One of the biggest strikes in American history is happening at UPS

Contract negotiations are expected to begin between UPS and Teamsters Union in the spring before the current contract expires at the end of July 2023. Already, labor experts predict drivers and package handlers will leave before negotiations begin. on strike.

“The question is how long it will last,” said Todd Vachon, a professor of labor relations at Rutgers University. “The union president ran for office and won by taking a more belligerent approach, even though they were very close.” [to a deal], The general staff will be hungry to take on the company. ”

A UPS strike would then affect nearly every home in the country. An estimated 6% of the country’s gross domestic product is transported on his UPS trucks each year. The explosive growth of online retail has made the company and its drivers more important than ever to the country’s struggling supply chains. In addition to the company’s home delivery, we also deliver many products in stores, factories and offices.

UPS employs approximately 350,000 teamsters as drivers and package sorters in a global workforce of 534,000 full-time employees. And it’s growing fast — the company has added about 72,000 jobs representing his Teamster since the start of the pandemic.

There are competing services, fedex (FDX)the U.S. Postal Service, and Amazon’s own shipping service are only capable of handling a fraction of the 21.5 million U.S. packages that UPS moves daily.

In a statement earlier this month, the company said, “We want a deal that will give UPS the flexibility to win for our employees and stay competitive in a rapidly changing industry.” , have worked together to meet the needs of UPS employees, customers and the communities in which we live and work, and we believe we will continue to find common ground with Teamsters and reach good agreements. .For everyone involved.”

The union hasn’t gone on strike against UPS in nearly as long. Two weeks of protests in 1997If the union were to go on strike, it would be the largest strike in the country’s history against a single company.

Anger over current contract

There are certainly signs of strain in the relationship between the company and the union.

A majority of members voted against ratifying the current deal in 2018. then-President James Hoffaintroduced it because not enough members participated in the ratification vote to trigger a strike.
new union president, Sean O’Brienwon his office earlier this year UPS contracts are a central focus of his campaign. He vows that UPS will pay Teamster members more this time around, and often speaks of the $300 million in strike funds the union has amassed to pay members if they go on strike.

O’Brien told CNN Business last week, “Our union members wake up every day to strike. I would say no. But are they fed up? Yes, they are.” I’m fed up,” he said. “Whether there is a strike or not is entirely up to the company.

According to UPS, delivery drivers make an average salary of $95,000 a year, and with benefits like a traditional pension plan, they’re worth $50,000 a year. UPS semi-tractor His driver’s salary is even higher. That’s much higher than most FedEx and Amazon wages, where many drivers work for small independent contractors.

The current contract expires at 12:01 am on August 1st. O’Brien pledges that the union will not allow any kind of contract extension past that deadline.

and he added The union will demand better working conditions, in addition to better wages and benefits. This includes adding air conditioning to the panel trucks used for UPS deliveries. This poses a health risk to drivers, the union said.

“It’s no big deal for a company to install air conditioning,” he said. “Heat stroke is occurring frequently.”

Record profits with UPS

The company often talks about how much they value the employees Teamster represents.

And in one important respect (employment numbers), despite the apparent strain, UPS is one of workers’ best friends among US corporate executives. UPS is one of the few unionized employers to significantly increase salaries and increase membership. In other companies, union membership has declined steadily or over decades.

The increase in Teamsters’ jobs at UPS is due to a steady increase in online purchases, especially during the surge during the pandemic.It took just nine months to report what was already reported last year Record profit for the full yearUPS ends 2021 with operating profit up 50% to $13.1 billion. Earnings in the first half of the year were up another 10% year over year.

“Everybody keeps getting rich, except our members,” said O’Brien.

UPS CEO Carol Tome, who started the job shortly after the pandemic began, said the company’s union deal is its current competitive advantage. labor shortage.

She also tries to assure both investors and UPS customers that the company is prepared in case the union goes on strike. refused to

“Our goal with Teamsters is win-win-win,” she told investors in July. But she added that UPS is “developing a contingency plan.”

Source: www.cnn.com

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