On the Picket Line

Negotiations with UPS continue, Teamsters prepare possible strike

By Seth Galinsky
June 5, 2023

NEW YORK — With most local contracts agreed to by UPS and union officials, negotiations have shifted to key national issues before the contract expires July 31. The Teamsters are demanding an end to two-tier wages for drivers, along with substantial pay increases for part-time workers who sort packages and load trucks. Part-timers in New York start out at just 50 cents an hour over the minimum wage of $15 here.

Some 25% of drivers — known as “22.4” workers, who have less seniority — make up to $6 an hour less than other drivers and are the first ones laid off. Workers say all drivers should get paid the same.

“We’re fighting for the part-timers to get at least $25 an hour,” driver Antoine Andrews, a union organizer and shop steward at the Canarsie distribution center, told the Militant May 22.

Since the end of the pandemic, “package volume has dropped signficiantly,” he said. “And the company has been laying people off and putting some on split shifts, which is very brutal.”

The Teamsters continue to prepare for a strike if no agreement is reached.

Winning improvements for UPS workers “can be a catalyst for workers where there are no unions, like Amazon and Starbucks,” Andrews said. “It’s a great time to be part of the labor movement and to join hands and forces to get what we deserve.”