UPS to Train Nonunion Employees to Deliver Packages

Contingency Plan Set in Case Teamsters Strike
A UPS hybrid electric truck
UPS says training won't have an impact on current operations. (Alex Wong/Getty Images via Bloomberg News)

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UPS Inc. plans to train nonunion employees to help deliver packages in the event of a labor disruption in the U.S., underscoring the potential for a strike as a crucial negotiating deadline nears.

The continuity-training sessions in the coming weeks won’t affect negotiations with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters or have an impact on operations, UPS said July 14 in a statement. A UPS spokesman declined to say how many workers it plans to train.

“While we have made great progress and are close to reaching an agreement, we have a responsibility as an essential service provider to take steps to help ensure we can deliver our customers’ packages if the Teamsters choose to strike,” the company said in the statement.

UPS is negotiating with the union, which represents about 340,000 UPS workers, to renew a five-year contract that expires at the end of this month and could lead to a potential strike on Aug. 1 if a deal can’t be reached. The wage increase for part-time workers has become a sticking point in the talks.

A Teamsters representative didn’t immediately comment on the plan to train nonunion workers.

UPS delivers about 19 million packages a day in the U.S., and it’s unlikely that competitors would be able to absorb all that volume. Rival courier FedEx Corp. has been encouraging shipping customers to switch to its service in recent weeks.

UPS Inc. ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

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