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United Parcel Service Inc. is telling customers to make alternative shipping plans in case of a strike in its smaller freight division, where unionized workers are set to vote on the company’s final contract offer next week.
UPS Freight workers rejected a tentative contract last month and are voting on an updated offer from the company. A contract extension expires on Nov. 12, after which the 11,000 Teamsters members could go on strike. The Teamsters have already authorized a strike, which would be the first work stoppage at UPS since 1997.
UPS is already preparing for disruption. The company notified shippers that the last day for freight pickups is next Wednesday and that it can only guarantee ground freight shipments through next Thursday. The company aims to clear its network of all freight by the end of that week.
“Because we do not have a guarantee against a work stoppage, we cannot afford to put our customers’ volume at risk of being stranded in our system,” UPS spokesman Glenn Zaccara said.
UPS Freight is the company’s industrial trucking unit, which primarily handles shipments of heavier goods and bulk shipments that move on pallets, such as retail goods bound for stores. It is the fifth-largest operator in a sector called less-than-truckload, in which truckers combine shipments from different customers on the same truck, according to SJ Consulting Group Inc. The UPS division had $2.6bn in revenue last year and controlled 5.3 percent of the less-than-truckload market in terms of shipments.
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