- UPS will train managers over the coming weeks to help deliver packages in the event of a strike by International Brotherhood of Teamsters-represented employees on Aug. 1, the company said Friday.
- "While we have made great progress and are close to reaching an agreement, we have a responsibility as an essential service provider to take steps to help ensure we can deliver our customers’ packages if the Teamsters choose to strike," UPS said in a statement.
- Despite the training, the Teamsters can still “shut this company down if need be,” General President Sean O’Brien said during a Sunday webinar updating union members on negotiations. "The job is very skilled, whether you're a part-timer or a full-timer, and there's no way that scabs can do our work," he said.
UPS is firming up contingency plans in the event it doesn't reach a tentative agreement with the Teamsters on a new national contract by July 31, after which their current deal expires. The union plans to start a strike on Aug. 1 without an agreement in place, which would cause significant disruption for shippers.
"UPS can't train enough managers to do what you all do every single day," O'Brien said. "They can't stand in the heat in the back of the truck. They can't load package cars. They can't unload trailers. We will win this fight."
The current union contract with UPS covers around 330,000 employees, including drivers and package handlers. Additionally, the Teamsters say the union representing UPS pilots has agreed to honor picket lines and provide support if a strike occurs, which would further challenge the company's efforts to maintain business continuity.
While negotiators have reached tentative deals on various contract items, differing proposals on part-time employee wages have held up further progress since the morning of July 5. Part-timers earn $20 an hour on average after 30 days, according to UPS, but O'Brien said 100,000 of these employees are making less than that.
"They have to make sure that our members get paid more than people coming off the street," O'Brien said. "So we're going to be addressing that if and when we get back to the table."
If negotiators come to an agreement on part-time worker pay and reach a tentative deal by July 31, Teamsters employees will keep working until members ratify the contract, O'Brien said. The union leader added that it takes roughly three weeks to complete the ratification process.