ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Hundreds of UPS workers were in Albuquerque Saturday morning protesting for a pay raise and better working conditions.
Local union workers filled the street in front of the UPS call center at Comanche.
They say this isn’t a strike yet, but workers across the country are asserting themselves after UPS and the Teamsters union’s contract negotiations stalled last week.
“We’re just letting the company know that we want a fair contract for all of our members here in the state of New Mexico and nationwide,” said Andrew Palmer, Teamsters Local #492 secretary-treasurer.
The Teamsters represent about 340,000 full-time and part-time UPS workers nationwide, according to the union.
On July 31[ads1], their contract is set to expire – and the union and UPS have yet to come to an agreement that meets the needs of both.
“Right now we’re barely making it,” said Quentin Baker, a part-time UPS employee. “I had to get a new job just to make ends meet with my family, and a safer work environment in general.”
Some workers brought their families to protest.
“We want to be able to spend time with our kids, but this is also for our kids, to show them that we need to stand up, that we need to be strong,” said Johnny Chavez, a UPS driver.
Another UPS driver said she stood with her mother in 1994 when UPS workers went on strike, and now she’s back out here 29 years later.
“I was actually in the strike in 1994 as a kid,” Amanda Kimbrel said. “So I saw how important it was then, and it’s even more important now.”
If no agreement is reached, workers say a strike is imminent.
“We don’t want to hit — that’s the last thing we want,” Kimbrel said. “It will affect everyone across the board, including the economy. But we will strike if we are pushed to do so.”