Posts tagged Labor Notes
Sean O’Brien’s summer of the strike
June 26, 2023 // It’s the spark for the combative spirit that permeates Teamsters headquarters, where a whiteboard charts a long-term battle plan on a timeline — “practice picketing,” “CAT trainings” (for “contract action teams”), “identify strike teams” … and finally, on the July 31 spot that marks the end of the current contract: “STRIKE.” Why strike now? As O’Brien himself acknowledged in his Senate testimony, UPS already offers the most plum jobs in the logistics industry, with driver salaries starting at $93,000. But O’Brien argues that the pandemic gave UPS workers the greatest leverage they’ve had in decades. In 2020, union members risked their health to keep packages moving. UPS’s profits surged and have remained high, with customers still hooked on the online shopping habits they adopted during the lockdowns. “Our members are fed up” and remain convinced, he said, that “the only concern that was being addressed was UPS’s bottom line and their balance sheet.” No better time, O’Brien reasons, for workers to go to the mat to demand wages beginning at $20 an hour, tighter safety provisions and an end to the two-tier employment system ushered in by the last contract.