UPS Inc. should make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a paid holiday and not require any unionized employee to work on it, a Teamster dissident group said Monday.
In a statement published to coincide with the holiday, Teamsters United said that if the U.S. Postal Service can respect MLK day as a national holiday, “so can UPS.”
The holiday was first observed on January 20, 1986, three years after President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law.
In a statement received after the story was published, UPS said that it supports employees “using their paid time off based on personal preference. We value the diversity of our workforce and by providing paid time to be used at our employees’ discretion, our employees can honor the dates most important to them.”
The labor group took the King holiday to push for changes in the upcoming contract with UPS (NYSE: UPS). Among the now-familiar proposals are to end the two-tier structure of so-called 22.4 drivers, who are full-time drivers paid less than full-timers and who typically work Tuesday through Saturday shifts. The dissident group demands that all 22.4 drivers be converted to “regular package car drivers” with the same pay and other rights.
Other proposals include creating 25,000 full-time jobs for part-time workers, and to boost starting part-time wages to $30 per hour. The dissident group has also demanded an end to the use of “personal vehicle drivers” who deliver packages using their own vehicles and get reimbursed by the company on a per-mile basis. In addition, it wants UPS to end the subcontracting of road feeder services.
Teamsters United, which remained somewhat on the fringes of union activity during the long reign of General-President James P. Hoffa, who the union opposed, has become more of a mainstream influence with Sean O’ Brien, who the group has supported, at the union’s helm.
Teamsters United played a key role in Fred Zuckerman, who is O’Brien’s second-in-command, almost knocking off Hoffa in 2016. It also was actively involved in electing the O’Brien-Zuckerman ticket in 2022.
The five-year UPS-Teamsters contract, the largest in North America with representation of 350,000 UPS employees, expires on July 31. O’Brien has vowed repeatedly that he will take UPS workers out on strike if a new contract is not agreed to by Aug. 1.