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UPS Teamsters hold practice picket on South Side of Chicago

By Haden Kersting

UPS Teamsters picket line in South Side of Chicago, Illinois.

Chicago IL – 70 workers and community members marched outside of UPS’s Morgan Street Hub on the South Side of Chicago, July 11. This was one of many practice pickets that the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 705, is organizing at UPS centers across the Chicago area. This comes as negotiations between the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the United Parcel Service (UPS) remain at a standstill, primarily over pay for part-time workers.

“We are here to build our leverage and our unity to force UPS back to the table,” said union steward Anthony Taylor. He continued, “There are no part-time Teamster members, there are just Teamster members. We know those Teamsters that work part-time at UPS deserve a much better deal, and we are going to fight with them and alongside them.”

Taylor led the crowd in a march around the UPS hub. Passersby could see the crowd of people chanting, most of them wearing the well-recognized brown UPS uniforms. In one chant, Taylor asked the crowd, “How do we get $25 an hour?” to which the crowd responded, “Teamster power!”

The Teamsters are pushing for UPS to raise wages for part-time workers to a base of $25 per hour. Many part-time workers currently take home $15.50 per hour and are only guaranteed about 18 hours of work per week. While the Teamsters have already won an end to the two-tier system that had affected drivers, the issue of wages for the part-time workers, who perform the physically intensive task of loading and sorting packages at the warehouse, remains the primary sticking point in negotiations.

Several groups showed up in solidarity, including members of the Chicago Teachers Union, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the United Auto Workers. Also in attendance was Alderman Byron Sigcho Lopez of the 25th Ward. Lopez addressed the crowd, speaking about the importance of building solidarity and achieving integrity for the 340,000 UPS workers who form part of the “backbone of the economy.”

The current contract expires at 12 a.m. on August 1. If Teamsters and UPS do not reach an agreement by this time, it will likely result in the largest single-employer strike in United States history. This is expected to have a dramatic impact on the distribution of goods across the U.S.

#ChicagoIL #Teamsters #strike #UPS