Just weeks after UPS parcel carriers approved a new labor contract, UPS Freight will stop picking up shipments from customers and suspend all service beginning today, Nov. 7, in anticipation of a possible strike, according to a statement from the company.
Union members will vote this week, but since a strike is already approved, should the vote be “no,” UPS is preparing for the worst. A “yes” vote would see service resume on Nov. 12.
“To help you plan to maintain business continuity while we do not have a contract extension, please note that UPS Freight can only guarantee delivery of ground freight (LTL) shipments through November 8, after which we recommend you seek alternate arrangements,” UPS said in a statement.
The freight contract covers 12,000 of UPS’s 374,000 U.S. workers, according to Reuters. The far larger segment of UPS’ business, smaller parcel service, is assured through the holidays as the International Brotherhood of Teamsters ratified a master agreement with UPS last month.
But with peak retail season beginning, and other carriers eager to add more capacity to their fleets amid continuing healthy demand, a prolonged strike could drive spot prices even higher since spot market rates don’t seem to be falling despite a slight ease in volume.
If it goes forward, this would be the first strike for UPS workers since 1997.