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Preload rank-and-file organizing activates in Teamsters Local 455

By staff

UPS Teamsters are standing up for a decent contract.

Commerce City, CO – On Friday, May 19, rank-and-file Teamsters working at the UPS hub in Commerce City, a part of the Denver metro area, organized a parking lot meeting early in the morning before the sunrise shift. This event comes just 11 weeks before the expiration of the Teamsters contract with UPS, and it is especially significant as it was the first event at the Commerce City hub, one of the largest UPS buildings in the United States, led exclusively by rank-and-file workers.

Keegan Estrella, a Teamster present at the event states, “I think this is the first event that has been focused primarily on the preload shift. When there is not enough activity surrounding an important issue such as a potential strike, at some point, as rank-and-file workers, we just have to say that we are going to do it ourselves and see what happens.”

The organizers had a table set up with literature from both their local and Teamsters United, the current slate in power led by General President Sean O’Brien. In the hour they were out, organizers estimated that about 100 leaflets were passed out and many interested workers went up to the table to see how they could get involved with contract negotiations.

Some of the main contract issues that were being brought by workers coming to the table was the fight for a wage increase to $25 per hour as well as how the contract will address the overwhelming harassment that people have faced in the building.

Some Teamsters were concerned about their vote not mattering because of the two-thirds loophole, which allowed the last contract to get passed even though a majority of Teamsters voted it down. This rule, however, was taken out of the constitution since the last negotiations, this largely due to the efforts of the Teamsters United slate.

The organizers spoke very positively on how their first event went and have expressed a readiness to keep up the momentum.

Dahla Welchman, a Teamster and one of the organizers of the event, states, “The contract vote is coming soon, and we can’t drag our feet any longer. The people in our building have a right to know what the issues are and we don’t have much time left to get united.”

As of writing, most of the supplemental agreements have been worked out, leaving the Teamsters and UPS about two months to negotiate the national contract. The current contract expires July 31. The Teamsters could potentially strike the next day.

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