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Teamsters Break Off UPS Talks, Warn Strike "Inevitable"

The Teamsters union gave UPS Inc. a June 30 ultimatum in labor talks after walking away from discussions June 28, warning a nationwide strike “appears inevitable.”

UPS and the union’s current National Master Agreement expires July 31.

Atlanta-based UPS said in response June 28 it would continue with negotiations and that “consensus requires time and serious, detailed discussion, but it also requires give-and-take from both sides.”

UPS, ranked No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America, said it made a “significantly amended proposal to address key demands from the Teamsters” prior to the two sides meeting June 28 after submitting an initial economic proposal a week earlier.

In response, the Teamsters walked out and demanded UPS “exchange its last, best, and final offer” by June 30. The union said it gave UPS a week’s notice June 27 to act responsibly. It represents more than 340,000 UPS package delivery drivers and warehouse logistics workers.

However, a deal is very likely to get done, Bruce Chan, Stifel director of global logistics and future mobility, told Transport Topics on June 29. Neither side can afford a strike, he said.

The last strike was in 1997, Chan said, which led to UPS losing considerable market share.

“I doubt they will make that mistake again,” he said.

UPS can pay more than it has offered so far, the Stifel analyst said. However, Teamsters members employed by UPS are among the best paid in the industry by quite a margin, especially compared with their counterparts at FedEx, he said.

The Teamsters are demanding a five-year agreement that guarantees higher wages for all workers, more full-time jobs, an end to forced overtime and “harassment from management,” elimination of a two-tier wage system, and protection from heat and other workplace hazards.


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