Teamsters irate after 10 UPS workers in Queens are abruptly fired for refusing overtime

FILE PHOTO:  The company logo for United Parcel Service (UPS), is displayed  on a screen at the NYSE in New York
FILE PHOTO: The company logo for United Parcel Service (UPS), is displayed on a screen at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 22, 2019. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo)

A labor dispute has erupted at a UPS facility in Queens after 10 part-time employees were unceremoniously canned while trying to get to second jobs and/or due to responsibilities at home, something, the corporation said, created some kinks in the system.

Vinny Perrone, president of Teamsters Local 804, told amNewYork Metro that arbitration is in works especially if the 10 workers – two of whom are pregnant – are not reinstated with backpay to make up for the hours lost since April 13.

According to UPS, terminations were made when employees left the facility at 136-40 Springfield Blvd. without first running it by managers despite their shifts ending.

“Our employees can ask to leave early for personal reasons during their scheduled shift, but in this situation some part-time hourly employees walked out without asking to leave early,” said Matthew O’Connor, a UPS spokesperson. “By walking out, these employees created delays for our customers. Under our collective bargaining agreement with Local 804, a walkout is grounds for termination of employment. We had reached an agreement for these employees to return to work, which was later withdrawn by Local 804. We are open and willing to continue our dialogue to resolve this situation.”

Perrone believes the requirement for part-time employees to work overtime not only has an arbitrary value to the people who are holding down multiple jobs, but that it gives the company too much discretion in making them work longer hours without full-time benefits and punish them for not complying.

Additionally, Perrone said they had not, in the past, checked with supervisors before punching out and on this occasion nobody had asked permission before making requiring them to work the extra hours.

“First of all, they terminated these people without union representation, and they are 100% our 804 brothers and sisters, they were not given a right to hearing, they were not afforded the right to a shop steward, they just took their IDs,” Perrone said. “But we don’t we don’t understand how they can just be so heartless and cold, you know, not only the people that work for them, but the people that work for them who have children and that are expecting children.”

Tabitha Royal is among the women who were called back to work the next day to be fired after agreeing to come in early for work in the past.

“When I was pregnant, I was only doing my three and a half hours, four hours. I was never told to tell a supervisor when I was leaving,” Royal said. “A supervisor tried to discharge me while I was pregnant because I told him I wasn’t doing over four hours … Some days we might work over five hours, six hours. But for them to discharge me just after five hours because we don’t want to work is just crazy to me.”

Royal is a single mother to three children.

Perrone believes that if the members were simply given full-time jobs, they would have completed the necessary shifts instead of leaving to attend to other jobs and their families.