On Tuesday, the union announced that members voted
more than 90% in favor of going on strike, if a deal is not reached
before the current labor contract expires on August 1.
UPS employs 260,000 Teamsters, and has added 40,000 union members since
its current contract was reached five years ago. The shipments UPS
transports equal an estimated 6% of the nation’s GDP, which means a
labor dispute could disrupt the US economy.
At issue is how the shipping giant will expand to offer deliveries seven days a week.
UPS (UPS) began offering regular Saturday delivery
service just a year ago. It hasn’t officially announced plans for
Sunday service, but the union says the company has made several
proposals to expand weekend deliveries.
One proposal on the negotiating table is to create a two-tier wage
system that would take part-time workers who earn $15 an hour and make
them full-time at the same wage. Existing full-time drivers now earn an
average of $36 an hour, or roughly $75,000 a year.
The Teamsters are divided on this proposal, which makes it harder to reach a deal and avoid a strike.
An opposition group within the union, UPS Teamsters United, argues
that the delivery company, which posted a $5 billion profit in 2017,
should pay new full time workers the same as existing workers.
“Most people understand in the world of Amazon (AMZN)
and e-commerce, UPS isn’t going to be Monday to Friday or even Monday
to Saturday any more, it’s going to be a seven-day operation,” said
David Levin, spokesman for UPS Teamsters United. “But they made record
profits. They don’t need concessions to do that.”
A union spokesperson declined to comment on the negotiations…
The last time UPS had a strike was a 16-day walkout by the Teamsters in
1997, and there hasn’t been a bigger strike since then. This strike
could be even larger, since there were only 180,000 Teamsters at UPS at