The United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) logo is displayed on a truck parked in New York.
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The Teamsters union, which represents roughly 340,000 workers at United Parcel Service, said on Wednesday the parcel delivery firm had “walked away” from negotiations over a new contract, raising the prospect of a strike.
Teamsters said in a tweet UPS presented an offer, which was unanimously rejected by the union’s national negotiating committee. The union added that no additional negotiations were scheduled.
“Following marathon negotiations, UPS refused to give the Teamsters a last, best, and final offer, telling the union the company had nothing more to give,” the union said.
UPS did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
The contract covering UPS full- and part-time employees in the United States that deliver packages, load trucks and handle packages expires at midnight on July 31. UPS workers have already authorized a strike, should talks break down.
Both union and company officials have said before that they wanted a deal finalized to prevent a strike, which could put millions of daily deliveries at risk, including vital medicines for treating cancer and other illnesses.
The only national strike at UPS in 1997 lasted 15 days, disrupted the supply of goods, cost the company $850 million and sent some customers to rivals.
“UPS had a choice to make, and they have clearly chosen to go down the wrong road,” said Sean O’Brien, general president at Teamsters, which represents U.S. drivers, package handlers and loaders at the company.
UPS sweetened its offer last week, but O’Brien had said it did not go far enough to reward workers who risked their lives to keep packages moving during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic that fueled big profits for UPS.
The development comes as labor unions are enjoying a higher bargaining power with companies, which have been grappling with labor shortages since the pandemic.