DHL workers strike for living wage and health care in Pawtucket, RI – Liberation News
Sixty members of Teamsters Local 251 in Dalsey, Hillblom and Lynn in Pawtucket, Rhode Island hit the picket lines this week in response to the company’s unfair labor practices. On the morning of June 24, members of the local community, including members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, joined the workers on the picket line to show their support.
The workers installed an inflatable “capitalist pig” in front of the construction site. They walked the picket line at both entrances to the facility to the sound of classic rock blaring from the truck speakers. The Teamsters slowed down replacement workers, known as “scabs,” who crossed the picket line.
DHL hired scabs from out of state and contracted out-of-state couriers to try to defeat the strike. Local police were on hand to protect the interests of the business owners and prevented workers from blocking the facility, only allowing the picket line to block cars for a few minutes at a time.
In an interview with Liberation News, Teamsters Local 251 business agent Tom Salvatore explained why workers are fighting. “We started negotiations in March. At some point in May, we agreed to bring in a federal mediator. So we meet regularly with the company, but they don’t think our demands are reasonable. And all we ask for is a living wage and affordable health care.
This is not the first time that workers have been forced to strike at DHL in Pawtucket. Workers went on strike for more than a month in 2018 over unfair labor practices, wage theft and employers’ refusal to bargain in good faith. Now, in 2022, the company continues to deny workers health care and refuses to move to pay workers a living wage during this time of massive inflation.
“They don’t seem to hear us at the negotiating table,” Salvatore said. “So we took to the streets and maybe they’ll hear us here.”
Members of the local community and the Party for Socialism and Liberation brought food, water and coffee for the picketers. The Teamsters ask the community to continue to support the strike for as long as it takes.
Our readers can support this Teamsters struggle by walking the picket line with the strikers, donating food and water, or calling DHL or independent shipping contractor NorthEast Transportation Services at 1-800-225-5345 or 843-906-9655 to let them know that you as a customer are unhappy with the way the workers were treated.