The International Brotherhood of Teamsters which represents 340,000 UPS workers considering a strike, walked away from the negotiating table with the company this week, starting a countdown to July 31 when the union vows to strike.
At stake are wages and working conditions. Recently, the company agreed to add air conditioning to UPS trucks, a move UPS resisted for years. Also at issue: higher pay for part-time and inside workers, removal of surveillance cameras in cabs and an end to a two-tier pay system that favors newer workers over more senior staff.
“We all have a contract ‘til July 31st–we will work under that contract,” Local Teamsters 171 Vice President Scott Barry told Wdbj7.com. “July 31st at midnight, if we don’t have a contract, we’re not working without another contract.”
In a statement, UPS said: “We have not walked away, and the union has a responsibility to remain at the table. Refusing to negotiate, especially when the finish line is in sight, creates a significant unease among employees and customers and threatens to disrupt the U.S. economy.”
While projections on the possibility of a strike vary, meeting planners who often rely well in advance on materials shipped via UPS to meeting sites should plan ahead, says Smart Meetings Event Director Michele Gardner-Kelley.
“Shipping has grown more and more difficult and not dependable,” she says and shared the tips below to ensure any disruption doesn’t negatively impact an event.