Here’s The Story Behind The Strike That Got 250 UPS Workers Fired

Jairo Reyes  

Jairo Reyes is shown talking to UPS workers in video of a UPS strike.

UPS recently fired 250 Queens, N.Y., employees for staging a 90-minute strike in February to protest the dismissal of one of their co-workers, Jairo Reyes.

The story has been widely reported, but little has been said about why Reyes — a 49-year-old longtime employee of UPS and a union activist — was fired in the first place.

We spoke to UPS and Reyes to get their sides of the story.

UPS said it dismissed Reyes on Feb. 14 because he repeatedly clocked in earlier than his shift was set to start, which resulted in his being paid overtime for hours that he allegedly didn’t work.

“There was a disagreement over the hours he clocked and the hours he actually worked, and we discharged him after several warnings,” UPS spokesman Steve Gaut told Business Insider.

The early clock-ins were reported over a period of five days, Gaut said. Reyes was officially fired for “admitted dishonesty.”

But Reyes said he had a manager’s approval to clock in early, beginning around Jan. 6. That same manager later denied giving approval for the new schedule, and Reyes was subsequently fired, he told Business Insider in an interview. 

Reyes has alleged that the manager was retaliating against him for signing a grievance in early February about senior workers’ hours. Reyes said he was never given a warning before he was fired.

“It broke my heart,” said Reyes, a married father of two and a 24-year UPS veteran. “I was out on disability for a year, and I come back thinking I’m going to be able to get back on my feet. Now my daughter is getting ready to go to college and I’m worried. I still have a $13,000 payment to make for her to go to school.”

According to the union, Teamsters Local 804, the firing violated an “innocent until proven guilty” clause that allows terminated employees to continue working until they have had an opportunity to defend themselves in a hearing with union and UPS officials.

That hearing was eventually held on Feb. 26 at the Maspeth distribution facility where Reyes worked, and his termination was upheld. Immediately following the meeting, Reyes walked out of the facility with about 250 workers in tow.

Alleged video of the walkout shows Reyes standing in a circle of UPS workers outside the facility and giving an impassioned speech against UPS.

“Without us, there is no UPS,” he’s heard shouting to the crowd. “Why do we get kicked down — because we filed a grievance? Because we want things done right? … Are they not creating an environment of hostility? Everything we do is wrong … It’s not fair to be kicked around. We gotta unite!”

Toward the end of the video, an unidentified man explains that he’s spoken to UPS and union officials, and orders all the workers to return to their jobs. The strike lasted 90 minutes.

UPS employs 1,400 workers at the Maspeth distribution center. The company is firing 250 employees who took part in the walkout.

The company maintains that the 250 firings are totally unrelated to Reyes’ dismissal. 

Strikes are not an approved method of conflict resolution in UPS’ contract with the union, so the company has the right to fire employees engaging in a walkout, Gaut said.

“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.”

Hayley Peterson Business Insider

UPS vs 250 Drivers…….. How you can help


The Video that Tells It Like It Is:

Customers Tell UPS: Don’t Fire My Driver


UPS Executive Mark Kemper told the Daily News that the company is firing 250 drivers in New York because: “We believe that we owe it to our customers.”


But UPS customers say the company owes them something else.  The customers wants UPS to keep the drivers that have served them for years. 



Fired Local 804 drivers have launched an outreach campaign to talk to customers about what UPS is doing to drivers and their families. The response has been overwhelming.


More than 3,000 calls have been logged to UPS CEO Scott Davis. Customers are posting messages on the company’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.  They’re also taking photos with their drivers to show their support.


“The support has been amazing,” said Steve Curcio. “We’ll keep going out there and talking with every customer, until all 250 drivers get our jobs back. Our message is simple. We love our customers and we want to get back to doing our jobs and to be treated with dignity and respect.”


Fired Local 804 Members  Speak Out on MSNBC

Over 90% in MSNBC Poll Say UPS Should Rehire the Fired Drivers in Maspeth


Fired drivers Jairo Reyes and Domenick Dedomenico spoke out on MSNBC’s number one rated daytime program.


As America hears our story, the calls from the public grow louder for UPS to stop the firings and rehire all fired workers in Maspeth. Over 90% of respondents to MSNBC’s Gut Check poll say UPS should rehire the 250 drivers.


Vote in the MSNBC online poll and answer the question:  “Do you think that UPS should rehire the 250 fired workers?”” target=_blank>Watch the MSNBC video with Jairo and Dedom at

United Parcel Service Fires 250 Drivers





Another tale from the ever-expanding wonderland of corporate abuse.

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.

Of course, there is more going on here than a simple case of corporate retaliation. The workers are unionized. The Teamsters Union is purportedly barred in their contract with UPS from going on strike, although the terms of that contract are not publicly available.  Whether a 90-minute work stoppage to protest a co-workers’ firing actually constitutes a “strike” is another question.

Reyes, a UPS employee for 24 years, had been fired by the company for alleged “dishonesty” when he admitted to starting a shift early with the verbal approval of a manager. He had previously brought a grievance against two co-workers asserting that junior co-workers were barred by seniority from beginning their shifts before more senior drivers.  It appears indisputable that his firing was the impetus behind the 90-minute work stoppage, which occurred on February 26.

The retaliatory action against what amounts to half of the Queens, N.Y. UPS fleet of drivers has sparked considerable anger among local politicians, who have threatened to eliminate UPS’ sweet deal with New York City through a Department of Finance program which essentially allows UPS to park its vehicles freely while making deliveries, without fear of ticketing.  That deal saved the corporation sixteen million dollars in fines last year alone.

UPS confirmed that it participates in the city program that expedites ticket payment and in some cases halves or wipes out penalties. But a spokesman refused to say how much the stipulated fine program saved the company.

However, city data from 2006 shows UPS paid nearly $20 million in parking fines that year. That amount fell to $1 million a quarter for parking fines in 2013, after Mayor Bloomberg created the stipulated-fine program, according to published reports.

But the company evidently feels that breaking the union is worth the risk.  Even if 250 people are left without means to support their families.

Responding to the point that it currently enjoys 43 million dollars worth of government contracts with the City, UPS’ spokesman suggested that any attempt to cut those contracts would simply result in more firings:

“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.”
Think Progress points out:
While the details of the contract between the Teamsters and UPS are not known, all workers, both unionized and non-unionized, are supposed to be able to strike without being fired. Late last year, in fact, the National Labor Relations Board decided to prosecute Walmart for violating that law.
Under the National Labor Relations Act:

Effect of no-strike contract. A strike that violates a no-strike provision of a contract is not protected by the Act, and the striking employees can be discharged or otherwise disciplined, unless the strike is called to protest certain kinds of unfair labor practices committed by the employer.
Whether the 90-minute work stoppage was “legal” or not, the response by UPS in firing 250 drivers for standing up for one co-worker suggests a motivation geared to punishing the union itself rather than redressing any proportionate harm suffered by the company.
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.”


Stand Up for your Rights

When UPS sent 250 workers termination notices for taking part in a protest, you joined over 100,000 people across the country to demand UPS stop workplace retaliation.

That’s why you should be the first to know: UPS chose 20 out of the 250 drivers at random and fired them last night. UPS timed the terminations so that these drivers and their families would lose their healthcare coverage. 

UPS cannot expect to fire these workers without repercussions. We need to ratchet up the pressure immediately and make sure UPS knows we’re paying attention.  

Can you call UPS CEO Scott Davis and tell him to respect their workers and stop workplace retaliation? Click here.

UPS is hoping they can continue to sweep their labor issues under the rug. That’s not going to happen. Working Families Democrats are putting pressure on UPS to rescind the terminations and negotiate a settlement with their union.  

But we need you to make some noise. UPS is a profitable company — and no business can afford to ignore thousands of calls from unhappy consumers.

Click here to call UPS CEO Scott Davis and tell him to revoke the terminations and settle this dispute through dialogue, not intimidation tactics.

In solidarity,

Bill Lipton
Working Families

UPS driver information