UPS Could Be Paralyzed by Driver Strike, Businesses Brace for Impact

Last week, UPS and the Teamsters Union were unable to reach a contract agreement. If they do not resolve the issue by the end of the month, a strike could be called. The current contract that has been in place for five years expires on July 31st. However, there is nothing to replace it.

Teamsters have remained steadfast, blaming UPS as the reason for the slow progress in negotiating a new contract.

In a press release, Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien stated, “This multi-billion dollar corporation has much to offer American workers — but they don’t want it.” “UPS made a decision, and it was clear that they chose the wrong path.”

UPS also released a press release encouraging the union to continue trying.

Teamsters stopped negotiating in spite of historic proposals built on our leading pay. There is still nearly a whole month to go. We haven’t walked away and the union is responsible for remaining at the table.

Employees and customers are uneasy when a company refuses to negotiate, particularly when the end is near. This can disrupt the U.S. economic system. Teamsters’ actions only benefit our non-union competition.

We are proud of the results we have achieved in these negotiations. They’re a win-win for all our people. The Teamsters need to return to the table and finalize this agreement.

UPS has a very good reason for wanting the Teamsters back at the table. According to one consultant, the company may lose up to 30% of its volume in the event that drivers strike.

Freightwaves reports:

UPS delivered about 18,6 million parcels per day to the U.S. in the first three months. In a contingency, UPS expects to be able to handle 4,000,000 parcels by itself. The diversion would apply to the remaining 14.6 million parcels. The majority of these would be ground delivery.

Satish Jindel is the president of consultancy ShipMatrix. He said in a communiqué to FreightWaves, that 30% of the volume could be lost, which would be more than 4,000,000 parcels per day.

UPS is facing more competition than it did during the 1997 strike. If UPS is hampered by a strike, shippers will have more options than 26 years ago to deliver their packages.

Freightwaves reports that “Jindel imagined a scenario where large shippers divert lighter parcels below 5 pounds which can fit into a mailbox to USPS and heavier parcels go to FedEx.”

One organization reminds UPS drivers they do not have to go on strike. National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation published a notice Monday that said drivers could leave the union if it didn’t represent them.

The notice said that UPS employees have the right “to resign from their Teamsters membership and continue doing their job.” We recommend that you read the entire legal notice, as federal law is complex regarding union membership and union officials threaten workers who refuse to strike with crippling fines or punishments. You can also contact Foundation attorneys to get free legal advice about your situation.

The notice informs drivers, “Employees resigning their membership (or who are already nonmembers), have the right to go to work even when the union bosses call a strike.”

The foundation informed UPS drivers of their rights if they reside in states that protect right-to-work. The notice states that if you live in a state where there are Right to Work laws, you can stop paying union dues and fees if you do not support their activities.

The article also reminds motorists that, “If you don’t work in an area with Right to Work protections you have the right to opt out of union dues and you may be able to prevent other financial support from unions.” This is always good news.

Our supply chain is already fragile. We hope that UPS and the union will be able to work out a solution, otherwise, our packages may take longer to arrive.