Negotiations are underway for the 330,000 members of the Teamsters that currently work and do operations for UPS. The current contract is set to expire on July 31, and the Teamsters have been preparing for the possible strike action for some time, amassing over $300 million dollars in their collective strike fund and are “willing to use every penny to help make sure UPS employees get what they want in this contract” says Teamsters general secretary-treasurer Fred Zuckerman. A few key demands are driver and package handler safety, including A/C in their vehicles and workstations, which sometimes exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit for almost an entire work shift, all at the expense of saving a few dollars for the parasites on top to profit more. Members also want to see a sharp shift in the “surveillance culture” where it is common for ring cameras to be used in most trucks, a system that could be used to help prevent robberies, but instead being used to police drivers and harass them over things as trivial as stopping to use the bathroom. Higher wages to keep up with rising inflation, protection for “Hybrid” employees, ones who are often given the part time label to save on benefits by UPS, but are often left working full time hours. These aren’t decisions that come down to an overlooked shift here and there, they are problems created by management within UPS to increase profit for shareholders, at the expense of those who actually work for a living.
Teamsters President Sean O’Brien has made it clear where he stands, calling UPS out for what it is, a “White collar crime syndicate” adding “July 31, when Big Brown is shut down, you’re going to see supply-chain solutions come to a halt. And you know what? We’re not afraid to do it.” That date is approaching rapidly and is something the United States hasn’t seen from UPS employees in almost 30 years, when in 1997 the 180,000 Teamster members employed by UPS went out on a strike that lasted 15 days and had widespread impact on the economy. That strike was largely successful and a huge victory for rank-and-file workers at the time, and itself becoming a historic foothold for later action. With a union membership almost double what it was in 1997, the workers should be able to walk into a possible reenactment of strike action with confidence.
Unlike the Railway Labor Act, which allowed President Biden to step in and halt strike action before it started by railroad workers in 2022, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) offers no such protection to the industry. This means if a contract isn’t in place are underway on August 1, they WILL STRIKE.
“We will set the tone for organized labor and the entire country with this contract. There is no better organization to set that bar high than the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. We are not going to accept and take what UPS gives us. UPS Teamsters have fire in their eyes and the intestinal fortitude to take on this company.” Said O’Brian
“Supplemental negotiating committees have made it clear to the company that UPS is delusional if it thinks there will be a cost-neutral contract after it raked in more than $13 billion in profit last year thanks to the hard work of our members.”