PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A newly formed mail truck driver union is protesting for better pay and job security.

Local members of American Postal Workers Union on Wednesday held signs reading ‘stop unfair labor practices’ in front of their employer 10 Roads Express,

“We really want to sit down and understand why the routes are being changed the way they are and make sure we’re getting the most productive routes with the most hours for the company, for the workers,” said Arrion Brown, national support services director at American Postal Services Union.

Local drivers said the company is changing route schedules and cutting hours without negotiating in good faith. Drivers are expected to bid on routes, but only 13 of 38 routes are for 40 hours or more. Many route schedules are just 25 hours a week.

“We just want the bids to stop, until we go to the table and bargain a contract with them. We need the bids to stop because we don’t know what’s going to happen to the people that lose their hours,” said semitruck driver and union member Richard Clay.

Clay said reduced hours would devastate many workers’ livelihoods.

“It’s heartbreaking knowing some people might even possibly lose their house, their cars due to the cuts that were made for these bids, so they don’t have to pay benefits…If anyone can go from 50 to 25 hours a week and still make their bills, show me that route, because that is heartbreaking,” he said.

Brown said the union wanted to do negotiations as part of a collective bargaining agreement, but 10 Roads Express refused and developed their own routes.

“Under the National Labor Relations Act they’re required to negotiate these changes with us, but they’ve refused to…Our concern is that how they’ve changed these routes isn’t best for the workers. So we want to be more involved with the actual process to learn how the routes were changed,” he said.

The union was started in November 2022 and now has more than 80 members. Clay said they are entitled to be part of negotiations, but the company won’t recognize them.

“We just want them to know we think the rebid is unfair to everybody. We need to get to the table and work out a contract and bargain this, because this should not be happening. You just don’t take livelihoods. Some of these people’s livelihoods is going to change if these bids go through,” he said.

10 Roads Express contracts with the United States Postal Service. The truck drivers sort and bring mail to post offices, which then get delivered to homes by the USPS mail carriers.

Brown said reduced hours will have a detrimental effect to future staffing and mail delivery times.

 “The trickle-down effect would be that they’re gonna lose their full-time drivers and they’re gonna be stuck in a position where they have to rely on part-time drivers. They’ve already lost some drivers from my understanding, so that’s going to affect the mail moving in the very area and across the country,” he said.

The union plans to file an unfair labor practice lawsuit against 10 Roads.

10 Roads Express has not responded to requests for comment. USPS declined to comment.