Following marathon negotiations, the labor union representing nearly 340,000 UPS workers claims the company “walked away from the bargaining table” early Wednesday morning.
Negotiators for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said they unanimously rejected an “unacceptable offer” that didn’t address members’ needs. The move comes a week after the union gave UPS a June 30 deadline to present a “last, best, and final offer.”
“This multibillion-dollar corporation has plenty to give American workers they just dont want to,” Teamsters General President Sean M. OBrien said in a statement. “UPS had a choice to make, and they have clearly chosen to go down the wrong road.”
AFTER MARATHON SESSIONS, UPS NEGOTIATIONS COLLAPSE Around 4AM, UPS walked away from the bargaining table after presenting an unacceptable offer to the Teamsters that did not address members needs. The UPS Teamsters Natl Negotiating Committee unanimously rejected the package pic.twitter.com/LKtjz4jI9I
Teamsters (@Teamsters) July 5, 2023
Contract negotiations have been ongoing for months, with workers demanding a five-year agreement that guarantees higher wages for all workers, more opportunities for full-time employment, the elimination of its so-called “two-tier wage system,” an end to forced overtime work, and additional protections from heat and other workplace hazards.
UPS has defended its stance on things like pay and overtime work, claiming its delivery drivers make $95,000 a year on average and the company and its workers “need to remain flexible to meet the changing needs of our customers.” UPS has also agreed to equip all new package delivery vehicles with air conditioning starting in 2024.
“We have nearly a month left to negotiate,” UPS said in a statement. “We have not walked away, and the union has a responsibility to remain at the table.”
UPS workers voted overwhelmingly last month to authorize a strike if the company and its employees can’t agree to a new contract by July 31, setting the stage for the largest U.S. labor walkout since the 1959 steelworkers’ strike when half a million were off the job for nearly four months.
With millions of people relying on delivery services for essentials like food, clothing and medication, a potential strike would bring a large swath of the U.S. economy to a grinding halt. It would also pose broader complications for companies like Amazon, which allows sellers to ship goods through UPS.
The Atlanta-based company said it made record profits in 2022, delivering an average of 24.3 million packages per day to more than 220 countries and territories around the globe. It also issued some $8.6 billion in dividends and stock buybacks that year.
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