July 17, 2023

Teamsters oppose White House involvement in UPS talks


Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien said he doesn’t want the White House to intervene in contract negotiations with UPS Inc., saying, “We don’t need anyone getting involved in this fight.”

In a Teamsters webinar on Sunday, O’Brien also said that it would take about three weeks for a tentative agreement to be reviewed and voted on by its 340,000 UPS employee members. If so, that would take the agreement, should Teamsters leadership agree to recommend it to its members, beyond the July 31 contract expiration date. That could mean that UPS’ unionized employees could be working into August as members review and either ratify or reject the contract proposal.

The White House has no formal authority under the National Labor Relations Act, which governs relations between the two sides, to intervene in the dispute. However, the Biden administration got involved in helping to resolve the contract dispute along the West Coast ports system even though it had no formal authority to do so. 

In addition, because UPS handles the equivalent of 6% of U.S. gross domestic product, there are concerns that some type of federal intervention might be needed to head off a major disruption in the nation’s supply chain should a work stoppage occur.

O’Brien used an analogy about growing up in Boston, where if two people were involved in a disagreement and a third party had no skin in the game, the third party “just kept on walking.”

Talks between the Teamsters and UPS stalled July 5 due to what O’Brien has called a significant gap in part-time wage proposals. 


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