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Returning Ups Workers Face Layoffs

Thu., Aug. 21, 1997

Thousands of United Parcel Service workers ready to go back to work Wednesday instead were laid off as the delivery giant sluggishly began recovery from the 15-day Teamsters strike.

The company didn’t immediately release any nationwide figures on the layoffs, which came at several locations from Atlanta to Portland, Ore. The company said it will add workers as business increases.

“All of our jobs depend on our volume level,” UPS spokesman Rick Warlick said. “Any businesses that have gone away as a result of the strike may mean fewer jobs.”

Other former strikers put away their picket signs, put on their brown shirts and shorts, and began calling on customers again. Many said they were warmly greeted.

“People have been saying ‘Welcome back’ and ‘Congratulations,”’ said driver Michael Reppucci as he made deliveries in Boston’s financial district. “Everyone’s glad to be back to work. It’s been tough on everybody.”

He said people honked at his truck, waved and pumped thumbsup at him.

But some reactions were cooler.

“It’s about time,” was the message Paul Mapstone had for his UPS driver at Eastern Metal-USA Sign, which ships traffic control products around the Southeast from Atlanta. Mapstone said the strike hurt his business, and he thought the walk-out was “a lot of whining.”

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