Three UPS drivers were brutally murdered and two others were shot. The shooter, a fellow UPS driver, ended the rampage by shooting himself. And everyone who works at the facility or knows the families, is shell-shocked from the tragedy that happened so quickly.
It was June 14, a beautiful day at the Sunset Center, UPS’ facility in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. The drivers were just starting their morning meeting when a driver came in and started shooting. Someone yelled, “Gun, Run,” and drivers tried to scatter, but they didn’t know who they were running from or where the gun was. Some hid in trucks and offices; others ran outside.
Everyone in the building, including the 40 or so drivers and the 200-plus office workers and managers were evacuated to the church across the street for safety and to be questioned by police.
“At this point, nobody knows why he did it,” says Local 2785 Business Agent Ed Lynch, who, along with Business Agent Troy Mosqueda, ran to the scene immediately. “We may never know why. What’s most important is helping the survivors, and taking care of the families of our three brothers who lost their lives.”
The first thing that Local 2785 did was to bring in the Teamsters Assistance Program to provide counseling and a receptive ear for the drivers. “TAP told us that the worst would set in after about two or three days, and it was true,” says Local 2785 Secretary-Treasurer Joe Cilia. “UPS paid everybody for the rest of the week, and they didn’t have to come in, but by Friday, people were devastated and needed support.” Some of the people who returned to work subsequently went out again on workers’ comp.
Cilia and Lynch immediately began pulling together all of the benefits that were due the families, and visited each one to get the paperwork moving as quickly as possible.
Joint Council 7 and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee organized a memorial service on July 9 at San Francisco City Hall. Elected officials, including the mayor and Congressmember Nancy Pelosi, joined International Brotherhood of Teamsters Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall, several vice-presidents and leaders and members from across the Joint Council to pay tribute to the victims. The three drivers were remembered by all who spoke that day as men who were dedicated to their jobs and willing to lend a helping hand.
“All will be missed and not forgotten,” said Cilia. “We will remember them for the great men that they were. On behalf of the families, and of the Teamsters, we will recover, because that is what the fallen would have wanted.”
The Joint Council also opened a fund for the families. All Teamsters are encouraged to give generously— see address at right.
“We will be here for the families,” said Joint Council 7 President Rome Aloise at the memorial. “This is not just something that happened to you, it happened to all 1.4 million Teamsters. We won’t leave you. We will always honor you as being members of our Teamster family.”