“Strike imminent” Teamsters leaders say as they walk out of negotiations with UPS

In response to UPS’ lowball economic proposals, Teamsters challenged the company to provide a proposal that meets worker’s demands by June 30

June 28, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
UPS Teamsters participating in a practice strike in Seattle. Photo: Teamsters

On June 28, leaders in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters trade union walked out of contract negotiations with United Parcel Service (UPS) and declared that “nationwide UPS strike is imminent”. After making impressive victories in bargaining non-economic demands, such as winning air conditioning in UPS trucks, Teamsters say that UPS is not willing to deliver on workers’ economic needs. After walking out of negotiations, Teamsters are giving UPS until June 30 to deliver a final offer on an economic proposal that meets the demands of workers.

“During the past week, UPS returned an appalling counterproposal to the union’s financial package, offering miniscule raises and wage cuts to traditional cost-of-living adjustments,” the Teamsters stated.

UPS’s surprisingly lowball proposal leaked on Friday, June 23. This proposal included an annual wage increase of only USD 0.50 per year for the first three years of the contract.

“50 cents a year for three years, then 55 cents for the next two years is a slap in the face,” UPS Teamster Antonio Rosario, of Local 804 in New York, told Peoples Dispatch. Rosario is a veteran of the last UPS Teamsters strike, in 1997, one of the ten largest strikes in US history. “With a disrespectful proposal like that UPS better not act surprised when [workers] hit the streets come August 1. They have until July 31 to figure it out,” Rosario said, referring to when the present contract expires on July 31.

Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien said in an official statement, “Executives at UPS, some of whom get tens of millions of dollars a year, do not care about the hundreds of thousands of American workers who make this company run. They don’t care about our members’ families. UPS doesn’t want to pay up. Their actions and insults at the bargaining table have proven they are just another corporation that wants to keep all the money at the top. Working people who bust their asses every single day do not matter, not to UPS.”

Teamsters have already held a successful strike authorization vote, and are all set to walk off the job on August 1 if UPS allows their contract to expire without meeting workers’ demands.