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Expecting A Package? One Of America’s Shipping Giants Could Grind To A Halt In Just Days

Labor union giant the International Brotherhood of Teamsters warns that if a deal is not reached in negotiations with the United Parcel Service soon, 340,000 drivers could strike.

The Teamsters, a labor union that boasts 1.2 million members and traditionally covers drivers, has been in talks with UPS in order to reach a deal on a new contract before the current contract expires on July 31, according to a press release from the Teamsters. The union demanded to UPS in a press conference Saturday that a deal must be reached soon, hinting that a strike could occur as soon as July 5 if demands for better pay, more full-time jobs and more safety considerations are not met, which would be the largest strike since the 1959 steelworkers strike, according to CBS News.

“Both sides have made commitments to get a historic deal done no later than July 5. If UPS fails on this pledge, they know what’s waiting for them. UPS will put itself on strike and force the supply chain in this country to come crashing down,” General President Sean O’Brien said in a press conference on Saturday.

UPS has maintained that it is in full cooperation and is working tirelessly to reach a deal with the Teamsters. “Last week, we provided our initial economic proposal. This week we followed with a significantly amended proposal to address key demands from the Teamsters,” UPS said in statements to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “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. We remain at the table ready to negotiate.”

The shipping company as of Q1 2023 controls 52.73%  of the market share within the U.S. transport and logistics industry, with its closest competitor, FedEx, having 46.11%, according to CSI Market.

UPS’ only other nationwide strike was in 1997, when 187,000 UPS workers went on strike, lasting 15 days and costing the company $780 million, according to trade publication Parcel.

The Teamsters have made their threats of strike very clear, giving an ultimatum on Tuesday after the union accused UPS of coming to negotiations “without a revised or respectful economic proposal in-hand.” The union told UPS that “you have one week” to bring a better deal.

“This is why there’s new leadership at the Teamsters. UPS isn’t working with the union’s prior administration, dragging out the bargaining process and submitting to extensions until finally agreeing to a watered-down deal months after the expiration of the contract,” said Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman in the press release. “This is what hard bargaining looks like. This is labor’s leverage, and the Teamsters are not afraid to use it.”

The threats of strike come as the Biden administration has been emphasizing its support for unions. President Joe Biden pledged to “be the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen” the night before the 2020 election and has taken pro-union actions like an April 2021 executive order to investigate how to increase union membership.

The Teamsters did not respond to a request to comment by the DCNF.

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