UPS drivers will be ready to strike this time next year if there is a breakdown in negotiations with the drivers union according to the Teamsters general president Sean O’Brien.
While the current UPS driver’s contract is still in place for just under a year and is due to expire on July 31st, 2023. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has already begun its nationwide campaign including leafletting, parking lot rallies, and other activities at UPS centers across the country.
“We are sending a message to UPS that the days of concessions and walking all over our members are over,”
“UPS would not have its billion-dollar profits without hardworking Teamster members. Our message to UPS is that it’s time our contract reflects the essential work of our members.”Sean M. O’Brien, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
It has been a tough four years for the 360,000+ UPS drivers and warehouse workers that the Teamsters union represents. Not only because of the pressures experienced whilst navigating the Covid pandemic but also because, since 2019, drivers have been working under a contract that made them among the highest-paid in the last-mile business but included a lot of unpopular provisions.
O’Brien Vows To Fight For A Better UPS Contract
Sean O’Brien took on the role of General President in March 2022 and he has vowed to undo some of the disliked elements of the UPS contract, namely a new tier of drivers the company created to handle Saturday deliveries, driver-facing cameras in trucks, and a new kind of seasonal hire using personal vehicles. He’s also strong on raising part-time pay.
UPS Teamsters have delivered an unprecedented volume of packages throughout the pandemic which enabled businesses to run smoothly and ensured families could safely shelter at home.
Whilst others were working from home delivery drivers continued to work 10-12 hour shifts and under punishing conditions like extreme heat. This dedication to the company drove UPS’s net profits to $11.2 billion in the last two years alone, but according to the union, the average worker is paid 600 times less than CEO Carol Tomé.
During this time the Teamsters union has amassed a $350 million strike fund and shortened the time it takes for members to receive a payout from eight days to one. Which gives them an incredible amount of leverage when it comes to contract negotiations.
“Our union is resolved to win the best contract for UPS members and to reset the standards for wages and benefits in this industry by August 1, 2023. We won’t extend negotiations by a single day. We’ll either have a signed agreement that day or be hitting the pavement,”Sean M. O’Brien, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
The Teamsters have also been incredibly vocal over the number of hospitalizations that have happened this year due to heat exhaustion, and you can be sure this will also be a part of their future negotiations.
Whilst the reality of a strike is still a year away, it would be wise for UPS business customers to continue monitoring the situation and news of upcoming negotiations, to ensure that if a strike does take place then your business has a contingency in place.
We will of course keep you up to date with the latest developments in this story.
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