After a month and a half of protests, UPS has reached an agreement to prevent the firing of 250 unionized workers at its Queens, New York facility. The workers had all received notices of termination after they engaged in a 90-minute work stoppage to protest the firing of a colleague, Jairo Reyes.
The final agreement between UPS and Teamsters Local 804, the union representing the fired workers, allows both parties to save face. Reyes and the protesting workers all get to keep their jobs; UPS receives an admission that the work stoppage was illegal. The Teamsters will also pay an unspecified sum to UPS for damages and “undertake other actions within the bargaining unit to correct the situation,” according to a statement from the company. Instead of being fired, the 250 employees will each receive a 10-day suspension without pay.
“My brothers and sisters got their jobs back and they can move forward, that’s the most important thing,” Reyes told msnbc. He admitted to mixed feelings about the agreement, which doesn’t clear him of “admitted or proven dishonesty,” the charge he was originally fired for. Reyes denies he was fired with just cause.
“They told me I could return, but it still makes me feel like my name hasn’t been vindicated,” he said. “Because it still makes me look dishonest.”
UPS spokesperson Steve Gaut said over email that the company is “satisfied” with the agreement. Gaut declined to say how much Local 804 would pay to the company in damages, but he said the amount was in the “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
In an open letter sent to msnbc, Reyes’ 26-year-old son, Eric, said their family would be “left out to dry” without the UPS job.
“I thank the efforts of my father’s coworkers and teamster brothers,” he wrote. “My heart goes out to all the other families, with bills, kids, health problems and stories of their own. All the families that now face the same hardship that my family and I face today.”