Mail Contractor Threatens to Fire Striking Truck Drivers, APWU Charges
03/28/2005 - Mail Contractors of America, a private mail hauler, began a campaign of intimidation against striking APWU members in Jacksonville, FL, March 26, according to the local president representing the truck drivers.
Russ Gallion, president of APWU’s First Coast Local, which represents MCA truck drivers in Jacksonville, said the company telephoned striking workers at home Saturday and told them if they didn’t report to work on Monday, March 28, they would be terminated. None of the striking workers returned to work, Gallion said.
More than 70 Jacksonville truck drivers walked out March 24, joining over 100 MCA strikers in Des Moines and Kansas City, KS, who began a job action on March 22. “We are striking against unfair labor practices by MCA,” Gallion said. “Mail Contractors of America has tried to force us to drive longer than we are allowed to under Department of Transportation regulations,” he said, “and they have been writing us up for adhering to safety standards.”
The company has transferred workers from Greensboro, NC, Atlanta, and Los Angeles to do the work of the strikers in Jacksonville, Gallion reported. The drivers have been shuttled from a Ramada Inn to the MCA terminal under armed guard, he said. “They are using the extra drivers to cover the Jacksonville runs and to try to break the strike.
“They’re putting pressure on us,” Gallion said, “but they haven’t broken us. We’re putting pressure on them too.”
MCA has been receiving notices from the Postal Service that the company has failed to complete its routes in a timely manner, he said. The company must maintain a 98 percent on-time delivery standard, or fines can be imposed.
Strikers are picketing at four Jacksonville locations – the MCA terminal, the USPS Bulk Mail Center, and at two rail yards where MCA picks up and drops off mail. Teamsters who work for other companies at the rail yards have honored the picket lines and those companies are putting pressure on MCA to settle the matter, Gallion said.
Also on Saturday, there was a threat of violence when a strike breaker, who was driving his own vehicle at the end of a shift, told a picketer he had a gun and pointed it at him, Gallion said. “He said he would shoot the first person that touched him. Then he sped off.”
MCA imposed a contract on its workers Sept. 1, 2004. Collective bargaining agreements covering workers in Des Moines and Jacksonville expired Sept. 30, 2003. The truck drivers in Kansas City had never negotiated a contract with the company.