Teamsters Strike Back

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WASHINGTON: Ron Carey, president of the Teamsters and instigator of the week-old strike at UPS, signalled today that he wasn't about to be bullied by the firm's threat to eliminate 15,000 jobs by week's end.

"The strike will not be decided by threats and intimidation," said Carey. "That's not what the strike is about." UPS started playing hardball with the Teamsters this morning, when Chief executive James Kelly warned that job losses would mount week-by-week if the strikers don't get back to work. But for a company that makes $1billion profit a year, Carey finds it hard to believe that UPS will have to fire workers because of lost business.

The timing of the job loss threat is also somewhat bizarre, considering yesterday's attempt by UPS to break the strike deadlock with a soundbite-friendly rallying cry for company democracy: "Let our people vote." Rather than the teamsters' council of elders, said the company, the union rank-and-file should have the last say on whether the company's contract offer sinks or swims. Today's threat will have workers wondering how genuine that offer was.