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Tampa Teamsters rally for a strong contract

By Simon Rowe

Tampa Teamsters prepare to strike.

Tampa, Fl – On Friday June 30, 100 Teamsters rallied outside the Tampa UPS building for the union’s national practice picketing call to action. UPS drivers rallied first before their start time with a second rally happening for-part timers after they left the early morning or preload shift. June 30 was the deadline the International Brotherhood of Teamsters gave UPS for their best and final economic proposal.

The week before, the Teamsters received UPS’s counter proposal for the economics of the contract. The bargaining committee was outraged at the small raises and cost of living increases. IBT president Sean O’Brien announced in a statement that a strike against UPS seemed imminent.

Teamsters Local 79 organized practice picketing across multiple buildings in west central Florida on June 29 and 30. Outside the Acline building near Ybor city, UPSers held signs saying, “Just practicing for a just contract” and listened to Local 79 leadership explain the counterproposal, the Southern Region supplement, and the importance of being strike ready by August 1.

“We should all take the economic counter-proposal personally, that's what they think our hard work and sacrifice is actually worth, if we have to we will show what it's actually worth,” said Hector Medina, trustee of Teamsters Local 79.

Full-timers and part-timers participated in both rallies. Teamsters who struck in 1997 shared the importance of not crossing the picket line to younger UPSers. Local 79 will host a meeting in July educating members on proposed changes to the Southern Region supplement.

Later that day, the Teamsters announced that UPS would give another economic counter proposal by July 5.

“It's time the company takes these negotiations seriously. We worked hard day and night through the COVID pandemic and UPS has raked in almost double the profits they were making before,” said Gage LaCharite, member of Teamsters Local 79.

There is one month left until the end of the UPS contract and the potential start of the biggest single employer strike in U.S. history. Until then, the Teamsters will continue to educate the membership on being strike ready.

#TampaFL #PeoplesStruggles #Teamsters #TeamstersLocal79