The United States might soon face another supply chain crisis, but this time it will be inflicted by a strike, not the pandemic.
The Teamsters announced that “local unions representing UPS Teamsters will begin conducting in-person voting this week for strike authorization.
Voting YES will enable the Teamsters National Negotiating Committee to call a nationwide strike at UPS should the company fail to reach agreement on a strong new contract for more than 340,000 UPS Teamsters.
Strike authorization votes will be recorded in-person at local union halls and at the gates of UPS facilities. Results will be announced Friday, June 16.
‘The time has come to use our strongest leverage and officially remind UPS that hundreds of thousands of Teamsters are ready to withhold our labor to ensure UPS acts accordingly,’ said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. ‘The National Committee strongly urges all UPS Teamsters to vote YES to authorize a strike. This is how we win.’
‘All Teamsters at UPS must be ready to show these corporate executives how serious we are about our new contract. We’ve been organizing, training, and rallying in the lots. Now it’s time to vote,’ said Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman. ‘UPS is going to give us what we’ve earned. But we have to fight like hell for it. We must be prepared to hit the streets August 1 if UPS screws this up.'”
A strike at UPS, especially as the price of oil rises, could be a terrible one-two punch against an economy that is teetering on recession after battling Biden’s inflation for two years.
The AP writes, “UPS delivers millions more packages every day than it did just five years ago and its 350,000 unionized workers, represented by the Teamsters, still seethe about a contract they feel was forced on them in 2018.
In an environment of energized labor movements and lingering resentment among UPS workers, the Teamsters are expected to dig in, with the potential to cow a major logistical force in the U.S.
The 24 million packages UPS ships on an average day amounts to about a quarter of all U.S. parcel volume, according to the global shipping and logistics firm Pitney Bowes, or as UPS puts it, the equivalent of about 6% of nation’s gross domestic product.
Higher prices and long wait times are all but certain if there is an impasse.
‘Something’s got to give,” said Thomas Goldsby, logistics chairman in the Supply Chain Management Department at the University of Tennessee. “The python can’t swallow the alligator, and that’s going to be felt by all of us.’
The last time unions threatened American supply chains due to a strike by rail workers, President Joe Biden forced a deal through Congress. Some have argued that the Biden deal led to the rail disaster in East Palestine, Ohio.
Will the White House act against the Teamsters? The UPS contract with the Teamsters expires on July 31.