Episode 7: UPS and the Logistics Revolution

0:00 / 41:00
May 18, 2023

The word "logistics'' has somewhat of an impersonal ring to it. When you hear it, you think: massive container ships, cranes, eighteen wheelers, aircrafts, conveyor belts, spreadsheets, contracts, and of course, boxes. It's almost as if all of this infrastructure that moves our goods around the world, around the clock, is running by itself.

But undergirding "logistics" is one indispensable element: Workers. Millions of them, without whom the colossal flow of goods and services would come grinding to a halt.

In this episode of The Upsurge, we ask how our modern logistics giants, like UPS – and the Teamsters that keep it running – came to wield so much power. It's a story of gradual but gargantuan changes in the global economy, the "modernization" of production and distribution. But it's also a tale of struggle over the management and organization of work between unions and corporations

We spoke to Joe Allen, a historian, activist, and truck driver who was a UPS Teamster for almost a decade. He is the author of The Package King: A Rank and File History of the United Parcel Service (Haymarket: 2020). Joe unpacks some of the history of UPS as a company, how it fits into the larger Logistics Revolution in global capitalism, and what it means for workers' potential for building economic, political and social power.


Hosted by Teddy Ostrow

Edited by Teddy Ostrow

Produced by NYGP & Ruby Walsh, in partnership with In These Times & The Real News

Music by Casey Gallagher

Cover art by Devlin Claro Resetar


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