UPS employees in the U.S. have given Teamsters an overwhelming strike mandate, with 97% of unionized employees authorizing the action.
The vote lets the UPS Teamsters National Negotiating Committee call a strike if they fail to come to terms on a contract by July 31, when an existing agreement expires. Teamsters represent more than 340,000 UPS package delivery drivers and warehouse workers in the U.S.
“This vote shows that hundreds of thousands of Teamsters are united and determined to get the best contract in our history at UPS. If this multibillion-dollar corporation fails to deliver on the contract that our hardworking members deserve, UPS will be striking itself,” Teamsters general president Sean M. O’Brien said in a media release. “The strongest leverage our members have is their labor and they are prepared to withhold it to ensure UPS acts accordingly.”
National negotiations began April 17.
“The results do not mean a strike is imminent and do not impact our current business operations in any way,” UPS responded in a notice of its own. “Authorization votes and approvals are normal steps in labor 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.”
What Teamsters want
The union is seeking a five-year deal that guarantees higher wages and more full-time jobs, ends “forced overtime and harassment from management”, eliminates a two-tier wage system, and protects workers from heat and other hazards.
UPS has already agreed to vehicle updates to address the heat-related concerns.
The fleet has also reported progress on operating priorities and the use of technology and in-vehicle cameras.
“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,” said Teamsters general secretary-treasurer Fred Zuckerman. “Our members are the backbone of UPS, and they are the reason this corporation hauled in more than $100 billion in revenue just last year. It’s time for UPS to pay up.”
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