The Package King
A Rank and File History of United Parcel Service
With Joe Allen

This is the full 6-5-2016 episode of the Labor Express Radio program:

"Tonight’s episode of Labor Express Radio will be devoted entirely to a conversation I had earlier today with long time labor activist, author and fellow Pilsen resident Joe Allen. Joe’s most recent book, The Package King: A Rank and File History of United Parcel Service, is a look at the history of one of America’s most well known companies from the pointview of it workers. The book is curently available as an ebook on

UPS is now the nation’s largest unionized private employer, and in the top 5 largest employers, union or not. The company is at the heart of what Joe refers to as the logistics economy, along with others like FedEx, DHL, and perhaps most importantly Amazon which are increasingly at the center of the national economy. Their management methods and workplace conditions are becoming the model for corporate America, and in this era of just in time production, smooth logistics, the flow of goods is an incredible vulnerable sector in the network of corporate power. Increased worker militancy in this sector of the economy could be the key to rebuilding working class power to a level not seen in many decades.

The history of UPS is directly connected to the history of the Teamsters union. UPS workers are the largest segment of the Teamster current membership. And Joe’s book comes out at a critical time for the union in which elections to be held later this year pit rank-and-file union reformers against the entrenched old guard bureaucracy of Jimmy Hoffa Jr. and his minions.

In order to bring you my interview with Joe Allen in full tonight, we are going to skip our usual WIN, Workers Independent News Service, segment and dive right into the interview.

I meet up with Joe at a Cafe in the Pilsen neighborhood, less than a mile from UPS’s Chicago sorting facility, which along with their gigantic Chicago Area Consolidated Hub in the west suburbs is a part of the world’s largest inland port system stretching from downtown Chicago to the far flung southwest suburbs, the center of the global logistics economy. I started our conversation by asking Joe to talk about his background and why he wrote this book.

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