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The largest strike in Teamsters’ history heads into its second week without any sign of a settlement between UPS and its 185,000 workers. Teamster leader Ron Carey told members this weekend to prepare for a long strike.

Among the major issues in the dispute are the UPS pension fund and the growth of part-time workers at UPS. Since 1993, all but 8,000 of 46,000 new jobs at UPS have been low paid, part-time jobs — jobs which the union would like to see transformed into full-time. The company also wants to take its pension plan out of a multi-employer deal with the Teamsters. The strike comes as UPS has been hitting record profits, taking in some $1.1 billion last year. It ranks as the country’s 37th largest company, and 4th among businessmen as the nation’s most admired corporation, even beating out Microsoft. As for the Teamsters union, the stakes are high, especially for President Ron Carey. He faces charges of election fraud stemming from his battle with Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. last year for the union presidency.

• Alexander Cockburn, a columnist for The Nation magazine and the northern California weekly newspaper The Anderson Valley Advertiser. Along with Ken Silverstein, he is the editor of Counterpunch, a bi-monthly newsletter about power and evil in Washington.
• Bob Fitch, a professor of metropolitan studies at New York University. He is a former union organizer and former economic consultant to the Communication Worker’s of America. Among other works, he is the author of The Assassination of New York which is available in paperback from Verso.

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