What a UPS strike could mean for rural America

UPS ships about 24 million packages a day and handles roughly one-fourth of all parcel volume. According to the shipping giant, that’s about six percent of America’s Gross Domestic Profit (GDP).

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UPS and the Teamsters are in negotiations over a new contract for 350,000 unionized workers, according to a report by Fox Business. Teamsters are voting this week to authorize a strike that would begin August 1 if an agreement is not reached.

The Teamsters say this is the largest private-sector collective bargaining agreement in North America. Employees include delivery drivers and warehouse logistics workers across the country.

Rural America has often been underserved in the e-commerce era, as building offices in these areas is not profitable. But in January 2020, prior to the impact of pandemic lockdown policies, UPS announced it was adding 1,500 Package Express Centers in rural cities and towns. The expansion increased UPS Access Points to more than 22,000 locations, allowing rural Americans to pick up or drop off packages at small businesses.

UPS ships about 24 million packages a day and handles roughly one-fourth of all parcel volume. According to the shipping giant, that’s about six percent of America’s Gross Domestic Profit (GDP).

In the event of a strike, the sheer volume of UPS deliveries could not be absorbed by FedEx and the United States Postal Service, and it is expected to create increased shipping delays and higher prices due to the lost capacity in the logistics system.

Teamsters members are voting this week to authorize a potential strike if a deal with UPS is not reached. The results of the vote are expected to be announced on Friday. The current contracts expire on July 31, and negotiations have been underway since April—to no avail.

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