11,000 UPS Freight drivers across the US may be on strike by Monday — and it could mean more expensive holiday shipments for consumers

UPS Freight workers may be on strike by Monday.
Jim Young/Reuters
  • UPS Freight and its unionized employees have reached a standstill in contract negotiations.
  • UPS Freight’s 11,000 truck drivers may be on strike by Monday if they do not approve UPS Freight’s final contract offer.
  • As a result, UPS Freight is slowing deliveries in preparation for a potential strike.
  • It would be the first UPS strike since 1997.

UPS Freight is clearing all its shipments this week to ensure its network is empty by Friday. That’s because its 11,000 drivers, who are represented by a Teamsters union, may be on strike by Monday.

“The company has now begun discussions with UPS Freight customers to inform them of the potential for service disruption and the need to arrange alternative carriers,” UPS said in a statement emailed to Business Insider.

UPS Freight and the Teamsters Freight National Bargaining Committee have reached a standstill on contract negotiations. Every five years, the two parties negotiate a labor contract applying to UPS Freight’s drivers.

On Wednesday, Teamsters members across the country began voting on UPS’s “last, best, and final offer” contract, a Teamsters representative told Business Insider. The votes will be tallied on Sunday.

The drivers’ negotiating committee is demanding restrictions on subcontracting, higher wage increases, better pay for drivers who perform dock work, an elimination of certain requirements for pension and vacation benefits, and other protections, a statement the Teamsters sent Business Insider said.

UPS has responded to certain Teamsters negotiation demands. For instance, the threshold for workers to qualify for a year of pension credit was maintained at 1,500 hours; UPS tried to raise that to 1,800.

The negotiating committee said in a statement that the changes are not enough. Members have already approved a strike, which they called “a last resort.”

Read more: Truck driver salaries have fallen by as much as 50% since the 1970s — and experts say a little-known law explains why

“It is an offer that rewards our employees with wages and benefits at the top of the industry and compensates them for their contributions to the success of the company,” UPS said in the statement. “We are disappointed that the Freight Teamsters union leaders have chosen to announce the potential for a strike, should their members vote ‘no’ on the offer.”

A strike would most likely jack up the prices of your holiday shipments

An increase in transportation costs in 2018 has delayed shipments and jacked up the final price of goods, passed down to consumers from companies like Amazon and General Mills.

A shutdown of UPS Freight would exacerbate that. Shippers who typically rely on the service would have to quickly find a last-minute alternative, which would likely be more expensive.

According to the industry publication FreightWaves, should the strike occur, shippers’ on-time performance could fall by 5-10%, and small-to-midsize businesses could see price increases of 10-20%.

UPS Freight differs from the small-package unit that consumers most typically interact with — those 250,000 UPS drivers are covered by an already negotiated labor contract, so “customers can remain confident” that service will remain normal, UPS said.

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“Vote No” Contract Unity Signs UPS

Order Vote No signs to mobilize members to vote to reject contract givebacks at UPS.

UPS is making $6 billion in profits. But the proposed contract is full of givebacks. This deal paves the way for five more years of harassment, excessive overtime, subcontracting, and low-part-time wages–unless we stop it!

We can send UPS and the Hoffa administration back to the negotiating table to fix this broken deal. But that will only happen if we inform the members and Vote No on the proposed contract. Are you ready to do your part?

UPS Teamsters United has printed up new Vote No contract signs. Will you help reach out to UPSers and spread the word that it’s time to get ready to Vote No?

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UPS Has 260,000 Union Workers and They’ve Just Authorized a Strike

By BloombergJune 6, 2018
United Parcel Service (ups) workers authorized their union to call what would be the first strike since 1997, giving negotiators more leverage in talks to replace a labor contract that expires at the end of July.

Of the workers from the package unit who voted, 93% favored the authorization and 91% of UPS freight employees agreed to the measure, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced on a webcast. The rate of voter participation wasn’t provided. A strike authorization is common during negotiations to put pressure on the company, said UPS spokesman Glenn Zaccara. Even with that, the union can’t go on strike until after the current contract expires on July 31.

“UPS is confident in our ability to reach an agreement that meets the needs of our employees and the business,” Zaccara said.  The labor talks are proceeding amid discussions on pay and work schedules, as UPS looks to increase warehouse automation to keep up with surging demand from e-commerce shipments. The union has proposed increasing the part-time starting wage as well as improving the overall pay structure, according to a statement on its website. It’s also pushing the courier to increase contributions to health and welfare and pension funds.

Union leaders urged support for strike authorization in a letter dated May 15 and signed by James P. Hoffa, general president of the Teamsters, and Denis Taylor, co-chair of the union’s UPS National Negotiating Committee. The last time negotiations broke down was in 1997 when drivers went on strike for less than three weeks before terms were reached.

“Nobody wants a strike. It hurts the company and it hurts members,” they said in the letter. “However, the ability to strike is necessary in order to ensure a timely and positive conclusion to negotiations. We have to show that we’re not afraid of striking.”

Deal Prospects
UPS declined 0.1% to $116.81 in New York. The shares have lost 2% this year, compared with the 1.1% decline of a Standard & Poor’s index of industrial companies and an advance of almost 1% for FedEx Corp.

Voting began in the middle of last month and concluded June 3. About 260,000 UPS workers are employed under a national master agreement with the union, the company said.

UPS and the Teamsters already have reached tentative agreements on a “wide variety of non-economic issues,” Zaccara said.

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