By Annie-Rose Strasser on
April 2, 2014 at 11:59 am
"UPS Fires 250 Drivers After They Protested A Coworker’s Firing"
CREDIT: AP Photo/Julio Cortez
Two hundred fifty employees of the United Parcel Service (UPS) walked off the job
for 90 minutes in February to protest the firing of one of their
coworkers, Jairo Reyes. Reyes had driven for the company for over 20
years, and they felt his firing (which occurred after a complicated saga over the hours that senior UPS workers could hold) was unfair.
This week, all of those employees were given a pink slip, New York Daily News reports.
“They just called me in … (and) said, ‘Effective immediately, you are
no longer on the payroll,’” one UPS employee told the outlet.
Twenty employees so far have been let go from the Queens branch that
staged the walkout, UPS spokesman Steve Gaught confirmed to
ThinkProgress. The other 230 have been given notices of termination with
the understanding that they will be be let go when replacements are
found for them.
“We take the commitments that we make to customers for delivery as a
high priority, and whenever we can’t count on the workforce to complete
their jobs it negatively effects customer demands,” Gaught said.
UPS workers are unionized under the Teamsters,
and UPS alleges that the protesters not only delayed package delivery
for customers, but also violated their union contract. Gaught invited
the Teamsters of Local 804, where the workers were fired, to appeal the
termination under contract rules. But the union insists it already has.
“Since UPS fired Jairo Reyes and 250 drivers walked off the job in
protest, Local 804 has repeatedly tried to bring UPS to the table to
settle the issues,” the group’s local wrote on its page.
“Local 804 will continue to work with political leaders and the public
to bring UPS management to the table to reach a fair settlement. We will
do whatever is necessary to achieve this goal.”
UPS has previously come under fire for its treatment of workers. In one instance, a pregnant employee was put on unpaid leave with no medical coverage after her doctor instructed her not to lift anything weighing more than 20 pounds.
While the details of the contract between the Teamsters and UPS are
not known, all workers, both unionized and non-unionized, are supposed
to be able to strike without being fired. Late last year, in fact, the
National Labor Relations Board decided to prosecute Walmart for violating that law. Still, labor strikes are becoming increasingly rare, in part because of declining unionization.