On February 23, over 500 Teamsters from across Northern and Central California came together at UPS’ San Francisco building to protest the company’s decision to slash wages by up to $6/hour for part-timers. The event was sponsored by the Nor Cal Teamster UPS Committee and Teamsters Joint Council 7. UPS workers and Teamster supporters came from across the Bay Area and as far as Fresno, Watsonville, and Sacramento. The Local had a huge turnout from the Sunnyvale and Watsonville hubs.
“This company recorded record profits in 2021, Peter Nuñez, Chair of the Nor Cal Teamsters UPS Committee told the demonstrators. “They raised prices on their customers in 2021. What did they do in 2022? They reduced the wages of their already lowest-paid workers.” He added that the $6/hour pay cut comes out to about $5500/year. “It probably doesn’t sound like much to UPS CEO Carol Tomé, who makes millions, but it’s pulling the rug out from under thousands of families.”
“Our members have been working through this pandemic to keep UPS running, made them billions in profit, then they turn around and slash the lowest-paid workers – it’s disgraceful,” said Jason Rabinowitz, President of Teamsters Joint Council 7. “We are gearing up for a fight when we bargain our next contract with UPS. We are going to have to stand together as Teamsters and force UPS to be fair to workers, and that’s what we are doing today”
State Senator Scott Weiner was joined on stage by several San Francisco Supervisors, including President Shamann Walton, Rafael Mandelman, Dean Preston, and Aaron Peskin. They all pledged that they will stand with the workers and speak strongly against the pay cuts. “We are in the middle of a pandemic and your wages are being messed with. That’s something we’re not going to stand for,” said Walton. “We’ll stand with you to tell UPS that you cannot play games with people’s salaries or their livelihoods.”
Part-timers Melissa Castro and Yvette Osuno (both part-timers at Sunnyvale UPS and Local 853 members), told the crowd about their experiences. Both are struggling single mothers who have very long commutes. Neither they nor their co-workers had received advanced notice of the significant pay cut.
Rabinowitz explained that while Northern California took the lead with these protests, they’ve been picked up by Teamster locals around the country, including in Southern California and Philadelphia. “We’re Teamsters Rising!”
January Day of Action at eight UPS Hubs
On January 27, Local 853-represented UPS members filled the UPS San Jose parking lot to protest the company’s sudden declaration that they would cut the pay for part-timers by $6 per hour. This comes despite the company having made record-breaking profits in 2021 and recently increasing prices for their customers.
“UPS has grown during the pandemic with the explosion in online shopping,” said UPS NorCal Committee Chair Peter Nuñez. “Our members worked non-stop to earn the company billions in profits, yet UPS failed to give them hazard pay. Now UPS is choosing to cut part-timers’ pay back to minimum wage levels. This is unconscionable.”
This event was one of eight that were held the same morning across Northern California and Northern Nevada.
The Teamsters Union is entering into contract negotiations with UPS this year. The collective bargaining agreement covers roughly 325,000 workers across America, the largest agreement of its kind in the country.