The backdrop of what could be the largest strike at a single employer in decades is that CEOs and corporate America are making record profits as unions—from actors to Teamsters to hotel workers—fight back and flex their power this summer.

by Stephen Franklin, In These Times

It’s early in the morning and Cesar Mendoza slips into his 20-year-old clunker of a car and heads for the UPS warehouse in Southern California when the thoughts swell up.

Damn, I am stuck here, he thinks. I’m still working only a few hours a day and barely earning anything. And then, he reminds himself, as he does each morning, to try and think positively.

But he can’t.

Six years after starting out as a part-time UPS warehouse worker, he gets $17.85 an hour and when the hours are low, as they’ve been lately, he takes home about $300 a week. With so little money, he, his partner, and their two-year-old son, Lorenzo, are stuck living at her family’s home.

UPS teamsters practice for an impending strike

He is also stuck unloading packages, some weighing about 100 pounds, on a belt that he thinks his bosses speed up every so often. With seniority at the warehouse, he asks his bosses to put him on an easier job, but they don’t, telling him, he says, to stay where he is because he’s a hard worker.

If there’s a strike, I’m willing to take it because we need to be heard and recognized. I just want to be recognized for the work I do,” says the soft-spoken 26-year-old who works at the Gardena UPS hub just south of Los Angeles.

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