Strike Captain Resources Toolkit

It is crucial for all designated strike captains – and all UPS Teamsters – at every local to be prepared with as much information about the possibility of the largest single-employer strike in U.S. history. A strike of this magnitude requires diligent preparation, public support, and strong coordination across all 176 UPS Teamster locals.

We must be prepared to fight for what we’re worth and what we’ve earned at UPS.

Please review the information in this fact sheet so we are all ready to go on August 1 if UPS fails to come to terms on a strong new contract. You can also CLICK HERE to download the full contents below as a PDF.

Information in this toolkit:

NOTE: Strike picket signs have been printed and will be shipped to all UPS Teamster locals.

Strike Assignments

Local union officials appoint strike captains based on need. If you are interested in becoming a strike captain, please contact your local union officials.

Strike Assignments – Your local union leadership is responsible for scheduling and maintaining an effective strike line. Local leadership handles the scheduling and staffing of all picket lines.

Preparing for Law Enforcement

1. Contact the local police or sheriff before the strike begins. Get the name of a contact person or liaison that you will be staying in touch with throughout the strike.

2. It is a good idea to go to the station or precinct. Speaking to shift captains or commanders in-person can help ease the way for local unions. Use connections – someone in your local probably has close ties to law enforcement.

3. Communication may ebb and flow, so the principal officer or designated person should consider communicating each day with the designated incident commander.

4. Document everything. The strike captains should be maintaining a real-time incident log.  Treat it like a grievance. Be sure to include the five W’s (who, what, when, where, and why).

5. When dealing with law enforcement, keep it simple. There is no need to disclose the strike plan while negotiating ground rules (e.g., How long will you let us walk before we have to let a vehicle pass? Or can we walk for two minutes in front of the property’s ingress before letting one vehicle out and then resuming for the next vehicle?)

6. Remember, we can’t prevent scabs and there should never be any violence. A bad image can tarnish our reputation for decades and changes the message of what we are doing. Put emotion aside. Do not impede the movement of any person or vehicle so as to actually block them from entering the property.

7. Each state and jurisdiction have their own definitions of assault and battery. Be aware of those definitions. It is okay to yell and shout messaging that is directly related to the purpose of the strike, but never threaten anyone or resort to violence.

8. Remember, everything is being filmed; always act professionally. Public opinion is an essential tool to put pressure on UPS and no one should undermine the hard work that has taken place to draw attention to the real issues.

Strike Pay FAQs

What strike funds are available?

The Teamsters Constitution mandates a minimum of $150,000,000 in the Strike and Defense Fund. Currently, there is more than $300,000,000 in the fund.

How long will the strike fund last?

One day longer than the company’s.

What happens if the strike fund runs out of money?

As union members, we stand together and fully believe that an injury to one is an injury to all. During the 1997 strike, the International strike fund ran out of money. The AFL-CIO loaned the Teamsters the money needed to win the strike. Solidarity funds will be established across the labor movement, if need be, so members can care for their families while continuing to hold the line against the company.

What does the Teamsters Constitution say about strike pay?

Striking Teamsters get paid weekly. The formula for determining your strike benefit is five times your monthly dues rate, with a minimum payment of $200 a week. Workers in “right to work” states who have not joined the union will not receive any benefits. Due to recent constitutional changes, strike benefits will begin on the first day of a strike.

When do I get my strike pay?

Pay will follow the current structure of being paid out the following week after reporting to the picket line, as scheduled by your local union. 

Who decides how much I am paid?

The Teamsters Constitution lays out the strike pay schedule. Some locals participate in additional strike funds, so additional funds may be available. Please contact your local union office to find out more information about what funds you may be eligible for.

What do I need to do to get paid?

To be eligible for strike benefits under the International Constitution, you must be a union member in good standing and a member of a local union not more than one month in arrears in per capita tax.

Locals who participate in additional strike funds may have other criteria for members laid out by the local union leadership (e.g., number of shifts on the picket line per week, hours per shift, etc.).

Will I still have health insurance while on strike?

In the event of a properly authorized strike, TeamCare, which covers most UPS Teamsters, will continue to cover striking workers and their families at no cost to the member. Teamsters participating in other plans should contact their local union or fund office.

Expectations on the Picket Line

What is expected of me on a picket line?

Every Teamster should strive to be an active participant on the line. That means maintaining a presence on the line, helping to keep up morale, participating in chants and marches, and making sure to maximize visibility. A striking worker is also a very public symbol of the labor movement, and our conduct should reflect that responsibility.

How do I act on the picket line?

Emotions run high on a picket line. From the excitement of showing the company you won’t be pushed around to fears of economic distress, the picket line can be a wild place. It is important that we always act professionally and that we are aware that in today’s world all our actions are recorded and documented.  We always strive to be good stewards of the area we are picketing by keeping it neat and clean, and we never destroy property, whether private or public.

Can I be replaced permanently?

The union principle is, “None of us go back until all of us go back.” Most strikes fall under the classification of an Unfair Labor Practice strike. In a ULP strike, the company is prohibited from permanently replacing the workers. In the event of a strictly economic strike, the company may hire permanent replacements. However, the union will typically negotiate unconditional return to work language with the resolution of a strike, if this is the case.

What can UPS do about me striking?

As a properly authorized strike and with you conducting yourself professionally, there is little an employer can do about you striking without the company violating the law.

What about ambulatory picketing?

Since the UPS “workplace” is mobile – in the form of a truck – a picket line may follow the workplace, provided all laws and regulations are adhered to.

The goal of an Ambulatory Picket is to make more visible a labor dispute and to put additional pressure on a company.

Careful attention should be paid to rules when conducting an ambulatory picket due to the high visibility of the action, and you should never engage in one without the local’s knowledge and tacit approval.

What happens when somebody crosses the line?

Crossing a picket line is one of the biggest mistakes a person can make, and they often come to regret such an action. If you know someone is considering crossing a picket line, it is important to discuss – not argue – with them about their reasons for wavering. Remember, this is an emotional time for everyone so don’t let your emotions rule the day. Be respectful and professional at all times.

The local union may reserve the right to fine any member who crosses a properly authorized strike line. For specific info on any potential fines, members should contact their local union.

What happens if I have scheduled vacation during the strike? Do I still have to show up on a picket line during my vacation?

Each local union is responsible for setting policies and staffing for picket lines. Please contact your local union leadership to determine the policy for your local.

What happens if I am on the road in a company vehicle (feeder truck) when a strike begins?

Remember, the goal of a strike is to exert as much pressure on the employer as possible without bringing any harm to the union, its members, or yourself. To do so, you must ensure UPS’s property is returned to them without damage. Therefore, if you are on the road in a company vehicle when the strike begins, first contact your local union representatives and let them know that you are heading back to the UPS facility immediately to return the employer’s equipment/property.

Upon arrival, you should confirm with the UPS personnel that the truck has been returned and the keys are in their possession. If possible, it is best to have one of your brothers or sisters with you as a witness while doing so. After returning the truck, you should again contact your local union representative for further instructions.

Public Support

UPS Teamsters build relationships with people wherever they go and are beloved by their customers. It is only natural that some of these customers will have questions. The best practice is to refer them to your local or and Teamster social media accounts. When focusing on the issues of the strike, provide them with an account of what you do, the hardships you face, and the sacrifices you make for this company.

Refer all media inquiries to your principal officer or your strike captain. 

A note on social media – Remember, you can be held responsible for your conduct on a picket line. Understand that anything you document and post to social media will be seen by others and ultimately the company. Assume that everything you post is public and be conscious of how it will be interpreted.

Government Intervention

Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su said she “does not see a reason to intervene” in a strike at UPS. This, combined with UPS workers falling under the jurisdiction of National Labor Relations Act, makes government intervention highly unlikely.

Key Terms

Strike vs. Lockout: A strike is a refusal of workers to perform work for a company. Withholding labor by striking can be an effective tool for protesting an employer’s unfair labor practices or pressuring an employer to meet the union’s collective bargaining demands.

A lockout is a temporary closing of an industry or place of work to any number or classification of workers that are/ had been employed there. It is used as an economic tool by the employer to influence workers.

Labor Charge (ULP): An Unfair Labor Practice, or ULP, is an action that violates any of the rights covered under the National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act). Common violations include:

– Bargaining in bad faith;

– Retaliation against a worker for participating in a protected concerted action (e.g., strike);

– Surveillance: documenting who attends union gatherings, taking photos of union picketers, or videotaping union gatherings; and,

– Promising employees benefits if they reject the union.

Secondary Picketing: Secondary picketing is picketing businesses that conduct business with the struck employer. This is not a permitted action under any circumstance. If there is a concern an action may constitute secondary picketing, legal counsel should be contacted.