UPS strike deadline nears ; mail your parcels now – National & International News – MON 24Jul2023

Deadline approaching for nationwide UPS strike.

OH: Black trucker mauled by police dog after being pulled over for missing mud flap.

Israel passes law to curb courts despite massive protests.



Deadline approaching for nationwide UPS strike; mail your parcels now

Talks will resume tomorrow between UPS management and the Teamsters Union, which represents 340,000 UPS drivers and package handlers. The current union contract for UPS union expires on July 31, and Teamsters leader Sean O’Brien say his members are “fired up” to strike if they don’t get a fair deal. Talks between UPS and the union broke down earlier this month with the clock ticking.

UPS union workers are still dissatisfied by a deal they say was forced on them in 2018, before their workload increased dramatically during the pandemic. O’Brien was elected to lead the Teamsters in 2021. His rise represented a break with years of ineffective Teamsters leadership which many felt had become too cozy with management and at the expense of members. Since then, O’Brien has effectively used his fiery activist brand to boost the union’s long-waning enthusiasm and declining membership.

Workers demand their cut of record UPS profits

As deliveries and package volume soared during the pandemic, UPS has increasingly relied on part-time workers. The result has been increasingly poor working conditions for workers struggling to keep up with an ever-increasing workload. All the while, UPS and its shareholders have been profiting handsomely.

In 2022, UPS shareholders got about $8.6 billion in dividends and stock buybacks, and they’re expecting another $8.4 billion windfall this year. O’Brien is demanding that UPS put some of those record profits towards better pay and better conditions for members, particularly part-time workers.

The last time there was a major UPS strike was in 1997, long before e-commerce and deliveries of everyday essentials by parcel post became the norm. Today, UPS ships an average of 24 million packages a day, or about a quarter of the country’s entire parcel volume. A strike this time could be crippling for the US economy and a huge financial blow for the many businesses that rely heavily on parcel post.

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Black truck driver mauled by police dog after being pulled over for “missing mud flap”

Authorities have just released what appears to be 911 calls from Jadarrius Rose, a 23-year-old Black semi-truck driver, who was mauled by a police dog in Circleville, OH, after being pursued by state troopers. Troopers were pursuing Rose because the truck he was driving “was missing a left rear mud flap,” according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol incident report.

Rose apparently called 911 because he feared for his life during the pursuit by state troopers. “Right now I’m being chased by like 20 police officers and they all got their guns pointed directly to my truck,” Rose says to the dispatcher. “So now I’m trying to figure out why they got their guns all pointed to me and they’re all white people”.

The dispatcher repeatedly urged Rose to pull over, and at one point he did so before taking off again, telling the 911 dispatcher he did not feel safe because all the troopers were pointing their guns. Police body camera footage from the incident shows that the troopers did indeed have high-powered rifles pointed at the cab of Rose’s truck the first time he pulled over.

Finally, the troopers deployed “stop sticks” to rupture the tires on the truck and force Rose to stop. Rose was still on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, who told him to roll his window down. “I did that the last time and all of them had their guns pointed at me” Rose responds. “You think I feel safe?”.

Local PD ordered dog to attack Rose while he was surrendering

Eventually, Rose did step down from the vehicle and raised his hands in surrender. At about that time, an SUV K-9 unit from the Circleville PD pulls up. An officer identified as “R. Speakman” exits the truck with the K-9. Troopers at the scene repeatedly order the officer not to release the canine while Rose’s hands were up. But the the officer ordered the dog to attack Rose anyway. The dog mauled his arms and brought him to the ground. Circleville Police officers rushed to cuff Rose behind his back before even administering first aid.

Circleville Mayor McIlroy confirmed that Speakman was only placed on leave about 5 days ago, about two weeks after the July 4 incident. When reporters asked why Speakman wasn’t relieved of duty sooner, McIlroy answered, “I cannot answer that question”. McIlroy also told reporters that Speakman’s conduct had come under scrutiny before after an incident about two years ago. McIlroy did not say what the incident was or whether a dog was involved.

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Israel passes law to curb courts despite massive protests

The ruling coalition of far-right parties in Israel has passed a law that will reduce oversight of the nation’s court system. The bill passed today takes away the Supreme Court’s ability to block government decisions that are so unreasonable that they harm the public good. For example, the court has used this power in the past to block the appointment of government ministers who have been convicted of crimes. Now, the government can appoint whoever it sees fit to any position with no oversight from the court. 

However, this is only the first of several bills the ruling coalition plans to pass that will diminish the court’s ability to act as a check on the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament). The far-right supporters of these reforms say they are necessary to correct an “imbalance” between the judicial and legislative branches. Nearly everyone outside of those far-right circles in Israel (and even Israel’s international allies) agree that the reforms are a naked power grab by Israel’s current far-right rulers. Some in the center left in Israel have warned the bill marks the beginning of Israel’s slide into dictatorship.

Ahead of today’s vote, protesters were out in force setting up barricades and blocking the entrance to the Knesset. Police fired water cannon and forcibly cleared them from roads. For months the country has been periodically shutdown by massive protests who believe the so-called reforms will be the end of Israel’s democracy.

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Related: Palestinians who don’t believe Israel is a democracy largely sit-out protests.

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