SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Dozens of UPS workers and members of Teamsters Labor Union Local 2785 practiced picketing for a potential strike, outside the San Francisco facility on San Bruno Avenue.
The union claims the company has walked away from contract negotiations, but the company claims the same of the union. With nearly a month left to go, Tuesday morning's picketing exercise also highlighted what a strike could mean for those of us at home.
As the group marched around the building, it brought with it a representation of what could soon be reality for UPS workers across the Bay Area.
Union leaders explained the rehearsal is meant to help prepare workers to strike if a contract isn't reached by the end of the month.
"A lot of the generation now has never experienced this before," Joseph Cilia with Teamsters Local 2785 told ABC7 News. "In '97 I did experience it, but there's few of us still left here from '97."
He continued, "So this is really important for the new generation to kind of let them know that they have a voice and this is a way to exercise it."
Cilia certainly exercised his voice during the practice, as he led the group over loudspeaker. He said the morning's rehearsal around the facility sends a clear message to management. And among the union's top demands is maintaining health and welfare.
"It's very costly to live out in the Bay Area," he said. "To sort of have a premium to pay on top of everything else is unmanageable."
He also mentioned pay for part-time workers must be improved.
"It's a part time gig, but it's very, very important to this industry," he told ABC7 News.
San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton throwing his support behind UPS workers. He said, "We want to make sure that the people who kept us moving during the pandemic, the folks who continue to make our economy move are treated fairly."
Cilia added, "There was no COVID pay, there was no COVID relief for them. So it was very difficult."
"Now it's time for ups to pay plain and simple," he said.
However, in a recent company release, UPS claims with nearly a month until deadline, it's the Teamsters that have stopped negotiating. The company warning, doing so can create significant issues among employees and customers, and even threatens to disrupt the U.S. economy.
Cilia recalled, "A couple folks came up to me because they knew I was an official. Saying, 'Hey look, you can't not deliver my packages on August 1,' I said, 'Well, you better order your packages now.'"
In a statement, UPS said in part: "We plan and expect to reach agreement on a new contract before the end of July that is a win for our employees, our company and customers and the union."
The union also plans to hold practice picketing demonstrations in both the San Bruno and Menlo Park locations as well, in the next few days.
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