UPS workers protest in ABQ ahead of potential nationwide strike

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Hundreds of UPS workers were picketing in Albuquerque Saturday morning, protesting for a pay increase and better working conditions.

Local union workers filled the street in front of the UPS Customer Center on Comanche.

They say this is not a strike, yet, but workers nationwide are picketing after UPS and the Teamsters union’s contract negotiations came to a halt last week.

“We’re just letting the company know that we want a fair contract for all of our members here in the state of New Mexico and nationwide,” said Andrew Palmer, Teamsters Local #492 secretary treasurer.

Teamsters represents about 340,000 full-time and part-time UPS workers across the nation, according to the union.

On July 31, their contract is set to expire – and the union and UPS have not yet come to an agreement that meets both of their needs.

“Right now, we’re barely making it,” said Quentin Baker, a part-time UPS worker. “I had to get a second job just to make ends meet with my family, and a safer work environment in general.”

Some workers brought their families out with them to protest.

“We want to be able to spend time with our kids but this is also for our kids, to show them that we need to stand up, that we need to be strong,” said Johnny Chavez, a UPS driver.

Another UPS driver said she stood with her mother in 1994 when UPS workers went on strike, and now she’s back out here picketing 29 years later.

“I was actually in the strike in 1994 as a child,” said Amanda Kimbrel. “So I saw how important it was then, and it’s even more important now.”

If no agreement is reached, workers say a strike is imminent.

“We don’t want to strike – that is the last thing we want,” Kimbrel said. “It would affect everyone across the board, including the economy. But we will strike if pushed to do so.”