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Blog / UPS Teamsters and the #HotUnionSummer
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UPS Teamsters and the #HotUnionSummer

If the Teamsters’ Twitter account is right, we may have a #HotUnionSummer. According to CNN, negotiations broke down Wednesday, July 5, with UPS and Teamsters representatives laying the blame on the other side. The UPS statement declared, “The Teamsters have stopped negotiating despite historic proposals that build on our industry-leading pay.” In a Facebook post, the Teamsters said, “Following marathon negotiations, UPS refused to give the Teamsters a last, best, and final offer, telling the union the company had nothing more to give.”

With a contract expiration date of July 31 and no additional negotiations scheduled, we may witness 340,000 UPS employees take to the picket lines come August 1. In today’s post, we’ll look at why a potential strike would be a big deal for the entire nation, where the negotiations broke down, how FedEx could be the biggest winner in the deal, and how you can prepare for every possibility.

A UPS strike would be  a big deal

This isn’t the first time UPS employees have gone on strike for better conditions. Our founding partner, James, was there 27 years ago. Then, the 185,000 employees’ 15-day strike cost UPS $850 million and 10% of its customers.

With UPS delivering nearly 25% of parcels in the nation, a strike would be felt from big businesses down to individual households— with delivery delays and complicated returns.

Where’s the breakdown?

By July 1, UPS and the Teamsters had reached tentative agreements on several major issues:

  • Ending the 22.4 two-tier wage system and reclassification of those drivers to senior status
  • Establishing Martin Luther King Day as a full holiday
  • Buying only airconditioned trucks
  • Ending forced overtime on drivers’ days off

These agreements weren’t enough, though. The Teamsters will only accept a deal if UPS meets demands for higher part-time wages and more full-time opportunities. While UPS says their offer will “deliver wins for our people,” Teamsters say, “UPS had a choice to make, and they have clearly chosen to go down the wrong road.”

UPS’ strain may be FedEx’s gain

Between January and March, UPS delivered 18.7 million packages per day and 6% of the USA’s gross domestic product.

According to its website, FedEx delivers 6.3 million packages daily with room to carry some, but not all, UPS packages in case of a strike.

While shippers have far more alternative carrier options than during the 1997 strike, FedEx is UPS’s greatest rival and an obvious choice for defecting customers. Despite FedEx’s March 31 deadline for customers making a switch, they released a statement on July 6 saying it’s not too late and encouraged them to switch now to avoid delays.

UPS rivals shouldn’t be the only ones benefitting from the looming uncertainty in the industry. Now is an ideal time to audit your contract, renegotiate with your current carrier, or switch to a new one. The team at ShipRx has been in the industry since before the strike of ’97, and can help you discover new ways to ensure you get the best service at the best price.

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