August 3, 2011: The minimum wage in Washington State is now $8.67 an hour according to Washington State Labor and Industries. That is 17 cents more than the starting rate for part-timers in the UPS contract.
In 1997, minimum wage was $5.15. Teamster General President Ron Carey and the members fought to raise the starting rate to $8.50. That’s 68 percent higher than the minimum wage at the time.
If we kept up with that equivalent, UPS starting wage would be $14.31—nearly $6 more than it is today and well above the minimum wage.
We have Teamsters who work the Spokane Hub who can’t afford gas to get to work because $8.67 times 17.5 hours a week minus the initiation fee and dues leaves almost nothing.
It’s damned hard to get these young guys to feel pride at being a Teamster when this is the kind of union welcome they get at the guard shack.
By Tim Hill, UPS Feeder Driver Local 690, Spokane, Wash.