The International Brotherhood of Teamsters does not want President Joe Biden or his administration to interfere in talks, or if UPS workers go on strike, after Biden’s actions stopped last winter’s railroad strike, and Richard Hooker, a secretary-treasurer and principal officer with Teamsters Local 623 in Philadelphia told Newsmax on Tuesday he agrees.
“The international [organization] has reached out to the Biden administration and urged them not to get involved in this UPS struggle,” Hooker told Newsmax’s “Wake Up America.” “We all remember what happened with the railroads and we don’t want that to happen to UPS workers… I hope that he doesn’t get involved.”
Last December, Biden signed legislation that imposed a labor agreement between rail companies and workers to avert a strike just before the holiday season.
The president is a staunch union proponent who had argued against Congress intervening in railway labor disputes, saying that doing so would interfere with union bargaining efforts, but with the railroads, he said there was an exception with the railroads, as a strike would have disrupted supply chains and delayed deliveries.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, leading a coalition of over 250 organizations, sent a letter to Biden asking that he intervene in a potential strike, saying a work stoppage would be “debilitating” to American families and the economy.
Hooker told Newsmax that a major issue under discussion with UPS concerns wages for part-time workers.
“Part-timers make up around 65% of UPS’s total workforce,” he said. “For decades, their wages have been very low, and they’re the backbone of the company. We want to make sure that their wages reflect that right now.”
And then there is the matter of the treatment of workers, Hooker said.
“Right now you can’t buy a car without air conditioning,” he said. “They paid to have the air conditioners taken out of the vehicles because they want the drivers not to be too comfortable while he or she is working. These negotiations have it now where trucks that are purchased after Jan. 1, 2024, will have air conditioning in there.”
The current labor agreement between UPS and the Teamsters ends on July 31, and Hooker said it’s “totally up to the company” whether a new contract will be signed.
“The Teamsters have been more than willing to negotiate,” he said. “We’ve been more than willing to work with the company. At this point, it’s really up to the company on what they want. Do they want the economy to suffer? Do they want their profits to suffer? That’s totally up to them at this point.”
And if the Teamsters do go on strike, that will shut down UPS deliveries, added Hooker.
“UPS moves 6% of the gross domestic product,” he said. “A lot of business owners, a lot of small business owners, a lot of companies, they use UPS to ship and move goods and services throughout the country to their customers.”
UPS ships more than 24 million packages a day, according to reports, but if the Teamsters walk out, those packages will “just sit there” in warehouses rather than being delivered, Hooker said.
“Nothing moves,” he said. “Nothing happens.”
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