New York, NY - Hundreds of UPS drivers and warehouse workers walked off the job, Feb. 26, at the Queens hub in New York City.
The UPS workers from Teamsters Local 804, a local led by rank-and-file reformers, called an impromptu wildcat action to fight back against the unjust firing of a driver and vocal Teamster fighter. UPS management in New York resorts to firing workers on trumped up and nebulous charges in an attempt to weaken the union. The company abuses the grievance procedure to delay worker reinstatement and back wages in these cases of unjust firings, attempting to ‘starve’ workers who stand up for their rights on the job into submission.
The strategy backfired. Workers fought back to defend the union fighter who UPS unjustly fired. Hundreds stormed out of the building shouting “Stop the war on workers!” and “Shut down big brown!” The workers held an impromptu picket, gave speeches and chanted for the vast majority of the day.
A striker, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid retaliation, said, “We’re sick of the company’s harassment. They fire people with families and kids for no reason. It’s just wrong.” The strike demonstrated the union spirit of “an injury to one, is an injury to all!”
The strike inspired Teamsters from hubs in the other boroughs. Workers from the 43rd Street hub in Manhattan, as well as the Bronx hub, said many plan to organize support for the brave strikers who stood up to management and want to send a strong message that any further firings or retaliations will be met by overwhelming solidarity and unity.