Fired Workers to UPS: “Put People Over Profit”
Today, UPS workers who were wrongfully terminated rallied with Teamsters Local 804, Joint Council 16, Kathryn Garcia, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, community leaders such as Harold Miller, Moumita Ahmed, Felicia Singh and more in front of the UPS Laurelton facility to fight for their jobs back and hold UPS accountable.
Earlier this month UPS wrongfully terminated 10 part-time workers of color who declined to work overtime. Every one of the UPS employees completed their assignments and punched out without incident. Now, all of these workers — who work multiple jobs to survive — are without income and health insurance. Two are over seven months pregnant and have to pay out of pocket to visit a doctor. One worker has a young child, another has a child with special needs.
“I’m 8 months pregnant trying to work. It makes no sense why I am being treated like this. I need my health insurance,” said fired worker, Annie Green.
“I work for my benefits and deserve respect,” said fired worker, Jannae Reese.
Vinny Perrone, the President of Teamsters Local 804, who represents these and approximately 8,000 other UPS workers in and around New York City said, “What UPS, a fortune 50 company has done and is doing to its essential workers is a travesty. We demand reinstatement and backpay for our unjustly fired members. UPS has lined their pockets during the pandemic and must stop treating our Teamsters Local 804 brothers and sisters as expendable workers.”
“Like 32BJ members, our brothers and sisters who are members of the Teamsters Local 804 have been called essential workers during the pandemic, but UPS is treating the group of ten workers fired as if they are disposable, and we will not stand for that,” said SEIU 32BJ President Kyle Bragg. “These workers were responsible to their part-time jobs, but it’s not right to expect overtime work that forces them to neglect additional work they need to support their families. The fact that two of the workers are soon to give birth only adds insult to injury. Our union members stand with our essential brothers and sisters in the Teamsters in their fight to get treated with dignity and respect on the job.”
Dozens of elected officials, community leaders have stood in solidarity with the fired men and women over the past week including Comptroller Scott Stringer, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Former DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, Assemblymember David Weprin, and more.
“I am proud to stand with Teamsters Local 804 to demand justice and dignity for the 10 workers wrongfully terminated by UPS. It is inexcusable for a Fortune 100 company to fire part-time, minimum-wage essential workers for not working “voluntary” overtime hours-especially in the midst of a global pandemic,” said NYC mayoral candidate Kathryn Garcia. “I’m running for mayor to rebuild a healthier, more livable city that truly works for everyone. We can only build that city if our industries pay their employees decent, living wages. No New Yorker should be forced to work multiple jobs just to keep a roof over their head and access health care. Everyone deserves a living wage. Everyone deserves affordable health care for their families. And all workers deserve a union. I applaud Teamsters Local 804 for standing up for what’s right.”
“Let’s not mince words: the way UPS has treated these workers is flat-out cruel,” said Comptroller Scott Stringer. “Through the pandemic, while so many people stayed home and ordered online more than ever, these New Yorkers came to work every day and kept our economy and our city running. And in exchange for their sacrifice, these parents working multiple minimum-wage jobs to support their kids were fired. New York City is a union town – when companies take advantage of workers, we stand up and fight back. I want to commend my friends and partners in Local 804, who have been protesting for days. I’m proud to be standing with them at every turn until the bosses get the message and rehire these workers.”
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said “Queens will forever and always stand with our essential workers. What UPS has done here – inhumanely treating and firing the very workers who fuel our borough – is sickening. Shame on UPS for taking such callous action against its own employees, in violation of the values the proud union borough of Queens hold dear,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “To the workers of Teamsters Local 804, we’re with you. Queens has your back.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams stated, “In the middle of a pandemic, when working people are suffering, it is simply immoral for any company to treat workers this way-especially a company that is making more and more money while lower income communities and communities of color struggle with less and less. These brave workers should be rehired immediately at higher pay, and apologized to by the management of UPS. Anything less is an insult to them, this community and the hard-working people of New York.”
“Character is doing what’s right even when no one is watching. New York is full of character. So today we are calling on UPS to do what is right while we all watch. Thanks to the hard work of Teamsters Local 804, we are all aware of the injustice that has been perpetrated and coming together as a community. Now, UPS, a powerful Fortune 50 company, needs to do what is right and reinstate these workers, the unseen heroes who kept the city running through the pandemic” said Assemblymember David Weprin, candidate for NYC Comptroller.
“UPS management put these warehouse workers in an untenable position- work overtime without pay or be fired and lose your health insurance. It’s plainly outrageous in a pandemic, but it’s also personal for me: my mother was a unionized grocery worker who held down three jobs to keep me and my seven siblings fed and healthy. If she’d had to face down the same deal it would’ve cost our family dearly. I am proud to stand in solidarity with Teamsters Local 804 today and everyday, because if we’re truly committed to creating a city that works for all, we have to put the people who keep it going first,” said Jimmy Van Bramer, Deputy Leader of the New York City Council and candidate for Queens Borough President.