UPS pledges to reach deal with Teamsters by July 5, union says

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Dive Brief:

  • The International Brotherhood of Teamsters said Friday that UPS has pledged to reach a contract agreement with the union no later than July 5.
  • That vow came along with a revised offer from the company that provides “significant movement on wages and other economic language,” according to the union. The Teamsters didn’t provide details on the offer, but General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman said in a statement it still “isn’t enough” compared to what the union is seeking.
  • “One of two things is going to happen next — UPS will come to terms on a deal we can confidently recommend to our members or UPS will fail and the company will put itself on the street,” Zuckerman said.

Dive Insight:

Friday’s announcement marks progress in the negotiations as the two sides attempt to reach an agreement ahead of the July 31 expiration of their current five-year national contract. The Teamsters say they will strike Aug. 1 if a deal isn’t in place by then.

A UPS strike would result in significant disruptions throughout U.S. supply chains. The current contract covers around 330,000 UPS employees, including delivery drivers and package handlers, helping the company deliver millions of packages every day.

UPS said in an emailed statement that it is encouraged the Teamsters are ready to continue negotiations and discuss its most recent proposal.

“We look forward to the union’s input so we can reach a timely agreement and provide certainty for our employees, our customers and the U.S. economy,” UPS said.

Economic terms like pay and benefits have been a roadblock in talks after the two sides sped through non-economic issues. The Teamsters have escalated their rhetoric against UPS during this stretch — the union pushed back on an initial UPS proposal covering these items and called it “appalling.” On Wednesday, it told the company to “exchange its last, best, and final offer no later than June 30.”

“The Teamsters will not work one minute beyond the expiration of our current agreement. UPS did not want to make progress on economics, but they conceded today that they will reach a deal by July 5 because they have no choice,” General President Sean O’Brien said in a statement.

The Teamsters said they will hold a livestreamed press conference outside union headquarters on Saturday to provide a negotiations update.

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