The largest single-employer strike in American history 'now appears inevitable'

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With a strike deadline looming and no additional negotiations scheduled, the UPS Teamsters National Negotiating Committee unanimously rejected UPS's latest proposal in the pre-dawn hours Wednesday. 

The UPS Teamsters contract covers more than 340,000 full- and part-time workers and expires July 31. The Teamsters have made clear that its UPS members will not work beyond the expiration of the current contract, and last month members authorized a strike by 97%. 

"The Teamsters have stopped negotiating despite UPS’s historic offer that builds on our industry-leading pay," the carrier said in a statement Wednesday morning. "We have nearly a month left to negotiate. We have not walked away, and the union has a responsibility to remain at the table."

Union General President Sean M. O’Brien on June 27 demanded UPS present "a powerful tentative agreement within the next week — or the union will demand UPS present its last, best, and final offer."

UPS (CCJ Top 250, No. 2) met the one-week deadline with its proposal, but following what the union called "marathon negotiations" UPS did not present a last, best and final offer, "telling the union the company had nothing more to give."

Last week, O'Brien said a strike at UPS – which he coined the largest single-employer strike in American history – "now appears inevitable."

“This multibillion-dollar corporation has plenty to give American workers — they just don’t want to,” O’Brien said Wednesday. “UPS had a choice to make, and they have clearly chosen to go down the wrong road.”

UPS said Wednesday it is "proud of our offer," and chastised the union for "refusing to negotiate, especially when the finish line is in sight," adding that the union's failure to engage in negotiation "creates significant unease among employees and customers and threatens to disrupt the U.S. economy. Only our non-union competitors benefit from the Teamsters’ actions. It delivers wins for our people. The Teamsters should return to the table to finalize this deal."

The two sides reached consensus on 55 non-economic issues on June 19, yet remain at odds on matters governing health and welfare and pension benefits for members. 

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected].