Teamsters Local 804 on April 9 announced that UPS in New York City had rescinded the mass firings of 250 of its delivery drivers.
After the firings, Local 804 leaders and members organized a public outreach campaign that galvanized widespread community support for the fired workers.
“We are grateful for the enormous outpouring of support from UPS customers, progressive elected officials, and the public,” read a statement by Local 804. “It was that support that saved the jobs of the 250 drivers.”
After meeting with Local 804 leaders on April 8, UPS agreed to rehire Jairo Reyes, a long-time driver whose unjust firing led to a work stoppage by 250 drivers at UPS’ Maspeth depot in the New York City borough of Queens.
UPS also agreed to rescind the terminations of 36 drivers who had been fired for participating in the work stoppage and the termination proceedings against the rest of the drivers who had participated.
In February, UPS fired Reyes, a Local 804 member and activists who had resisted management attempts to harass and bully workers, without following procedures established in the collective bargaining agreement.
Reyes’ firing was a tipping point for many workers who believed that UPS’ overly aggressive management style had become intolerable.
Speaking at a rally in support of the fired UPS drivers, Domenick Dedomenico described the immense pressure that UPS drivers work under.
Dedomenico, a UPS driver for ten years, had suffered a serious head injury in 2012 while on the job. The injury left him in a coma for ten days.
After he regained consciousness, he struggled through a year of rehabilitation before who could return to work in 2014.
After he was on the job for a short time, he was suspended for two days because his delivery rate was two deliveries short of what it had been before his life-threatening injury.
Dedomenico was one of the 250 drivers who walked off the job to support Reyes and one of those who the company fired for participating in the work stoppage.
According to the union, the firings of Dedomenico and others who supported the work stoppage was an act of intimidation aimed at scaring workers from standing up for their rights under the collective bargaining agreement.
UPS justified its intimidation tactics in the name of good customer service. A spokesperson for the company said that UPS owed it to its customers to fire workers who disrupted service.
The union responded with an outreach campaign to UPS customers. More than 100,000 people signed a petition supporting the fired drivers.
UPS CEO Scott Davis received more than 3,000 calls urging the company to reinstate the drivers.
Customers served by the fired drivers posted messages of support for the fired drivers on UPS’ Facebook page and Twitter account.
In Atlanta, the home of UPS’ headquarters, company executives received a terse email from customer Lisa White, a real estate agent.
“There is no need for long emails and nasty words,” wrote White in her email. “We will let our actions speak for themselves. As of today, April 3, 2014, 125 Real Estate agents throughout the Atlanta, GA area have canceled their services with your company. Until Jairo Reyes and the 250 employees fired for speaking up for what is “Right” are returned back to the company, we will continue to spread the word and have as many accounts canceled as possible.”
“The support has been amazing,” said Steve Curcio, one of the first 20 drivers that UPS fired in response to the outpouring of customer support for the fired drivers.
Local 804 also reached out to public officials.
At a rally in support of the fired drives, New York Public Advocate Leticia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer suggested that UPS’ public subsidies could be in jeopardy if the mass firings were allowed to stand.
US Representatives Grace Meng and Joseph Crowley, whose constituents were directly affected by the firings, sent UPS a joint letter supporting the fired drivers and urging UPS to halt the firings.
After UPS announced that it was rescinding the firings, Local 804 issued a statement thanking everyone for their support and congratulated the drivers and their families for “standing together through this ordeal and winning their return to work with respect and dignity.”
“We all look forward to turning the page and getting back to serving our customers,” concluded the statement.