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Officials stand up for fired UPS workers

Stephon Johnson | 4/10/2014, 12:31 p.m.

United Parcel Service workers are fighting back over the loss of their jobs.

Last week, elected officials, union members and community activists rallied on the steps of City Hall to denounce the firing of 250 employees by UPS after they protested their mistreatment at a Queens facility. The firings were preceded by UPS workers walking out briefly in late February. Those workers were protesting the termination of Jairo Reyes, a union activist for Local 804 and a 24-year employee.

Local 804 President Tim Sylvester said that someone like Reyes shouldn’t have to be sacrificed for fighting for his rights.

“UPS takes millions of dollars from the city and yet it’s going to bankrupt 250 families just because our guys stood up for a fellow worker,” said Sylvester in a statement. All parties are calling on UPS to revoke the 250 terminations immediately.

Along with Local 804, members from unions like the New York State Nurses Association, Communications Workers of America, Transit Workers Union and other Teamster locals were at City Hall to provide support. Elected officials were on hand as well.

“You deliver the packages, but we are here to deliver a message to UPS,” said New York City Public Advocate Letitia James. “We urge you to come to the table.”

“My message today for UPS is simple: Respect your workers,” stated New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. “Nobody should lose their job simply for standing up for their fellow employees, especially at a time when so many New Yorkers are struggling to make ends meet.” The comptroller asked for UPS to “come to the table in good faith.”

Currently, UPS has a $43 million contract with New York City and state agencies and participates in a city program that reduces fines the company pays on parking tickets they collect every year. According to reports, between 2006 and 2013, the UPS reduced fines it had to pay the city from $20 million to close to $4 million.

In a statement, state Sen. Tony Avella said he was alarmed to learn that UPS “had issued notices of termination to 250 of its drivers. I stand with Teamsters Local 804 and call on UPS to do the right thing and immediately reinstate the employment of these hardworking men and women.”