On August 1st, Teamsters Local 623 held two simultaneous rallies to protest new surveillance technology UPS plans to install in all package cars.
The company plans to install cameras in every package car to spy on Teamster drivers, the Union is against the plan. Despite what the Company claims, the cameras will likely be used in disciplinary hearings to punish Teamster members for minor infractions.
Teamsters were also protesting the extreme working conditions at UPS warehouses and on trucks which are not air conditioned. “We've all see the viral video of the driver in Phoenix who collapsed and died, but that's happening everywhere. Package cars are heat traps sometimes getting up to 150 degrees” said Local 623 Trustee James Romeo.
Members want to see changes in the upcoming contract to better protect workers “We have to get rid of the 22.4 category. 22.4s are a scam designed to divide Teamsters. All package drivers should have equal pay and get the same overtime protections.” said UPS driver Joan-Elaine Miller.
“I’m sick of forced overtime. I work overtime five days a week and then on my day off they want me to come in? We need to make the 9.5 rights automatic and permanent and end excessive overtime for all workers.” said Mark Miranda a driver out of the Mount Airy Center.
Negotiations for the next contract begin in August of 2023 and workers are ready to stand united to see big changes “Getting rid of 22.4’s, increasing pay for part-timers, and ending the subcontracting violations. These are big issues we want to see addressed.” said Richard Hooker Jr. “We’ve got to start preparing now. That means getting members ready financially in the event we need to strike.”
Members distributed Leaflets urging members to join a new UPS Teamsters smartphone application designed to help promote the contract campaign and prepare members for negotiations. Future rallies and informational pickets planned throughout the year to educated Teamster members about contract issues.
Learn the Issues:
The 22.4 Scam:
In 2018 UPS won a major concession. The Company fought to make new combination driver jobs permanent. These jobs, called “22.4 Drivers”, do the SAME WORK as package drivers at LOWER PAY, plus these drivers must work weekends, and NO 9.5 PROTECTIONS from excessive overtime. 22.4 Teamsters are trapped.
Because the deal allows these drivers to be paid at a lower rate, the Company has a cheaper alternative to hiring more regular package drivers. As a result, Management has shifted more volume to Saturdays and forced more drivers in. Overloading the weekends with packages while sending regular package car drivers home on weekdays isn’t a mistake, its part of the Company’s plan to make weekend work mandatory and expand the use of 22.4s.
Subcontracting is rampant in UPS. Feeder departments all over the country have reported subcontractor loads coming into and out of UPS facilities. These NON-UNION subcontractors suck work from Teamster drivers. Worse, they introduce lower safety standards and put downward pressure on wages. Subcontracting scabs is the Company’s weapon of choice for avoiding their contractual responsibilities. If we don’t fix the subcontracting language in our contract it won’t be long until package driving and even some warehouse work is also subcontracted to the lowest bidder.
The Low Wage Trap:
Part-timers at UPS make well below a family sustaining living wage. In fact, wages are so low for these workers that the Company has had trouble keeping the building staffed. That’s why during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic UPS was forced to introduce massive wage increases across the board.
With so-called Market Rate Adjustments (MRAs) UPS bumped entry level wages up almost 40% in some instances just to be able to staff the building. Not only did these wage increases work to keep workers on the job and build up the workforce, UPS made BILLIONS IN RECORD PROFITS while MRA wages were in effect. But huge profits didn’t stop them from slashing wages back down to contract minimums the moment the package volume let up.
We have a chance to fix these issues in 2023, but only if our membership is ENGAGED, INFORMED, and EDUCATED. We need everyone to get involved.