MINNEAPOLIS — Some 30 members of Teamsters Local 638 and their supporters rallied in a “practice” strike picket in front of the West Broadway Avenue UPS facility here June 30. UPS drivers joined in on their way to work, alongside distribution center workers wearing red Teamster union shirts.
Several warehouse workers told the Militant about the conditions they face. They aren’t guaranteed more than 3 ½ hours a shift, with wages around $16 an hour, doing work that is fast paced and hard. One of the shifts unloads packages off incoming trailers onto conveyor belts that are sorted and then delivered to workers on another shift to load on trucks for that day’s deliveries.
“UPS reaps millions of dollars off our labor,” said Rikki Schreiner, a full-time distribution center worker at the Eagan facility south of here. “We deserve good wages, more full-time work and better working conditions.”
Deborah Howze, a home health care worker and member of Service Employees International Union Local 12A, joined the picket line. “I think it is important to support workers fighting for decent wages and working conditions.”
Similar actions took place at UPS barns in New York, Maine, Tennessee, Arizona, Utah and California.
The union resumed talks with UPS bosses June 30, saying the company had five days to make a more serious offer. The next day Teamsters Local 804 posted a statement indicating significant breakthroughs amid ongoing talks.
“The Teamsters reached tentative agreement with UPS on three major economic issues,” the union said, “tearing down the 22.4 two-tier wage system, establishing Martin Luther King Day as a full holiday for the first time, and ending forced overtime on drivers’ days off.”
“But make no mistake, we are not done,” Teamsters National President Sean O’Brien said. Negotiations are continuing with a July 31 strike deadline.