Leaders of the Teamsters union told CNN they are already prepared to strike despite the union’s contract with UPS ending in 11 months.
A potential strike of UPS employees could cause renewed challenges for the nation’s supply chain. The union’s leader Sean O’Brien told CNN that it has already collected $300 million in union fees and is prepared to pay members in case they go on strike.
“Do our members wake up every day wanting a strike? I’d say no. But are they fed up? Yes they’re fed up,” O’Brien told CNN last week. “Whether or not there is a strike, that’s totally up to the company. We’re going to utilize as much leverage as we can to get our members the contract they deserve.”
CNN reported that most Teamsters voted against ratifying the current contract in 2018, but leadership opted to enact the agreement with UPS. The union said not enough members participated in the vote to trigger a strike.
The company’s 534,000 employees generated $97.3 billion in revenue in 2021. CNN said an estimated 6% of the United States’ gross domestic product moves through the service. Competing delivery services would only be able to absorb a fraction of UPS’ shipments if a strike were to proceed.
UPS CEO Carol Tome told investors that it is making contingency plans, but CNN reported that the company’s contract is a competitive one given current labor challenges.
UPS employees have not gone on strike since 1997. The New York Times reported that the 15-day strike cost UPS $600 million in business.
One of the major issues in the 1997 strike was the number of full-time positions that had become part-time.