NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Every day that passes by, a strike inches closer for the Teamsters union, which represents UPS workers.
UPS and the Teamsters union have until midnight July 31 to come to an agreement.
According to a news release, the Teamsters union said UPS workers are fighting for a new five-year agreement that guarantees better wages for all workers, eliminates a two-tier job classification, adds more full-time positions, addresses safety and health concerns around heat illness and provides stronger protection against managerial harassment.
Since those demands haven’t been met yet, the Teamsters Local 822 stood outside Thursday in Newport News to put pressure on the shipping company.
“We mean business,” said Jasmine Vanterpool, a Teamsters Local 822 worker. “That’s what it’s telling the company. Today was to let them know we are considering striking if we don’t have a contract by the end of this month.”
It was only a practice picket, however, they hope it sends a signal to UPS as they prepare to potentially strike.
“It’s constantly working, work, work,” Vanterpool said. “We would like them to have a little more money to be able to manage. Everything is going up but their paychecks.”
Vanterpool delivers packages, but said those behind the scenes don’t get the same treatment.
“Fair is fair. That’s all I’m saying,” she said. “It’s not just the drivers that make this company go. It’s the pre-loaders. It’s the tractor-trailer drivers. It’s the pilots.”
Vanterpool said wages should reflect the shifting economy for the whole team. While inflation is going up, she noted that wages aren’t following suit.
“We want fair compensation for everyone across the board,” Vanterpool said.
If an agreement isn’t reached, workers plan to strike.
“Nobody really wants to strike, but if it’s the only way we can get our voices heard, we have to do it,” Vanterpool said.
UPS and the Teamsters union will be back at the negotiation table next week. UPS released a response regarding the situation.
“We are prepared to increase our industry-leading pay and benefits, but need to work quickly to finalize a fair deal that provides certainty for our customers, our employees and businesses across the country,” UPS said in a press release.
Vanterpool said she hopes there will be an agreement on both ends. UPS and Teamsters’ agreement is North America’s largest private-sector union contract.
If the two sides can’t agree, it’d be the largest single-employer walkout in U.S. history.