Two Wild Cards to Watch This Summer
Author: Greg Valliere
June 16, 2023
THE FIRST IS THE POSSIBILITY of a protracted Teamsters strike against UPS, which could cripple the economy and scramble the supply chain if there’s a walkout that could drive 340,000 workers to the sidelines, which would be one of the largest work stoppages in recent decades. The Teamsters are expected to authorize a strike today.
THE MAJOR STICKING POINTS are higher pay, the creation of more full-time jobs and the elimination of UPS’s reliance on a lower-paid class of delivery driver.
TEAMSTERS PRESIDENT Sean O’Brien has taken a hard line. If there’s a strike, he says, “it’s going to be because of the greediness of this company and their unwillingness to reward the people who have made them the success that they are.”
THERE WAS A MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH RECENTLY, as UPS agreed to install air conditioning in new trucks, which has been a longtime demand of delivery drivers who work in the summer heat for up to 14 hours a day. Older vans will be equipped with a second fan as part of the deal.
THE STARTING PAY for part-time workers who handle packages in UPS warehouses is $15.50 an hour, which workers say is not a sustainable wage. Roughly half of UPS Teamsters positions are part-time warehouse jobs.
THIS DISPUTE FOLLOWS A DEAL after months of negotiations between the International Longshore Workers Union and West Coast workers; the deal includes a wage increase of 8 to 10 percent for the first year, and retroactive hikes for last year’s pay. The average annual earnings for longshoremen will be roughly $200,000 analysts say.
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THE SECOND WILD CARD is the possibility that an obscure Donald Trump aide — Waltine “Walt” Nauta — could shake up the political world. Who’s Walt Nauta? He was indicted this week along with his boss, Trump, and Nauta potentially faces jail time. Could he “flip,” turning against Trump in a plea deal? It’s possible, prosecutors think, since Nauta has become a fixture in Mar-a-Lago and his testimony could be explosive.
NAUTA, 40, IS A NAVY VETERAN who has been a valet, a “body man,” a cook and a “fixer” for Trump. The two have become inseparable, and the indictment alleges that Trump and Nauta conspired to to hide classified documents from the government.
ACCORDING TO THE INDICTMENT, Nauta helped bring boxes to Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago for his review before Trump returned 15 boxes of documents to the National Archives in January 2022. When interviewed by the FBI in May 2022, however, prosecutors allege Nauta falsely said he had no knowledge of additional boxes being taken to Trump’s suite.
NAUTA COULD BE SEEN seen on surveillance video removing 64 boxes from the club’s ground floor storage room after Trump received a grand jury subpoena seeking classified records in May 2022. According to the indictment, Nauta was spotted returning only 30 boxes to the room, just before a lawyer for Trump searched the room for documents to turn over to the government in response to the subpoena.
TRUMP AND NAUTA spoke repeatedly by phone before Nauta moved the boxes, the indictment alleges. Government officials have seized Nauta’s phone. Facing the prospect of jail time, Nauta will be the subject of intense speculation this summer.
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