This morning on Business Insider, I read, UPS Fires 250 Employees for Staging a 90-Minute Protest to Defend Co-Worker. It seems in February, a bunch of UPS employees went on a short strike to protest the firing of union activist Jairo Reyes over an hours dispute. UPS has claimed that they had to fire the employees because their business is time sensitive. The natural response to that is: really?!
UPS often arrives well over 90 minutes late for pickups and deliveries. It is the nature of their business. Basically, what UPS is saying is that employee protests are all fine just as long as they absolutely don’t inconvenience the company. You know, it’s like the old conservative idea of free speech: you can say anything you want as long as you don’t. UPS is sending a clear signal: any union activism will result in your being fired. And sadly, that sort of behavior has been perfectly okay with the government for over thirty years.
The story gets worse, however. The New York City Council is threatening to break a contract they have with UPS that save the company millions of dollars in reduced costs on their parking fines (a cost of business for all delivery companies). UPS, like a petulant child, responded with threats. “UPS fired back that it might need to terminate additional employees if the city alters its contract.” In other words: if you don’t let us needlessly fire employees, we will fire more.
Notice how pathetic this is. These great “job creators” are only profitable because of the special government deals they get. You have to wonder why the government is even doing business with them. There’s definitely a problem with companies setting one locality against another. But the government really needs to get its act together. New York City has the advantage here. If UPS wants to lose millions of dollars just so it can make a statement, let it. Someone else will hire the people to deliver the packages.
Coming on the heals of two weeks of constant bad political news, this just depresses me. We really have become an oligarchy. And the people can’t even manage to rise up enough to vote in midterm elections. Meanwhile, actual democratic remedies become harder and harder—not only systemically but simply because the people are spending all their time just trying to survive. The United States has become a country by, for, and of the corporation. Now it is UPS who tells New York City what to do. The people don’t matter at all.