UPS Teamsters Overwhelmingly Approve Strike Authorization Vote.
July 07, 2023: In a significant development, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) announced that an overwhelming 97% of its members employed by global logistics leader UPS had authorized a strike. This strike authorization vote empowers the union to exert maximum leverage during contract negotiations and achieve favorable outcomes.
Local unions representing UPS Teamsters conducted in-person voting earlier this month, with most members supporting the strike authorization. The contract between UPS and its 340,000 Teamster members expires on July 31.
According to the Teamsters, this vote enables the UPS Teamsters National Negotiating Committee to call for a strike if a strong new contract is not reached by the deadline. The union is focused on securing a new five-year agreement that includes higher wages, ending forced overtime and harassment, more full-time jobs, eliminating a two-tier wage system, and enhanced protection against workplace hazards like heat.
Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien emphasized the unity and determination of the union’s members, highlighting their commitment to obtaining the best contract in UPS history. O’Brien stated, “If this multibillion-dollar corporation fails to deliver on the contract our hardworking members deserve, UPS will strike itself. Our members’ strongest leverage is their labor, and they are prepared to withhold it to ensure UPS acts accordingly.”
The UPS Teamsters National Master Agreement represents North America’s largest private-sector contract. With this strike authorization vote, the Teamsters aim to secure a contract that addresses their members’ concerns and safeguards their rights. However, UPS emphasized that the vote does not indicate an imminent strike and does not impact the company’s operations.
UPS stated that authorization votes and approvals are typical steps in labor union negotiations. The company remains committed to progressing on critical issues and is confident in reaching an agreement that benefits employees, the Teamsters, the company itself, and its customers.
While negotiations have progressed, including a recent tentative agreement on heat safety, significant ground remains to cover. Both parties have exchanged proposals on various non-economic items and discussed critical topics such as safety, technology, and operating priorities. Negotiations continue to achieve a mutually beneficial resolution by the contract deadline.
It’s worth noting that this strike authorization vote holds historical significance, as a potential strike at UPS would be the largest single-employer strike in U.S. history. UPS plays a crucial role in the nation’s economy, with its deliveries contributing to approximately 6% of its gross domestic product. The union’s strong mandate underscores the importance of addressing the workers’ concerns and reaching a fair agreement.
As negotiations progress, both parties will continue working toward finding common ground. While the possibility of a strike looms, UPS remains focused on ensuring the uninterrupted flow of its operations. The company acknowledges the Teamsters’ importance and contributions to UPS’s success, emphasizing the mutual benefits that a favorable contract can bring. By working together, UPS and the Teamsters strive for a win-win outcome that supports the well-being of employees, meets customer needs, and strengthens the company’s competitive position in the market.