Jun 16, 2023 - Economy

UPS Teamsters authorize strike if contract isn't reached by July 31

A person holding a microphone speaks outdoors

Vincent Perrone, president of Teamsters Local 804, speaks during a rally with UPS workers and Teamsters members outside a UPS hub in New York on April 21. Photo: Paul Frangipane/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Unionized drivers and warehouse workers for UPS said Friday that they have authorized a strike if they don't secure a new contract by July 31.

Why it matters: The Teamsters represents more than 340,000 UPS workers nationwide, the largest private-sector union contract in North America.

  • The move was widely expected, but nonetheless heightens the tension at a time when delivery services are already under pressure to maintain recent improvements in supply chain operations.

Driving the news: The Teamsters said 97% of its UPS members voted to approve the strike, "giving the union maximum leverage to win demands at the bargaining table."

  • Negotiations began April 17 on the "national master agreement" as the union pursues a new five-year deal that would guarantee raises, more full-time positions, an end to forced overtime and the demise of the company's two-tier wage system.
  • UPS drivers already scored a win at the bargaining table when the company agreed to provide most of its delivery vehicles with air conditioning, Axios' Emily Peck reported

What they're saying: "This strike authorization vote sends a clear message to UPS that our members are damned and determined to take necessary action to secure a historic contract that respects their dedication and sacrifice," Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman said in a statement.

The other side: "The results do not mean a strike is imminent and do not impact our current business operations in any way," UPS said in a statement.

  • "Authorization votes and approvals are normal steps in labor union negotiations. We continue to make progress on key issues and remain confident that we will reach an agreement that provides wins for our employees, the Teamsters, our company and our customers."
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