The International Brotherhood of Teamsters said Wednesday that a nationwide UPS strike "is imminent," after walking away from the national bargaining table and demanding the package delivery service company to provide its best and final offer by Friday.
UPS and the Teamsters — the union that represents over 340,000 UPS workers — have been in negotiations over a new contract since April, following complaints from many UPS employees over the 2018 contract, and the company’s working conditions.
Some of the union’s requests include longer breaks, air conditioning in delivery trucks due to last summer’s extreme heat, and higher wages.
Earlier this month, UPS announced an agreement to add air conditioning and other heat safety measures in delivery vehicles, though other issues were still under negotiation.
The Teamsters gave UPS a week on Tuesday to provide a "stronger economic proposal" for its full- and part-time workers, the union said in a press release. But negotiations resumed the next day after the Teamsters alleged the UPS executives could not go a day without "insulting and ignoring union leaders."
Although both parties have reached a consensus on many non-economic issues, the biggest hangup at this point is a cost-neutral contract.
Sean O'Brien, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, speaks during a rally in 2022. (M. Scott Brauer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The Teamsters pointed to UPS’s $100 billion revenue last year, saying the delivery company is making it clear that it has no desire to reward its staff members for the hard work and sacrifices they make.
The union also said UPS returned to the table over the past week with "an appalling" counterproposal which offered "miniscule raises and wage cuts to traditional cost-of-living adjustments."
"Executives at UPS, some of whom get tens of millions of dollars a year, do not care about the hundreds of thousands of American workers who make this company run," Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien said in the release. "They don’t care about our members’ families. UPS doesn’t want to pay up. Their actions and insults at the bargaining table have proven they are just another corporation that wants to keep all the money at the top."
If UPS does not return its best and final offer by Friday, the Teamsters threaten to strike by Aug. 1, which could cause disruptions in the supply chain in the U.S. and around the world.
The union also said Teamsters nationwide "overwhelmingly" authorized a strike this month with 97% approval.
UPS said Wednesday that its negotiators provided the company’s initial economic proposal, and this week, it was followed-up with a "significantly amended proposal" that addressed key demands from the union.
"Reaching consensus requires time and serious, detailed discussion, but it also requires give-and-take from both sides," UPS said. "We’re working around the clock to reach an agreement that strengthens our industry-leading pay and benefits ahead of the current contract’s expiration on August 1. We remain at the table ready to negotiate."