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UPS begins training non-union workers ahead of anticipated strike
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UPS begins training non-union workers ahead of anticipated strike

Facing the largest potential United States strike in 60 years, United Parcel Service has begun training non-union workers to ensure that deliveries of critical goods like prescription medications will not be interrupted.

Currently, about half of UPS's workers are members of UPS teamsters, which voted overwhelmingly to strike if the company does not reach a new deal with the union by July 31st. The company has agreed to a number of the union's demands, but the union is still seeking substantial pay raises for both full and part time workers.

"If it wasn't for the part-timers, if it wasn't for the full-timers, this country wouldn't have ran through the pandemic. Ups made $100 billion. So they certainly can afford to reward the people that made them a tremendous success," said Teamsters president Sean O'Brien.

Talks between the company and the union broke down last week, leading the company to begin training non-union employees in what it describes as a "temporary" solution.

The Teamsters' contract with UPS covers around 340,000 workers, making it the largest private labor contract in America. If the strike occurs, as appears increasingly likely, it would be the largest private worker strike in America in decades. A potential strike threatens massive disruption to the United States economy, as a number of large companies that rely on UPS for delivery needs have begun to scramble to prepare for a strike contingency.

UPS insists that it is not walking away from negotiations and that it does not intend to permanently replace unionized workers, but instead is searching for a temporary solution to ensure that delivery of critical supplies such as life-saving prescriptions are not impacted.

The union was not persuaded, saying, "UPS is making clear it doesn’t view its workforce as a priority. Corporate executives are quick to brag about industry-leading service and even more quickly forget the Teamster members who perform that service. UPS should stop wasting time and money on training strikebreakers and get back to the negotiating table with a real economic offer."

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