Joe Allen presents: The Package King: A Rank and File History of UPS

Join Open University of the Left on Saturday August 20 at 2:30 pm at the Lincoln Park Public Library (corner Racine)
1150 W. Fullerton Ave. Chicago, free parking (Red Line: Fullerton)

Open University of the Left welcomes back Joe Allen. Nineteen years ago (August 3, 1997) UPS/Teamsters with pilots and machinists began a successful three week strike that has been virtually erased from the public memory.

Major biographies of the era, make no mention of the UPS strike. This deliberate act of political amnesia extends to the Teamster leadership of today who while celebrating the strike on appropriate occasions, fail to even mention Ron Carey who led it. Yet, the contract campaign and strike live on in other surprising ways. Looking back two decades now, it is not difficult to see that it was one of the parents of today’s Fight for $15 movement as well as other campaigns for social justice up and down the logistics supply chain. It’s time for this generation to bring those struggles back to UPS.

Joe Allen worked for nearly a decade at UPS. Starting out as a part-time loader, he worked his way through a series of part-time sorting and driving jobs until in his final year at UPS he was a package car driver in Chicago’s Loop. Allen’s work life has largely revolved around different sections of the freight and logistics industry. He has been a member of several Teamster local unions and a member of Teamsters for a Democratic Union. He campaigned for Ron Carey’s reelection in 1996. He has lived in Chicago for two decades.

His previous books, Vietnam:The (Last) War the U.S. Lost and ‘People Wasn’t Made to Burn’: A True Story of Race, Murder, and Justice in Chicago were both published by Haymarket Books. Joe Allen has been a socialist since he was in high School. He studied for several years at U-Mass Boston. Allen has written over the years for Socialist Worker (U.S.), Counterpunch, In These Times and other publications.

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