UPS and the Teamsters Freight National Bargaining Committee concluded their round of discussions last week regarding a new labor contract. UPS feels they made a fair Last, Best, and Final offer, but the union is not endorsing the offer to its members.
Instead, the union is asking members to vote on the new labor contract, which it believes is still not fully addressing the concerns that caused members to vote down an earlier offer.
The voting is scheduled to be concluded by November 11, but if there is no approval of the new contract, the union could call a strike as early as November 12.
UPS Freight Not Optimistic
Usually in these situations, company management tries to be optimistic about the ratification of labor contracts. But in this case, it seems even the company expects the worst.
In a memo to shippers, UPS Freight warns its customers that there is no extension of the current union contract in place and that “UPS Freight can only guarantee delivery of ground freight (LTL) shipments through November 8, after which we recommend you seek alternate arrangements.”
UPS Freight also provided a list to its customers of last days for ground freight (LTL) pickup:
• Thursday, November 1 for 5-day shipping commitments
• Friday, November 2 for 4-day shipping commitments
• Monday, November 5 for 3-day shipping commitments
• Tuesday, November 6 for 2-day shipping commitments
• Wednesday, November 7 for 1-day shipping commitments
UPS also said to its freight customers that “If you have a bundled contract, or incentives dependent upon UPS Freight volume, we will ensure the lack of freight volume does not prevent you from receiving the incentives you would have normally received.”
And it reiterated that a potential strike at UPS Freight will not impact UPS parcel operations, “The UPS Small Package National Master Agreement (NMA) has been ratified. You can remain confident UPS is ready to continue to serve our small package customers throughout the holiday season and beyond.”
The impact on small business B2C eCommerce retailers should be very minimal, if any as eCommerce to consumers relies on UPS parcel service and UPS Freight may only be of concern for those that receive inbound palletized shipments to their warehouse.
However, because there is a significant trucking shortage in the U.S., it is possible that distributors and manufacturers shifting LTL shipments to other trucking lines may increase inbound freight costs or delay shipments as those companies will be tasked dealing with the additional freight volume.
This impact may be felt on the entire LTL shipment industry and may also affect recipients who normally don’t receive freight by UPS Freight. It is best to consider this possibility and online retailers should plan accordingly.
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