UPS Inc. said Friday it has begun “business continuity” training to prepare nonunion employees to handle packages in the event a Teamsters union strike disrupts operations.
“Over the coming weeks, many of our U.S. employees will participate in training that would help them safely serve our customers if there is a labor disruption. This `temporary plan’ has no effect on current operations,” UPS (NYSE: UPS) said.
“While we have made great progress and are close to reaching an agreement, we have a responsibility as an essential service provider to take steps to help ensure we can deliver our customers’ packages if the Teamsters choose to strike.” The training is “aligned with our ongoing commitment to safety and business continuity,” the company said.
UPS has been preparing contingencies for some time. As far back as last year, it directed managers not to schedule paid time off during July and August 2023, periods when they could be pressed into service to move parcels if there was a strike.
As of the end of the first quarter, UPS moved about 18.6 million parcels each day in the U.S. It is estimated that management contingency efforts could move about 4 million of those parcels. The balance would be subject to possible diversion to competitors.
The two sides are 17 days shy of the July 31 date when the current five-year contract expires. The Teamsters have warned they will strike Aug. 1 if a contract isn’t agreed to and ratified by the 340,000 rank-and-file members.
Talks stalled out on July 5, reportedly over how much UPS part-timers, who make up at least half of the unionized workforce, should be paid both in starting wages and wages for those established on the job. It was reported that Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien said the two sides are $6 to $7 an hour apart in their proposals.
No new talks are scheduled. O’Brien has been touring locations around the New York tri-state area participating in what the Teamsters have called “practice picketing.”
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