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Teamsters Warn a Nationwide UPS Strike Is “Imminent”

“The largest single-employer strike in American history now appears inevitable,” said the union’s general president.

A UPS delivery truck drives through in intersection on June 12, 2023, in San Francisco, California.

“The largest single-employer strike in American history now appears inevitable.”

So said Teamsters general president Sean O’Brien late Wednesday after leaders of the union representing shipping giant UPS quit negotiating with company representatives after giving them a Friday deadline to “act responsibly and exchange a stronger economic proposal for more than 340,000 full- and part-time workers.”

The Teamsters had initially given the company a week to propose a better offer, but “UPS executives couldn’t make it one more day without insulting and ignoring union leaders and rank-and-filers as negotiations resumed on Wednesday,” the union said in a statement.

Common Dreams reported earlier this month that 97% of UPS workers represented by the Teamsters voted to authorize a nationwide strike if a deal wasn’t reached with management by July 31.

“The world’s largest delivery company that raked in more than $100 billion in revenue last year has made it clear to its union workforce that it has no desire to reward or respectfully compensate UPS Teamsters for their labor and sacrifice,” Wednesday’s statement alleged. “During the past week, UPS returned an appalling counterproposal to the union’s financial package, offering minuscule raises and wage cuts to traditional cost-of-living adjustments.”

O’Brien argued that “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.”

“They don’t care about our members’ families. UPS doesn’t want to pay up,” he added. “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. Working people who bust their asses every single day do not matter, not to UPS.”

One Denver-area UPS driver told World Socialist Web Site that “I want UPS to get rid of 60-hour work weeks. Driving a truck for 12 hours a day for five days a week is absolutely ridiculous and unfair… Then sometimes they demand six days from us. This is a violation of our lives. They act as though we have no families.”

Another UPS worker, this one at a Northern California warehouse, told the site that “working conditions are pretty brutal, with start times being pushed as far as 5:15 am.”

“We are being pushed to get these trucks loaded. We are not allowed to stop the conveyor belt if we have bulk items that are big and heavy,” the worker added. “We really are busting our behinds in loading trucks in numerical order for drivers to get deliveries. Also, a lot of time there was supposed to be double time but we were not paid double time. And when we request a sick day, those requests are not being met.”

In a statement, UPS said: “Last week, we provided our initial economic proposal. This week, we followed with a significantly amended proposal to address key demands from the Teamsters.”

“Reaching consensus requires time and serious, detailed discussion, but it also requires give-and-take from both sides,” the company added. “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.”

Nina Turner, a senior fellow at the Institute on Race, Power, and Political Economy, on Wednesday offered a solution to avert a strike.

“Instead of a Teamsters strike,” the two-time congressional candidate tweeted, “what if — just hear me out — UPS decided to meet their workers’ demands?”

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