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Contract negotiations between UPS and the Teamsters collapsed in the early morning hours of July 5. The Teamsters had won a few important demands from UPS, such as ending the two-tier system among drivers, securing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday, and installing AC in new trucks. However, the company refused to address some of UPS workers’ main demands, like part-time workers getting equality with full-time workers and having a guaranteed 3.5-hour workday. These part-time workers make up the majority of the UPS workforce.
With the collapse of these talks, an August 1 strike is looking more likely. This would mean over 340,000 UPS Teamster members going on strike. UPS moves six percent of the U.S. GDP and three percent of the world’s GDP every single day. For that reason, a strike at UPS would have enormous consequences — it would be a huge blow to the company and to the bosses, like CEO Carol Tomé, who make massive profit off the backs of workers. The effects of such a strike would ripple beyond UPS — it could inspire millions of workers across other sectors and help revitalize the labor movement.
On this episode, Left Voice member Ben Douglass interviews Richard Hooker, a former UPS inside worker and now the principal officer of Local 623. Ben worked at UPS for 2 years before being wrongly terminated for an off-the-clock union rally at his workplace. His case is currently being appealed to the NLRB.
Richard is an outspoken advocate for equality and workers’ rights. In this interview with Ben, Richard talks about the likely UPS strike, organizing part-time workers, and the need for a working-class political party. As he points out, neither Democrats nor Republicans are friends of labor. He also discusses the importance of workers taking up the fight for Black lives and other struggles.
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