Accusations fly as UPS driver strike looms

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UPS and the Teamsters traded accusations Wednesday after further breakdowns in contract negotiations.

Both parties issued dueling statements, with each accusing the other of walking away from the negotiating table.

“The Teamsters have stopped negotiating despite UPS’ historic offer that builds on our industry-leading pay. We have nearly a month left to negotiate. We have not walked away, and the union has a responsibility to remain at the table,” UPS said in a statement.

The Teamsters said the shipping company made an offer that was “universally rejected” and subsequently quit negotiating.

“UPS had a choice to make, and they have clearly chosen to go down the wrong road,” Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien said.

A driver strike looms if a contract is not reached by the end of this month. Teamster drivers have already signed a strike authorization agreement.

If a walkout happens, it will be the first UPS driver strike since 1997 and will be the biggest single-employer strike in U.S. history, with 340,000 drivers going off the road. It could spell economic disaster for UPS and the U.S. economy. If drivers go on the picket line, a significant number of packages would not be delivered to consumers and businesses, leading to empty store shelves.

The union is asking for wages to keep pace with inflation, more full-time jobs and better workplace protection. While UPS has conceded to some of the demands of the Teamsters, it’s clear the union wants more concessions.

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