With recent strikes and protests by port drivers, baristas, and sandwich crafters, we’ve seen the pushback by employees and contractors against their employers for more pay, benefits and respect. But eyes are turning to a possible strike that would be catastrophic for everyday households – the UPS/Teamsters contract.
21.5 million packages get delivered by UPS annually
If you’ve done business involving parcels, more likely than not it was shipped by United Parcel Service, also known as UPS. It is one of the major parcel carriers in the world, dwarfing competitors FedEx, USPS, and Amazon.
UPS employs 350,000 Teamsters, about 25% of the total 1.2 million members of the union. During the pandemic era, about 72,000 more Teamsters employees have joined the company.
Almost 6% of the United States gross domestic product (GDP) is handled in some way by UPS. Outside of home delivery services, UPS also handles other types of freight.
This is a vastly different Teamsters leadership than last contract
Sean O’Brien is the newly elected president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. He beat James Hoffa, son of the infamous Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa. O’Brien ran his campaign on the impending negotiations with UPS, vowing to be tougher on deal-making than previous contracts.
“UPS executives sit inside their air-conditioned, C-suite offices all day while UPS Teamsters endure some of the most intense weather conditions imaginable, and this corporation needs to own up for what it is or is not doing to protect these workers. The Teamsters aren’t asking for answers – we’re demanding them.”Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien in a press release.
The Teamsters union recently sent a demand to UPS asking what it was planning to offer drivers to help with the ongoing heatwaves taking place across the country. The Teamsters are pushing to have some form of air conditioning added to the panel vans, the iconic brown trucks commonly seen on local streets throughout the nation.
Formal negotiations begin January 1, 2023, with the current contract set to expire July 1, 2023. The Teamsters union has made no bones about a strike if a new contract cannot be agreed to by the deadline.
This is a developing story and BTU will be monitoring the negotiations closely.