Nearly 15,500 UPS delivery drivers and warehouse logistics workers in New Jersey could go on strike by the end of the month. They are part of a union that represents 340,000 UPS workers nationwide that are fighting for cost-of-living raises and an increase part-time workers’ pay.
The current contract is set to expire July 31st. Residents and businesses would experience extensive delays and would have to find other means of getting packages delivered in a timely fashion. According to the company, an estimated 6% of the United States’ gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the economy, moves in UPS trucks. It delivers almost 17 million domestic packages a day.
“The largest single-employer strike in American history now appears inevitable,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien in a statement. “They don’t care about our members’ families. UPS doesn’t want to pay up. Their actions and insults at the bargaining table have proven they are just another corporation that wants to keep all the money at the top.”
If workers do go on strike, it would be the largest single-employer strike in U.S. history. Think Tank Anderson Economic Group, which specializes in the economic impact of labor actions, says it could be “one of the costliest in at least a century,” topping $7 billion for a 10-day work stoppage.
“We have an economy today that is reliant on parcel delivery and no one in the game handles more packages per day or provides better service than Teamsters at UPS. Our members are fighting for a post-pandemic agreement that honors the sacrifices they made to keep this country moving during the last several years,” said Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman.
The two sides have been at the bargaining table since early May, and union leaders say they have reached tentative agreements on 24 issues. Union representatives are still looking for a significant increase in wages and benefits and also improvements in work conditions.