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Members at the White House with Labor Secretary Perez
Updated On: Apr 07, 2015

UPS Teamsters Join White House Event

Local 639 UPS Teamsters James Swain, Bilbie Cox, Etta Epps, Tyrone Brown and Shelton Wilkes Participate In Obama Executive Order Signing Ceremony

(WASHINGTON) – Eight UPS Teamsters got to participate in a White House press conference on July 31 when President Obama signed an executive order to crack down on government contractors that violate labor laws. Watch the video below.

All eight wore their brown uniforms to the event and two of the Teamsters stood on stage with the president as he signed the executive order.

Mike Petro of Local 355 in Baltimore, a 24-year driver, and Etta Epps of Local 639 in Washington, a 10-year driver, were front and center during the event. They shook the president’s hand and Epps even got a hug.

“Privileged, speechless, excited, overwhelmed – should I go on?” Epps said. “It was an opportunity of a lifetime. I would have never gotten this opportunity if it hadn’t been for my great union, the Teamsters.”

The Teamsters Union strongly supports Obama’s executive order, which is designed to protect employees of federal contractors. The order will require contractors to disclose any violations of labor law within the last three years before receiving new federal contracts. It also will adjust procurement procedures to protect contractors with no record of violating the law.

The administration wanted to feature workers at the event and reached out to the Teamsters, requesting that UPS workers attend and participate in the ceremony. 

“I am so proud of how my union makes sure I earn a good wage, health care benefits and retirement security,” Petro said. “As a taxpayer, I believe the government should support companies that let workers support themselves through collective bargaining.”

General President Jim Hoffa issued a statement supporting the changes.

“Taxpayers shouldn’t reward lawbreakers that bust unions, steal wages and endanger workers,” Hoffa said. “President Obama is right to make it harder for companies that abuse workers to receive federal contracts.

“Corporations now know they can break wage and hour laws with impunity. Men and women who work hard and play by the rules should not be sending their tax dollars to companies that mistreat their employees. Bad actors don’t deserve the financial support of the federal government.”

Teamsters Local 639
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