Ear Hustle

UPS Fires 250 Queens Drivers After They Protested Against Long-Time Employee’s Dismissal


UPS has delivered a special message to 250 of its Queens drivers: You’re  fired!

The Atlanta-based company is booting 250 of its unionized drivers from its  Maspeth facility because they walked off the job for 90 minutes Feb. 26 to  protest the dismissal of a long-time employee, UPS told the Daily News.

Twenty employees were terminated Monday after their shifts — and the  remaining 230 notified that they’ll be canned as soon as replacements are  trained, a company spokesman said.

“They just called me in … (and) said, ‘Effective immediately, you are no  longer on the payroll,’” said Steve Curcio, 41, a 20-year employee earning $32  an hour.

The mass firing has enraged Tim Sylvester, head of the International  Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 804, especially since the company gets some  lucrative perks from the city.

United Parcel Service has a contract worth $43 million to provide delivery  services to city and state agencies, according to documentation from city  officials.

It’s also enrolled in a Department of Finance program that saves it millions  annually on fines and fees for parking tickets.

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.

“UPS takes millions from the city and yet it’s going to bankrupt 250 families  just because our guys stood up for a fellow worker,” said Sylvester.

A UPS spokesman said the drivers knew their jobs were on the line when they  chose to walk out.

The workers were protesting the firing of Jairo Reyes, a 24-year-employee  and union activist, said Sylvester.

Several city politicians hope to bring both sides to the table for  talks.

“These are middle class jobs that sustain families, and we can ill afford to  have (so many) adversely affected by a rash decision,” said Public Advocate  Letitia James, who’s written UPS a letter asking the company to abandon its  hard-line approach. “We’ve given UPS breaks, particularly as it relates to this  (parking) program,” James said. “They should not treat workers in this  manner.”

One of the workers who faces dismissal just got back on the job following a  near-fatal accident.

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

Cleared to resume work on Jan. 17 , DeDomenico was threatened with dismissal  by UPS even before he joined the Feb. 26 walkout.

“I wasn’t delivering as many packages as before I got hurt,” said the married  dad. He used to clock in at 13 an hour, but now averages between 10 and 11.

“I said I was doing my best and they said I had been better before,” he said. “I said ‘Okay, this is my new best,’ and they said ‘It’s not good enough.’ ”


Source: http://www.nydailynews.com



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