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Apr
2014
9

100,000 Sign Petition to Reinstate Fired UPS Workers; Teamsters Rally at City Hall

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As part of their plan to eventually fire all 250 Queens, NY drivers who participated in a 90-minute work stoppage, UPS let 17 workers go last Friday. The mass firing brought the total to 36.  

The work stoppage was organized in late February to protest the firing of a 24-year old veteran who was active with the Teamsters Local 804.  UPS officials told the New York Daily News that the company has the right to fire all of the workers.  UPS says the remaining 214 employees will be terminated once replacements complete their training.  

One of the affected workers, Neil Penny, explained the scenario to CBS NewYork:

“After 19 years of pretty much exemplary employment over there,” said Neil Penny. “It’s an all-out war on employees.”

Penny was one of the 20 drivers called to their manager’s office on Monday only to be told he was fired.

“They read a statement to me, asked me to give over my ID and my uniforms, walked me out of the building, and that was that,” Penny said. “I absolutely feel betrayed. I mean, it’s crazy. The company’s just really beating us down.”

UPS’ behavior has brought about immediate backlash from politicians, union leaders, and the general public alike.  Public advocate Letitia James, Teamsters Joint Council 16 President George Miranda, and Teamsters Local 804 President Tim Sylvester have asked UPS to rehire the workers they are firing.  Future action against the company was promised in a statement signed by the loose coalition of groups. If the firings are not overturned, the statement suggests, they will call on the city to review UPS’ contracts:

According to a statement released by the group, the company currently benefits from a $43 million public contract in which UPS provides delivery services to city and state agencies. UPS also participates in a program that offers millions of dollars each year in reduced fines and fees for parking tickets.

A video from the Teamsters Local 804 website shows customers speaking out on behalf of their deliverymen and women.  

Last week, supporters rallied at City Hall demanding justice for the laid off workers.  At the rally, Vincent Alvarez, president of New York City’s Central Labor Council, derided UPS, saying, “At a time when good jobs are becoming more and more difficult to come by, it is unconscionable that UPS workers are being fired for standing up for basic workplace rights.  We stand behind our union brothers and sisters as they continue the fight to keep their jobs.”

So far more than 100,000 people have signed a MoveOn Petition calling for UPS to rehire the terminated employees.

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