Union representing UPS delivery drivers votes to authorize strike

UPS Teamsters, the union that represents 340,000 UPS package delivery drivers nationwide, have voted to authorize a strike should the company fail to deliver a new contract.

A nationwide strike of UPS drivers could be paralyzing. On Friday, 97% of teamsters voted to authorize a strike that gives the union maximum leverage to win demands at the bargaining table.

This is the first negotiation since the pandemic and the union feels they should be rewarded for their hard work during that time. 

"This vote shows that hundreds of thousands of Teamsters are united and determined to get the best contract in our history at UPS. If this multibillion-dollar corporation fails to deliver on the contract that our hardworking members deserve, UPS will be striking itself," said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. "The strongest leverage our members have is their labor and they are prepared to withhold it to ensure UPS acts accordingly."

While they negotiate, one agreement has been reached -- adding air conditioners to delivery trucks. 

Izzy Hernandez has been driving for UPS for four years in a hot truck. He says they don’t have air conditioners, but they do have heaters and fans, which Hernandez says blows hot air. 

Their contract expires in six weeks on July 31st and though the air conditioning issue has been resolved, which Hernandez is happy about, there are other issues on the table. 

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"They were forced to work 6 days a week. They were forced to work long hours. They were forced to come in and work when they were sick and when there was a danger to them and their families out there. And, so from the union side and the members side they feel they need to be rewarded for that," said Richard Pacheco with Teamsters Local 396.

Pacheco says there are the usual issues at the table like pay, health benefits, pension and working conditions, but it’s the profit sharing they want more of.

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"For the kind of work they are doing and the work they are performing for this company and the profits this company has made we feel that they are not being compensated appropriately," Pacheco added.

Hernandez is hopeful things will work out. 

"I think it will work ou. I think they just got to keep talking about where they’re going to land."

UPS’s Media Relations released the following statement Thursday before the vote:

"As with labor negotiations in other industries, the Teamsters are holding – and its members will overwhelmingly approve – a strike authorization vote. This vote is a routine part of the bargaining process and does not mean that there will be a strike. We respect this step in the process and remain committed to making progress at the bargaining table."