UPS fires about 35 newly organized US workers, Teamsters union says

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -The Teamsters union that represents U.S. workers at United Parcel Service on Thursday said it would respond to the firing of about 35 newly organized workers at the delivery company by filing unfair labor practice charges and potentially striking.

The roughly three dozen affected specialist and administrative workers at UPS’s Centennial hub in Louisville, Kentucky, organized with Teamsters Local 89 this autumn, the union said.

UPS in a statement said that a small number of employees are being laid off at its Louisville Centennial Hub as it matches staffing with business needs.

“UPS respects our employees’ rights to organize and we have not committed any unfair labor practices,” the company said.

International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien in a statement said that UPS laid off those workers despite the ruling of an independent arbitrator and falsely claimed that their work should be performed by management.

“If UPS doesn’t get its act together, they’ll be on strike next. Our union will not hesitate to act, and we will not back down,” said O’Brien, who represented some 340,000 UPS workers in a contract deal reached earlier this year.

UPS said its ratified contract covering Teamsters-represented workers remains intact.

“We are committed to working with the Teamsters to resolve this separate matter with a small number of employees at Centennial,” UPS said, adding that it does not expect disruptions to its Louisville operations.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Jamie Freed)