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UPS Teamsters Warn ‘Nationwide Strike Imminent’ if Friday Deadline Isn’t Met

The Teamsters Union warned that a U.S.-wide strike is imminent if the United Parcel Service (UPS) doesn’t come to an agreement with the union Friday, potentially triggering one of the largest strikes in American history.

The union, which represents hundreds of thousands of UPS drivers, “walked away from the national bargaining table” and said that UPS must give its “last, best, and final offer” by Friday, June 30.

“The largest single-employer strike in American history now appears inevitable,” Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien said in a news release this week. “Executives at UPS, some of whom get tens of millions of dollars a year, do not care about the hundreds of thousands of American workers who make this company run,” O’Brien said.

UPS is the second-largest ground carrier of packages in the United States, only behind the U.S. Postal Service. The company delivers some 20 million packages per day, meaning that a protracted strike could be devastating for some industries and workers.

“With a deadline of Friday to return a last, best, and final offer, UPS risks putting itself on strike by August 1 and causing devastating disruptions to the supply chain in the U.S. and other parts of the world,” the Teamsters said, adding that “we have an economy today that is reliant on parcel delivery and no one in the game handles more packages per day or provides better service than Teamsters at UPS.”

Amid negotiations, UPS said earlier this year that it would “equip all newly purchased U.S. small package delivery vehicles with air conditioning” by next year, and it also said that it would install more cab fans and heat shields in trucks. The union also has demanded higher wages for its members.

Reports indicated that UPS Teamsters had held practice strike pickets in various locations in recent days.

UPS Responds

In a statement, UPS denied some claims made by the Teamsters and said its executives are “ready to negotiate.”

“Last week, we provided our initial economic proposal,” UPS said in its statement Wednesday, coming after the union issued its latest strike threat. “This week, we followed with a significantly amended proposal to address key demands from the Teamsters. Reaching consensus requires time and serious, detailed discussion, but it also requires give-and-take from both sides. We’re working around the clock to reach an agreement that strengthens our industry-leading pay and benefits ahead of the current contract’s expiration on August 1.”

On its website, UPS also said that its employees get “industry-leading pay” along with a pension, benefits, paid vacation time, and superior healthcare coverage.

“Our delivery drivers make $95,000 a year on average in wages, and our part-time union employees are paid on average $20 per hour after 30 days,” it said in what appears to be a counter-claim to the teamsters’ demands about wages. “We will continue to provide highly competitive wages and benefits that reward our employees and attract and retain the best talent.”

“UPS drivers have planned workdays with reasonable overtime. Our planning considers normal volume fluctuations by day of the week and time of the year, which has enabled us to keep our delivery drivers’ average paid day to about 9 hours,” said the company. “We need to remain flexible to meet the changing needs of our customers, but we also want to consider our employees’ desired number of work hours.”

As of Thursday afternoon, shares of UPS Inc. were down less than 1 percentage point. Over the past month, UPS’s stock has seen a 3.42 percent increase.

Previous Threats

Earlier this month, members of the Teamsters overwhelmingly voted to strike if the union’s demands aren’t met by Aug. 1, as the current five-year contract ends on July 31. But at the time, UPS said it was confident that no strike would occur.

“The results do not mean that a strike is imminent and do not impact our current business operations in any way,” the firm said on June 16. “We continue to make progress on key issues and remain confident that we will reach an agreement that provides wins for our employees, the Teamsters, our company and our customers.”

While the Teamsters have accused UPS of making record profits in recent years, in the first quarter of 2023, profits, volume, and revenue have all dropped year-over-year. The company also warned of a possible economic downturn around the world.

“While we expect to hear a great deal of noise during the negotiation, I remain confident that a win-win-win contract is very achievable and that UPS and the Teamsters will reach [an] agreement by the end of July,” UPS CEO Carol Tome also said in April, as reported by CNN.

If there is a strike, reports indicate that it would be the largest one against a single employer in U.S. history. UPS is the largest unionized employer in the private U.S. sector. CNN reported that about 6 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, or GDP, is moved on board UPS trucks each year.

  • Bobbie says:

    I am just speaking for my area but UPS offers the BEST delivery out of all the competitors (On Trac, DHL, FedEx, USPS) They are faster and deliver with care….They damn well deserve a raise and AIR CONDITIONING. I live 18 miles from town and the only house down 9 mile road…they always have a smile when they come down my mile long drive way.

  • Boycotter says:

    The greedy bastards should be able to get by on 95k

    We support Real America’s Voice for real news !!!
    Yuengling, Kellogg’s, Cracker Barrel, META-Instagram, Pottery Barn, Marvel, LEGO,
    Chick-fil-A, PetSmart,
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    Not one more cent or one more minute from our household will be spent on these anti-American freaks ! EVER !!

  • Louis Galmarini says:

    Nothing to see here, folks, move along.

    I’m now retired. However, I’ve negotiated on both side of the table. Before the early ’80’s, when unions still had a bargaining chance of seeing results in their favor, I was on the union side of the table. However, in the late ’70’s, things changed.

    During the Carter Administration, (’76-80), the economy (almost literally) went into default, w/ major corporations, (including the Big 3 auto makers and entire machine tool industry), in dire straits. Chrysler almost went broke, were it not for asking and receiving a HUGE government loan to stay afloat. The first of its kind. The country was in a deep recession, and to ward off a depression it took certain measures to counteract. One was when the IRS homogenized bankruptcy laws concerning businesses going under, redefining the terms ‘assets’ and ‘debts’, and allowing them to ‘reconsolidate’ their assets and ‘liquidate’ their ‘debts’ to a point to where a company could literally keep everything they own, (‘assets’ – inventory, stock, machinery, etc.), and PERMANENTLY lay off EVERY worker, (debts), to ‘reconsolidate’. The company then had to change its name, but was allowed to rehire new employees, at starting rates. (There was no obligation on the company’s part to rehire the old employees). How convenient for the company. Wala – they’re ‘back in business.

    This is now commonly known as when a company ‘pulls a Chapter 11 bankruptcy’. The workers lose their high-paying jobs and are collecting unemployment while they must find new work, and the company has successfully killed two birds w/ one stone – they ‘broke’ the union and rid itself of all the high wages employees. The downside for the company is that all the new workers would have to be trained. However, the damages are minimal. Why? Because not everyone wants to lose their job, and there are always those ‘favorite pets’ they will keep on the payroll to help train the new recruits.

    This happened throughout the ’80’s and ’90’s, and contributed to ‘hostile take-overs’ of major companies. Since then, the landscape has changed. Companies are now making everything in Mexico or Asia/China, and literally every surviving union is now nothing more than a ‘paper tiger’, roaring for its union members, and giving the illusion they have the power they decree.

    What you’re witnessing now is ALL ENTERTAINMENT. Now watch the posturing on both sides as the deadline approaches. The threats, the insults, all of it. It’s all for – THE SHOW. The union will (ultimately) cave, (as they always do), and the union workers, dejected once again, will continue to work for the employer, and pay the ridiculous union dues every month.

    Same old, same old…

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