1. UPS Begins “Business Continuity” Training
With the July 31 deadline for a new agreement with the Teamsters approaching, UPS has shared that they’ll soon begin training of non-union employees that “would help them safely serve our customers if there is a labor disruption.”
The carrier said the plan will have no effect on current operations, nor on their efforts to reach an agreement with the Teamsters ahead of the deadline.
2. FedEx Warning Drivers to Have “Heightened Security Awareness” in Event of Strike
According to a memo sent to FedEx delivery contractors, the rival carrier is concerned that a UPS strike could impact their own operations. The memo warned that picketing activities could “interfere with your business’ ability to safely access customer locations or subject drivers to pressure not to provide service to customers.” It told contractors to have a “heightened security awareness” and to “avoid confrontations with upset customers or third parties.”
While industry experts believe FedEx’s concerns to be valid, a Teamsters spokesperson dismissed them as “scare tactics.”
3. Teamsters Strike Could Pose Difficult Decision for Biden
Under provisions of the Taft Hartley Act and National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), President Biden has the authority to prevent a strike from UPS workers. The decision to do so is both highly technical and political.
Under the NLRA, the president can intervene without congressional approval if the situation is deemed a national emergency. Dan Bowling, Distinguished Fellow at the Duke University School of Law, doesn’t believe that a UPS strike would fit that billing, but Biden could at least force an 80-day cooling off period.
Biden would face a difficult decision, as intervening could threaten his support from pro-labor groups nationwide. Failing to do so, however, could lead to Biden’s detractors criticizing his strength in the face of economic threats.
Currently, the Biden administration is monitoring the situation and remains hopeful that an agreement will be reached, according to White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre. She said she doesn’t have information on “increased administration involvement, but certainly we remain in contact with both parties.”