‘There are going to be a lot of packages not delivered to people’s doorsteps’ ⋆
The clock is ticking down on an expiring labor contract between the United Parcel Service (UPS) and the Teamsters, the union representing nearly 340,000 UPS workers who want better pay, particularly for part-time workers, and improved working conditions.
Negotiations are set to resume Tuesday on a five-year labor contract that expires at midnight July 31. About 6,000 UPS Teamsters live and work in Michigan.
Scott Quenneville, president of Teamsters Local 243 in Plymouth that represents UPS employees, told the Advance on Thursday that the issue has a significant impact on commercial customer service.
The local has held “practice pickets” across Southeast Michigan in recent weeks, including Wixom, Ypsilanti, Taylor and Shelby Township. Other pickets have taken place across the country.
“There is a lot at stake,” Quenneville said. “… [If a strike happens], there are going to be a lot of packages not delivered to people’s doorsteps and it’s gonna shutdown a lot of industry.”
UPS reported record profits of $11.3 billion in 2022. Analysts say the COVID-19 pandemic helped boost the company for the last three years thanks to rising rates of online shopping. In 2019, UPS’ profits were $6.5 billion.
A study from the East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group said a potential UPS strike could be “one of the costliest in at least a century,” with a total economic impact of $7 billion for a 10-day work stoppage.
UPS workers last went on strike in 1997 for 15 days cost the company $850 million, helping workers secure a better contract that was considered a big labor victory.
A call to the UPS media relations office was not returned.
The Associated Press has reported that International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien said he has asked the White House not to intervene in the dispute between UPS and the union.
During a demonstration in Madison Heights on Tuesday, state Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) came to support UPS employees.
“As we’re seeing around the country right now, support for labor and workers is at an all-time high,” said McMorrow. “UPS workers kept our lives and our economy going while so many of us stayed home throughout the pandemic. I was proud to join Teamsters Local 243 for a practice picket this week, and I hope that UPS will come to the table to negotiate with the Teamsters for a fair contract. I know the workers are ready to walk if need be. With 11 days left, I encourage UPS to come back to the table with the Teamsters and get a fair contract done.”
Good morning from the practice picket line with @Teamsters Local 243 where UPS workers are #strikeready. Nobody wants a disruption, but they’re ready to walk if they don’t get a fair contract, and I’ve got their back. #1u ✊ pic.twitter.com/urpqMb1NqS
— Mallory McMorrow (@MalloryMcMorrow) July 18, 2023
Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, also issued a statement in support of workers on July 11.
“I am a strong supporter of unions and workers’ rights and support the Teamsters in their fight for improved benefits and fair wages,” Nessel said. “UPS’ work is critical for Michigan residents and businesses alike, and I urge UPS to come to a fair resolution for their employees and avoid an interruption of commerce.”
Michigan U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) and Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) in a Wednesday letter, affirmed their support for workers exercising their right to strike if an equitable collective bargaining agreement cannot be reached, and committed to not intervening in the collective bargaining process between Teamsters and UPS.
“We understand that UPS Teamsters recently announced their overwhelming authorization of a strike — which would be the largest work stoppage at a single employer in American history — if the two parties cannot reach agreement on a contract by August 1,” Stabenow and Peters wrote.
“We are hopeful that both sides can negotiate in good faith and reach a consensus agreement that addresses basic human needs and allows workers to do their jobs safely and with dignity. However, in the event a fair and equitable collective bargaining agreement cannot be reached, we commit to respect our constituents’ statutory and constitutional rights to withhold their labor and initiate and participate in a strike.”
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authored by Ken Coleman
First published at https%3A%2F%2Fmichiganadvance.com%2F2023%2F07%2F22%2Fthere-are-going-to-be-a-lot-of-packages-not-delivered-to-peoples-doorsteps%2F