UPS drivers threatening to strike; could hurt virtually every American

UPS drivers threatening to strike; could hurt virtually every American

August 4, 1997, probably doesn't stand out as a significant day in world history. But some would disagree.

That’s was the first time United Parcel Service (UPS) workers organized a nationwide strike in the U.S., which ended up with the company losing almost $780 million. In the 15 days that the strike lasted, 80% of UPS shipments went undelivered.

Now it may be happening again.

The world's biggest courier service is facing a union battle as workers demand higher pay and better working conditions. Contract negotiations between UPS and the Teamsters Union, which represents freight and warehouse workers, are slated to take place in the spring as existing contracts expire in July 2023.

Even before the next-day delivery and online shopping revolution took the economy by storm, a strike by UPS workers created a void that no other company could fill. The likes of FedEx and US Postal Service offer similar services, but they represent a sliver of the capacity that UPS bears..

Nearly 6% of US gross domestic product is facilitated by the services of UPS alone every year. If workers decide to suspend delivery or hold up their work in local warehouses for a prolonged period like in 1997, the ripple effects could affect almost every American.

"We want a contract that provides wins for our employees and that provides UPS the flexibility to stay competitive in a rapidly changing industry," UPS said in a statement this month. “We believe we’ll continue to find common ground with the Teamsters and reach an agreement that’s good for everyone involved.”

UPS employs 350,000 of the Teamsters force of 534,000 workers globally. Since the pandemic, UPS has hired over 72,000 Teamsters to its workforce, making them a core segment of the company's operations.

The courier giant pays its drivers a competitive $95,000 a year including pension benefits, the highest amongst its competitors who often hire drivers on a contract basis. Earlier this year, UPS cut hourly pay for part-time workers who were already faced with growing inflationary pains.

“We know from a lot of research that large employers set the standards,” said Robert Bruno, professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “So if you get a large company, a leading company like UPS, that touches a lot of different local economies, that has a lot of economic impact across the 50 states ... what they agree to with their union will set a standard in the marketplace.”

The current contract was approved under the leadership of legendary former Teamsters president James Hoffa Jr., the son of the midcentury labor movement giant who disappeared and whose body has famously never been found. But the new contract Sean O’Brien is lobbying for would include better pay, overtime work protection and safety against the scorching heat.

The Atlanta-based shipping company spends $270 million on safety for its workers. But the heat wave of the past summer saw several workers seek medical help to cope with the conditions at UPS’ distribution centers.

The union has also collected $300 million for a fund to pay members in the event that the Teamsters workers go on strike, O’Brien told CNN.

Last month, Teamsters counted a massive win at DHL for a newly ratified contract that boasted historic wage gains and offered greater benefits to full-time and part-time workers.

Bruno noted that timing is key for the Teamsters, as they may be in fertile ground with more people of color, women and young workers joining the current moment of resistance by organized labor. The friendly legal climate for labor under the Biden administration, he says, will also help establish more robust labor protections.

An impending strike could be yet another setback for the supply chain following the backlog from COVID-19. Wins in organizing labor through unions in 2022 point to a greater friction with employers. The recovery from the pandemic saw workers inclined to unionize across the nation, including within and against corporate juggernauts like Starbucks and Amazon.


# I Do Not WorshipForrest Mosby 2022-09-14 20:54
At the altar of UPS…somebody will pick up the slack…UPS are overpaid as it is
-1 # Ups not the only servicetamtamtx55 2022-09-11 15:40
It's time this country show ups that we can indeed use some else. They have shown their cowardly they are with our gun rights. Maybe time to bankrupt ups
+1 # RE: UPS drivers threatening to strike; could hurt virtually every Americanbleedingblue 2022-09-11 14:36
I talk to UPS drivers as they deliver packages to my house. The way I understand it is that have a step process of being able to graduate up the ladder of pay.
First you have to start out on the bottom by slinging and organizing boxes. loading trucks etc. Pay is not great at around 18 an hr.

After a few years of doing that and someone retires or fired etc of delivering then you could be next man up and get to deliver packages.
Pay then goes up to 22 an hr.
Do that for a couple years and pay goes to 27 an hr. Another year or so then to 32.
After a few years of delivering packages it is 42.50 an hr which is nice money where I'm at.

Also the stuff they have to go through on the trucks is stupid. All kinds of monitors on that truck where they can't do simple stuff like backup without there bosses knowing they put the truck in reverse.
# RE: UPS drivers threatening to strike; could hurt virtually every AmericanLinda Seikkula 2022-09-11 02:57
I looked at Hal World news about German legislator what he said. Not good. And went to first comment article. Not good.
-3 # RE: UPS drivers threatening to strike; could hurt virtually every Americanselah 2022-09-10 19:05
Proly 50% of the workers are now lbgqt demons and their productivity is low and costing MANY companies a fortune. FJB
-1 # Speaking of demons, ahhh, I mean Michael obamaselah 2022-09-10 20:40
-1 # Better Package coverNHydg 2022-09-10 22:58
Gotta make sure that Package is unnoticed............jus' sayin'
+4 # RE: UPS drivers threatening to strike; could hurt virtually every AmericanErfman 2022-09-10 18:41
Aren't you glad Biden is the president right now ?

Yeah, me either.
+3 # Will we make it?pmoore67 2022-09-10 18:27
Will we even make it to next year let alone that date? Things are going hot very very fast.
+4 # UpsKad2866 2022-09-10 18:17
Read they wanted AC in back of delivery trucks .
Yes it gets hot. Fans work pretty good.
Other drivers done it for decades without AC. Many USPS delivery vehicles don't have AC at all.
I feel men are getting too wussified.
They should be happy to have great jobs.
# Hmm...J Grayman 2022-09-10 20:30
Guess you don't live in the Desert SW!
So, when it's 115°, what do you suggest?
-1 # A 230 Air conditioner,oldschool 2022-09-10 21:53
2 doors open and 30 mph.

Now wasn't that a good joke. :-D
+3 # UPS One of the Best EmployersFaith11 2022-09-10 17:55
I'm surprised because I used to work with people from most of the big corporate companies. The company that had the employees that had the highest morale, and were the happiest hands down was UPS. Only heard great things about them from the employees. I started to wonder if I should go and work for them! :) As for Starbucks they have a very high turnover rate
+12 # The Blind leading the Blindoldschool 2022-09-10 12:13
All I can say is that this country is in for one hell of a wake up call.
-1 # RE: UPS drivers threatening to strike; could hurt virtually every AmericanRockyMountainBeerMan 2022-09-10 12:06
"Oh, no worries. It will all get better in a little while!"

+2 # How many times have we heard that lineoldschool 2022-09-10 12:18


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