UPS Teamsters across country mourn co-worker murdered by cops
Miami, FL – UPS Teamsters across the country are participating in a nationwide moment of silence today, December 9, for #Frank Ordonez, the 27-year-old UPS package car driver killed in a police shootout after being taken hostage by armed robbers. Many Teamsters are questioning the tactics used by police, noting that the officers’ trigger-happy actions were not normal for a hostage situation and resulted in not only the death of Frank Ordonez but the death of union representative Rick Cutshaw and endangered the lives of many others.
The moment of silence took place at 5 p.m. Eastern Time, the time Frank Ordonez’s memorial service began. Many delivery drivers stopped working and parked their trucks in the midst of the busiest season of the year to pay their respects to Frank Ordonez. Not only UPS drivers, but FedEx, Holland, R+L Carriers and even a fire truck participated. The call for the nationwide moment of silence began on social media and quickly went viral with many UPS Teamsters sharing the call on their own profiles. The nationwide action was not just limited to drivers but also included inside workers who wrote “#Frank” in the dirt on the backs of trailers and trucks and posted signs inside their buildings.
The official statement from UPS, where the company thanked the police officers for their “service,” has made a number of Teamsters wonder which side the company is on.
“UPS didn't even mention Frank Ordonez’s name in their tweet about it, but they defended and praised the police, the people who killed him. It definitely tells me how little they care about us; how disposable we all are,” said Emily Butt, a UPS Teamster out of Lansing, Michigan.
This is not the first time a Teamster has been murdered by police. Last year, a young part-time UPS Teamster, Elijah Smith, was killed fleeing from police, searching for a place to hide. Philando Castile, a school cafeteria worker, was murdered by a police officer in 2016 at a traffic stop.
Darwin Argueta, a part-timer at UPS out of Salt Lake City, Utah said of Ordonez, “It just saddens me deeper to know how excited he must’ve been working his first day alone. We all remember and look forward to that.”
It’s clear that police officers need accountability from the public in order for these senseless murders of working people to be stopped. Community control of the police, a main demand of the newly refounded National Alliance against Racist and Political Repression, provides the model for such accountability.
UPS recently rolled out “Follow My Delivery” a service that allows some customers to see exactly where the UPS truck is via GPS. Many drivers are criticizing UPS for neglecting their safety, as the tracking puts UPS workers at risk of violent attack.