RHODE ISLAND TEAMSTERS BLOW THE WHISTLE ON UPS MANAGEMENT
When a UPS supervisor at the UPS facility in Warwick, Rhode Island continued to serial harass Teamsters, Local 251 “blew the whistle.”
For months, members on the preload shift filed grievances against a supervisor who harassed and humiliated employees. More than a dozen members filed harassment grievances with no response from management.
The final straw came when the supervisor screamed at a hearing-impaired employee and told the shop steward, “I don’t give a crap about his handicap.”
When management continued to postpone grievance meetings, members took action. On February 18, shop stewards distributed leaflets and over 400 whistles to drivers and inside employees at shift change.
“A lot of members hadn’t heard about the issue. Once they did, they wanted to send the message that we have each other’s backs,” said Jack Warren, the lead steward for the drivers.
“We let everyone know what was going on. Drivers were blowing the whistles as they went inside. The leaflets were everywhere,” said Matt Knowlton, the chief steward for the preload. “When we came back to work that night, members were blowing the whistles like crazy. That definitely got management’s attention and turned up the heat.”
The next morning, management stopped stonewalling and met with the member and union representatives. The supervisor was demoted and lost his position as the number two boss on the shift.
“It’s been a rough year. This was a real morale booster,” Knowlton said.
“The message is clear. If you have a situation, your union has your back.” Warren said.