Teamsters President Sean O’ Brien lashed out Saturday at critics who say the union’s hard line in contract negotiations with UPS Inc. will push the economy into a recession, saying the burden of keeping the country out of a downturn falls on UPS, not the Teamsters.

At a raucous, ear-splitting rally in UPS’ hometown of Atlanta, O’Brien acknowledged concerns that a strike against UPS (NYSE: UPS), which delivers the equivalent of 7% of the U.S.’ gross domestic product per day, could be devastating to the economy. “But that’s on UPS, not us.”

By not agreeing to a fair contract with the Teamsters, “UPS is going to throw this country into recession,” O’Brien said.


Rank-and-file @UPS #Teamsters led the charge this morning in the home city of the multibillion-dollar corporation’s headquarters as Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien rallied members in Atlanta.#1u #strikeready

— Teamsters (@Teamsters) July 22, 2023

O’Brien also acknowledged that the two sides are very close to an agreement. “We are at the 5-yard line,” he said, adding that we “have one more round to go.”

Bargaining resumes Tuesday in Washington after a 20-day hiatus. Talks stalled July 5 after UPS, according to the Teamsters, failed to meet the union’s demands on wage and benefit increases for part-time workers. 

The current five-year contract expires July 31. The Teamsters have threatened to strike Aug. 1 if a tentative contract is not agreed to by its negotiating committee by July 31. It is expected to take about three weeks for the 340,000 rank-and-file members to review and either ratify or reject the tentative agreement.

Read more: 5 things to know with the UPS-Teamsters clock ticking

The post Teamsters rally in Atlanta ahead of UPS negotiations appeared first on FreightWaves.

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