Negotiations on the national labor contract at UPS have begun. And while CEO Carol Tomé has insisted that the company and the union are “not far apart on the issues,” their behavior at the bargaining table suggests otherwise.

In bargaining sessions for regional contracts across the country, UPS is sometimes just not showing up, they’re demanding concessions from the union, and they’re playing dirty to get what they want — a workforce that looks more like the mostly non-union Amazon, FedEx, or Uber. That’s why the Teamsters have taken negotiations outside the bargaining room and into the workplace, with rallies, parking lot meetings, and action trainings. Meanwhile, workers say UPS is fighting back with layoffs and other forms of intimidation.

In this episode, we bring you inside and outside of the bargaining room. On the inside, we speak with two of the most militant Teamster principal officers in the union, Richard Hooker Jr. and Vinnie Perrone. On the outside, you’ll hear from Teamsters general president Sean O’Brien, as well as from rank and filers at rallies in Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, and New York.

The clock is ticking to August 1.

Additional links/info below…

Special thanks to José Francisco Negrete, Corey Levensque, Rand Wilson, Teamsters for a Democratic Union and Teamsters Local 251 for providing audio clips for this episode.

Hosted by Teddy Ostrow

Edited by Teddy Ostrow

Produced by NYGP & Ruby Walsh, in partnership with In These Times & The Real News Network

Music by Casey Gallagher

Cover art by Devlin Claro Resetar


The transcript of this podcast will be made available as soon as possible.

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Teddy Ostrow is a journalist from Brooklyn covering labor and economics. He is the host of The Upsurge podcast and his work has appeared in The Nation, The New Republic, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @TeddyOstrow.

Ruby Walsh is an audio producer from Brooklyn. She is a co-producer of The Upsurge podcast and a development producer for Giant Grin LLC. Formerly, she was the associate producer of Moyers on Democracy and wrote for