What Brown Does for Turkish Workers

Unlike our Teamster sisters and brothers here, workers for UPS in Turkey have no union. And over the past few months, workers seeking to organize have faced repression. To date more than 120 union members and workers sympathetic to TÜMTIS, a Turkish transport union, have been fired from UPS Turkey. Some have faced violence and intimidation from management.

In early July, the manager of a UPS subcontractor forced union members at gunpoint to go to a notary and resign from the union. Outside the notary that same subcontractor started firing the gun, though no one was hurt. Workers face continuing intimidation over their union involvement.

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The fired workers, who make $316-$474 a month, have kept a continual picket line outside the Istanbul UPS headquarters. And in a show of solidarity, members of the UNI Europa Post & Logistics global union, together with the Belgian union ABVV-FGTB, visited the fired union members on the picket line. The international crew demanded that company execs come out and begin negotiations immediately. In reaction to this international solidarity, UPS Turkey promptly fired another 30 union-affiliated workers.

Protest by writing to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Copies of the letter will be sent to UPS representatives, including CEO Scott Davis and local management in Turkey. Demand all fired workers be reinstated and all intimidation cease, at LabourStart.

A version of this article appeared in Labor Notes #378, September 2010. Don't miss an issue, subscribe today.