The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is calling for “a powerful tentative agreement” with UPS on a new national contract within the next week, or the union will demand the company to present it with a final offer.
The current national contract covering around 330,000 UPS employees expires July 31, and the two sides are currently negotiating economic items like pay and benefits. The Teamsters want a new tentative agreement reached soon to allow enough time for the deal to be properly disseminated to and voted on by members before the expiration date.
When asked if the Teamsters would be willing to negotiate further with UPS on contract proposals beyond the next week, union spokesperson Kara Deniz said the company has had an opportunity to propose a worthy deal for months.
“We’re not waiting around for them to change their mind on something when they feel like it,” Deniz told Supply Chain Dive. “They can do it now.”
The Teamsters have vowed to strike if a deal isn’t in place by the time the current contract expires. UPS workers represented by the union voted 97% in favor of allowing leaders to call a strike if needed.
“When we say the current contract expires July 31, that means we want a new contract in place starting August 1,” Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien said in a statement. “Not in six months. Not next spring. We demand a historic new contract August 1, with more money in our members’ pockets immediately.”
UPS said in an emailed statement that it welcomes the Teamsters’ urgency to have a ratified contract in place by Aug. 1.
“We’ve been negotiating in good faith to reach an agreement with the Teamsters, and the progress we have made to date reflects our shared commitment to this process,” the company said. “We are prepared to work around the clock until we have a new contract that includes wins for our employees, the Teamsters, our company and our customers.”
The delivery giant and the Teamsters National Negotiating Committee began negotiating economic issues last week after reaching tentative agreements on non-economic topics such as technology implementation and SurePost deliveries.
The union said Tuesday negotiations are off to a slow start, as UPS still hasn’t given it “a revised or respectful” counteroffer on economic items.
“UPS isn’t working with the union’s prior administration, dragging out the bargaining process and submitting to extensions until finally agreeing to a watered-down deal months after the expiration of the contract,” said Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman in a statement. “This is what hard bargaining looks like.”