DHL strike in Rhode Island for livable wages and affordable health care meets with violence on picket line

Are you a striker at DHL in Rhode Island or a driver working at another logistics company? Contact the WSWS to tell us about your working conditions and experiences.

About 70 delivery drivers struck DHL’s operations in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, on June 22 in a fight for wages to keep up with the cost of living, affordable health care, retirement benefits and safety issues.

DHL drivers on the picket line at Northeast Transportation in Pawtucket, Rhode Island (Photo: Teamsters Local 251 Facebook)

International logistics behemoth DHL contracts out its delivery operations to Northeast Transportation Services at the DHL ServicePoint, which serves Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. Teamsters Local 251 kept workers on the job when the DHL contract expired in March, and a federal mediator entered the negotiations in May.

Workers say Northeast has hired scabs to run deliveries, some of whom are being paid as much as $55 an hour compared to the starvation wages the striking drivers have been making.

DHL truck driven by scab stuck under a low bridge (Photo: Teamsters for a Democratic Union Facebook)

Reporters from Uprise RI report being shown a video of a man allegedly “threatening DHL workers while driving erratically and throwing objects at their automobile.” Uprise was also told that a scab was arrested for allegedly threatening to kill unionized workers.

Matthew Taibi, Local 251’s principal officer, told the Providence Journal that an armed security guard came after him with a baseball bat on July 1. The Pawtucket Police Department confirmed to the Journal that there had been three arrests at the facility that day but declined further comment on who was arrested or why.

Delivery services such as DHL, FedEx and UPS are notorious for their abysmal pay and working conditions. Workers at the Pawtucket location often drive as far as the end of Cape Cod and back in a single day, a 250-mile round trip not accounting for delivery stops. They often work 12 hours a day, leaving little to no time to recover or be with their families.


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