Teamsters: UPS strike will cost them $10 million a week
Other unions asked to contribute to 'defense fund'August 12, 1997
Web posted at: 2:52 p.m. EDT (1852 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Facing the possibility of a long strike against United Parcel Service and a threat of layoffs, the financially strapped Teamsters asked other labor unions Tuesday to help them set up a $10 million-per-week "defense fund."
A resolution approved by Teamsters leaders "supports the arrangements between the Teamsters union, the AFL-CIO and other unions to establish a defense fund for this battle," Teamsters President Ron Carey told a Washington news conference. His comments came on the ninth day of the walkout against the nation's largest package-delivery company.
The AFL-CIO is a confederation of 78 labor unions.
"The defense fund will cover strike benefits for a long strike, if necessary," Carey said. "We estimate the strike benefits will cost about $10 million a week."
Joining Carey was John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, who called UPS a "greedy, ugly and profitable company."
"We are making this strike our strike," Sweeney said, adding that he had contacted other union presidents to line up financial support.
Beginning Thursday, the Teamsters will pay about 185,000 strikers $55 each in weekly strike benefits or more than $10 million a week.
UPS warns it will lay off workers
In other developments Tuesday:
Two strikers tell their stories
To bolster the Teamsters position, two striking workers from Maryland spoke at the Washington news conference.
"When I started with the company, management promised me a full-time job within two years. I am now in my eighth year," said Rachel Howard, a part-time UPS deliverer and mother of a 15-year-old son.
"This strike is for him and American families everywhere," Howard said, her voice sometimes cracking with emotion. "I am willing to sacrifice for as long as it takes to make sure Americans know we cannot have a part-time America."
Ezekiel Wineglass, who has been a full-time driver for 33 years, said he was nearing retirement but was scared by the UPS proposal to take over the employee pension fund.
UPS has said it wants to create a single pension plan for all UPS workers and withdraw from the multi-employer Teamsters pension plans to which the company contributes.
UPS officials say they want to stop subsidizing the pensions of thousands of retirees whose companies have gone bankrupt.
"Our proposal makes the workers' pensions more secure," said Lea Soupata, UPS vice president of human resources.
Related sites:Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.