Negotiations regarding their contract would begin in the new year in talks between UPS and the Teamsters Union while the current contract was set to expire in July, CNN reported Tuesday. However, it remained to be seen how long a strike would last, according to Todd Vachon, professor of Labor Relations at Rutgers. “The union’s president ran and won on taking a more militant approach. Even if they’re very close [to a deal], the rank and file will be hungry to take on the company,” he continued.
The outlet noted approximately six percent of the nation’s gross domestic product was moved by those truck drivers each year. “About 350,000 Teamsters work at UPS as drivers and package sorters out of a global workforce of 534,000 permanent employees,” the CNN report said, adding the possible strike would be the largest one against a single business in American history. According to the Teamsters website, it was the biggest and most diverse union in the nation. “The union’s new president, Sean O’Brien, won his office earlier this year by making the UPS contract a central focus of his campaign. He has vowed to make UPS pay Teamster members far more this time and he often talks about a $300 million strike fund the union has accumulated to pay members in case they go on strike,” per CNN. In addition, O’Brien said union leaders wanted better working conditions such as air conditioning put in UPS delivery trucks the group claimed posed health risks for workers. In July, video showed a UPS driver collapsing on someone’s porch due to high temperatures: UPS reportedly said the man was okay and “our package delivery vehicles make frequent stops, making air conditioning ineffective,” Inside Edition reported. But according to O’Brien, “It’s not a heavy lift for the company to install air conditioning.
There’s a lot of heat stroke going on.” Meanwhile, Amazon reportedly shipped more packages throughout the nation in 2020 than FedEx. “Amazon currently has 21 percent of the U.S. shipping market while UPS holds 24 percent of the market and FedEx has 16 percent,” a Breitbart News article published in October said.
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