone.
Rebellious rank and filers are forging a more powerful movement. One that fights much harder for good wages and working conditions, and also embraces broader issues affecting our class like reproductive justice, healthcare, an end to all forms of discrimination, and more. Onward to a day when working people call the shots instead of fat-cat bosses.
Issued by Freedom Socialist Party
4710 University Way NE #100, Seattle, WA 98105
206-985-4621 • email@example.com
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