Episode 1 : The Never-ending Peak
On August 1, 2023, there's a chance Antoine Andrews won't show up to work. He won't step foot in the United Parcel Service (UPS) hub in Canarsie, Brooklyn where he's worked for 26 years. He won't hop into his iconic brown UPS truck and deliver packages to the businesses and households on his regular route.
No, he'll be on strike—with nearly 350,000 of his coworkers, in what could be one of the largest strikes in United States history.
Welcome to The Upsurge, a podcast about UPS, the Teamsters union, and the future of the American labor movement. In this inaugural episode, we speak with Antonio Rosario and Antoine Andrews, two union activists who each have worked at UPS for over 25 years. We discuss life in the brown uniform, why UPSers may launch a massive strike this summer, and its potential impacts across the broader labor movement.
Coming off "peak season" at UPS, Rosario and Andrews also explain what it's like to be a logistics worker during the busiest time of the year. Spoiler alert: It's rough.
Hosted by Teddy Ostrow and Ruby Walsh
Edited by Sabrina Kessler
Music by Casey Gallagher
Cover art by Devlin Claro Resetar
Follow us on Twitter @upsurgepod and Facebook, The Upsurge.
Corrections and clarifications:
Tony Rosario underestimated the ratio of CEO-to-employee compensation. According to the Economic Policy Institute, CEOs were paid 399 times the typical worker in 2021. That ratio in 1978 was 30 to 1.
In 2018, 55% of UPS workers who voted on the tentative agreement between the company and the Teamsters union rejected it. Union leadership ratified the contract anyway by invoking a clause in the Teamsters constitution, which allowed them to unilaterally ratify the contract if less than half the members voted on it, and if less than two-thirds of members voted to reject it.