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Hundreds of Chicago Teamsters stand up to UPS greed

By Haden Kersting

Teamsters practice picket at a UPS hub in Chicago drew over 300 people.

Chicago, IL – On July 14, 300 workers turned out for the latest practice picket and rally at the UPS Jefferson Street Hub on the Near West Side of Chicago. International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 705 and Local 710 organized this event, which was the largest of many practice pickets in the Chicago area that occurred throughout the week. Flyers promoting the event read, “Chicago Teamsters stand up to UPS greed!”

The event comes as contract negotiations between the IBT and United Parcel Service remain halted. The Teamsters already negotiated a major win for full-time drivers with the end of the two-tier classification system, known as 22.4. However, negotiations broke down when the Teamsters demanded better pay for part-time package handlers, who load and unload trucks at the warehouses. The IBT has authorized a strike if an agreement is not reached.

“I’m here to support my Teamsters brothers and sisters, and I’m ready for the strike come August 1,” said Frank Perez, a package car driver. Perez continued, “I want to let the company know that I won’t be bullied or intimidated, and I won’t stand down. I’m going to fight for the better contract that all my Teamster family deserves.”

As package car drivers such as Perez arrived to join the picket lines at 7:45 a.m., part-timers clocked out and exited the warehouse after hours of work on their early morning shifts. Many package car drivers wore their brown UPS uniforms, while many part-timers wore brown-and-yellow shirts reading “pay up.” During the rally, speakers emphasized the power of solidarity between full-time drivers and part-time package handlers.

Many unions and community organizations attended in solidarity with the Teamsters, including the Chicago Teachers Union, Starbucks United, and the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. Also in attendance were progressive aldermen such as Byron Sigcho Lopez and Jessie Fuentes.

Given the importance of UPS to the distribution of goods, both in Chicago and across the U.S., major economic impacts are projected to occur if the Teamsters strike when the contract expires on August 1.

#ChicagoIL #Teamsters #strike #UPS