United Parcel Service fired hundreds of its New York City employees this week in retaliation for a February protest, and now local politicians are threatening to cancel city contracts with UPS.
According to the New York Daily News, UPS axed 20 Queens drivers
Monday and informed some 230 others that they would be terminated as soon as replacements could be trained.
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"They just called me in . . . [and] said, 'Effective immediately, you are no longer on the payroll,'" Steve Curcio, 41, a 20-year employee earning $32 an hour, told the News.
The mass firing comes on the heels of a February protest where 90 UPS workers walked off the job to object the dismissal of longtime employee Jairo Reyes, who was reportedly cut after a disagreement over hours.
"[UPS] took a grievance with one employee and turned it into notices of termination with 250 workers," New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer told The Queens Courier
. "That’s outrageous. These are good, hardworking employees who have a contract for UPS. To try and break this contract, break this union, is something that is unacceptable and we can’t tolerate."
UPS spokesman Steve Gaut defended the company's decision to fire the workers.
"When a group of 250 employees walk out for 90 minutes it is a significant disruption in the delivery of parcels or packages to customers on that day," he told Business Insider.
"We get penalties if we don't deliver on time."
Now, local politicians and public advocates are banning together in an attempt to reverse UPS' decision.
"These are middle class jobs that sustain families, and we cannot afford to have [so many] adversely affected by a rash decision," Public Advocate Letitia James, who’s written a letter to UPS, told the Daily News. "They should not treat workers in this manner."
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