UPS fires hundreds of drivers after they protest

The workers were upset about the dismissal of a fellow employee. Now local lawmakers are threatening retaliation.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 3, 2014 1:07PM
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UPS truck in New York CityBy Hayley Peterson, Business Insider

UPS (UPS) is firing 250 Queens, N.Y., drivers for walking off the job during a 90-minute protest in February. 

The company dismissed 20 of the workers after their shifts Monday and issued notices of termination to another 230 employees, notifying them that they will be fired once the company has trained their replacements, UPS spokesman Steve Gaut told Business Insider.

The workers were protesting the dismissal of longtime employee and union activist Jairo Reyes, who was fired over an hours dispute, according to Gaut. The New York Daily News first reported on the firings.

Local politicians are threatening to cancel city contracts that give UPS millions of dollars in breaks on parking fines.

"They took a grievance with one employee and turned it into notices of termination with 250 workers," New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer told The Queens Courier. "That’s outrageous. These are good, hardworking employees who have a contract for UPS. To try and break this contract, break this union, is something that is unacceptable and we can’t tolerate."

UPS fired back that it might need to terminate additional employees if the city alters its contract.

"UPS appreciates its business with the New York public offices," Gaut said. "Ultimately if that business is reduced or eliminated, the result will be reduced need for UPS employees to serve the pick-up and delivery requirements of City offices, potentially impacting the livelihoods of the many local UPS employees that did not join in the illegal work stoppage."

UPS employs 1,400 workers at the Maspeth distribution center where the strike took place on Feb. 26. 

"When a group of 250 employees walk out for 90 minutes it is a significant disruption in the delivery of parcels or packages to customers on that day," Gaut said. "We get penalties if we don't deliver on time."

For that reason, strikes are not an approved method of conflict resolution in UPS' contract with the union, he said.

The local branch of the Teamsters union that represents the dismissed workers has described the firings as "a heartless attack on drivers and their families."

"The company fired a group of drivers to try to divide us, create panic, or try to get Local 804 to cave in and sell out. That is not going to happen," the union wrote on its website

One of the workers facing dismissal had just returned to his job after a serious accident, according to the Daily News.

"Domenick DeDomenico, 40, was in a coma for 10 days after getting hit by a car last year while delivering packages for UPS," The Daily News' Ginger Adams Otis reported. "He fought back from serious brain injuries and needed a year of speech and physical therapy."

More from Business Insider

Apr 3, 2014 1:46PM
I'm in a union and know quite well what happens if you violate the union contract.  You can get fired and the company is well within its rights to do so.  UPS has obligations to meet and pays a good wage to their employees to meet those obligations.  The Teamsters can spin it anyway they want, but notice they don't say these members are not at fault?  As for the injured employee who returned to work, I bet UPS paid or helped pay the medical expenses/ insurance for On the Job Injury.  Don't believe the spin, read the facts. Bad decisions make bad outcomes.
Apr 3, 2014 1:20PM
You walk off the job you get fired. Simple. I would tell the city to shove it up there ****, and stay out of what does not concern them.
Apr 3, 2014 1:32PM
 Good for UPS.  I applaud them.  And, by the way FORMER UPS employees, if you don't show up for work and you get fired.  It's right there in your UNION contract.  You should read it.
Apr 3, 2014 1:55PM
So actions have consequences?  Who knew?
Apr 3, 2014 1:36PM
Our country is falling apart from the inside out with protests like this......just like Rome....Agree with jdmeck... You walk off the job, you get fired.......
Apr 3, 2014 2:01PM
I am sure there are a lot of other hardworking people who are looking for jobs. 250 openings now available at UPS.  Good for them. Politicians are idiots.
Apr 3, 2014 1:56PM
I agree, these employees violated their own Union contract by walking off the job. They should be fired and to hell with the City for interfering with their business.
Apr 3, 2014 2:04PM
I worked at UPS for 5 years as a Part-time supervisor (paying my way through college).  Most people there were fine, some ****-hat managers and some ****-hat union guys.  Bottom line was that people are people no matter what side of the hustle they decided to be on.  But yes, if you walk off the job then you get fired.  That's how the real world works.  That is what happened to supervisors who decided to leave early or skip out on work and the same with the teamsters.  UPS  has to pay for packages that aren't delivered on time.  I do not believe these employees would like pay UPS out of there pocket for the packages THEY were supposed to deliver in a TIMELY manner.  If you wanted to keep your HIGH PAYING BLUE COLLAR JOB then you should have.......uhhh.....done it. 
I support UPS totally and the city needs to go to hell and mind it's own business. This is another example of unions ruining this nation.
Apr 3, 2014 2:04PM
Good for  UPS .. a ccompany with balzzz not afraid to take on Union  thugs. You walk off the job ...KEEP ON WALKING UNTIL YOU FINF ANOTHER JOB.
Apr 3, 2014 2:05PM
Based on the responses to the story, it would appear readers favor UPS' actions by a margin of about 10 to 1.  Mr Jimmy Van Bramer would appear to be on the wrong side of this issue.  I wonder if voters will remember this when it comes time to vote??? 
Apr 3, 2014 1:36PM
Domenick DeDomenico, 40, was in a coma for 10 days after getting hit by a car last year while delivering packages for UPS," The Daily News' Ginger Adams Otis reported. "He fought back from serious brain injuries and needed a year of speech and physical therapy."
  Well then, DOM, maybe you shouldn't have put your job on the line. 
Apr 3, 2014 1:45PM
You have to believe the union did every thing they could for Jairo Reyes when he was in trouble. Why do something over the line? I guess that explains why it was only 250. UPS is most likely happy because these were the hot heads and trouble makers.
Apr 3, 2014 2:07PM
OORAH for UPS. The union, any union, should not be allowed to disrupt any business by 'walking off the job', that applies to political hacks as well. Work or be fired.
Apr 3, 2014 2:14PM
There is a new mayor in town and he is a left winger.  Suddenly the union believes that they can change the rules of their union contract on the fly.  Any connection here?  The union believes they are the tail wagging the dog but they quickly have forgotten who writes their paycheck.  UPS did the right thing and sent a strong message.  The union needs to shut their pie-holes and get to work!
Apr 3, 2014 1:58PM

Think those union guys might be able to get a job at .. HOSTESS..?


Apr 3, 2014 1:49PM
too much competition these days. only a matter of time before ups blows off the teamsters union just like it was Reaganomics all over again. kind of surprises me they lasted this long. they will eventually replace them with contract labor that works for half as much. 
Apr 3, 2014 1:43PM
This is just the beginning of this battle .
Apr 3, 2014 1:31PM
Is it true that you can't get UE if you are fired for just cause?
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