Organizing Win at UPS Worldport Shows Power of Credible Strike Threat

Almost 200 shuttle drivers at the UPS Worldport hub in Louisville forced their boss to recognize the union in an organizing win that demonstrates the power of a credible strike threat.

ABM shuttle drivers transport UPS employees to their job sites at the sprawling Worldport facility. 

Seventy percent of the shuttle drivers signed union authorization cards with Local 89 and then demanded that management recognize their union.

Management refused. So workers and Teamsters Local 89 turned up the heat. Instead of going through a lengthy NLRB election process, ABM workers announced they planned to go on strike to win union recognition.

UPS Teamsters at Worldport would have the right to honor the strike line of ABM workers. 

With the threat of a shutdown at Worldport looming, ABM folded. They agreed to recognize their workers as Teamsters if a neutral arbitrator determined that Local 89 had majority support. 

With a super-majority of cards in hand, victory and union recognition was theirs.

"This Is Going to Change Lives"

The newly organized Teamsters are gearing up for contract proposal meetings and negotiations. 

Drivers haven’t seen a raise in two years and their health benefits have eroded over time.

Safety is another major concern. ABM shuttle buses are in disrepair–from failing breaks to   headlights–and requests for repairs have gone ignored. 

“People were fed up with what was going on and ready for a change,” said Curtis Durst, a former Worldport shuttle driver. 

Durst was fired by ABM for his organizing efforts, but continued to organize his former coworkers to sign cards. Local 89 is fighting for Durst’s reinstatement.

The victory of these 190 shuttle drivers shows the power of a credible strike threat. 

“This is going to change the lives of 190 people and their families. And they all deserve it,” said Durst. “People should know that it is possible to win better.”

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