D-FW UPS workers prepare to strike as contract talks run dry

Though both sides are near the finish line, a strike could result in millions of undelivered packages for customers.

In the wake of failing contract negotiations focused on higher wages between UPS and its employees, workers in North Texas are practicing picketing as they prepare for a potential strike against the delivery giant starting Aug. 1.

According to UPS and the union, 95% of the contract has been negotiated, with the final hurdle being higher wages. The current contract between UPS and its workers expires on July 31. If a contract is not settled by then, the union said its members would go on strike as long as necessary.

“UPS has recorded record profits in the last two years, and our members haven’t seen any of it,” said Dave Reeves, president of Teamsters Local Union 767. “Throughout the pandemic, our members put their safety aside and delivered the entire country’s goods. I think this is an opportunity to continue to push and fight for our members.”

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UPS handles 24.3 million packages a day, totaling 6.2 billion a year, according to the company. UPS said it’s confident both sides will find common ground soon.

“We have made steady progress in our negotiations with the Teamsters on a wide array of issues,” a spokesperson for UPS said. “We plan and expect to reach an agreement on a new contract before the end of July. That is a win for our employees, our company, and customers and the union.”


Since 2020, UPS has increased its revenue by 19% from $84 billion to $100 billion in 2022. The current contract was implemented in 2018 with a technicality where the company created separate hierarchies of workers with different wages, benefits and hours. The union wants to eliminate it.

“The Teamsters have stopped negotiating despite historic proposals that build on our industry-leading pay. We have nearly a month left to negotiate,” UPS’ statement to The Dallas Morning News said. “We have not walked away, and the union has a responsibility to remain at the table.

“Refusing to negotiate, especially when the finish line is in sight, creates significant unease among employees and customers and threatens to disrupt the U.S. economy,” the statement continued. “Only our non-union competitors benefit from the Teamsters’ actions. We’re proud of what we’ve put forward in these negotiations, which deliver wins for our people. The Teamsters should return to the table to finalize this deal.”


The last time UPS and its workers held negotiations was July 5, Reeves said.

Rearview of a car belonging to Charlotte Suter, a UPS employee for seven years, during a picketing practice on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, in Dallas. UPS employees are preparing to go on strike and have begun staging practice pickets across Texas for a union contract. (Shafkat Anowar / Staff Photographer)

“They have our phone numbers for when they want to come up with more money,” Reeves said. “At the end of the day, they told us there was no more money to give, and that’s when the sides separated.”

The last time UPS workers went on strike was in 1997. The strike lasted 15 days, consisted of 185,000 strikers and ultimately cost the company at least $600 million.


Parrish McElvaine, a package driver for UPS, was on the picket line in 1997 and said he thinks the company’s practices have not changed since then.

“We struck then under similar conditions. But the economy’s gone a little haywire. It’s harder to pay your bills and keep food on the table,” McElvaine said. “They [UPS] have stayed the same. We can have the best contract in the world, and they’re always abusing it. We have to battle with them constantly.”

McElvaine said he worries about the number of deliveries drivers must make as temperatures exceed 100 degrees in Texas. Last month, UPS agreed to add air conditioning to small package delivery vehicles after January 2024. Older trucks will be retrofitted to permit air conditioning, as well.

Brad Plansit, a package driver for UPS, said the workers represent a bigger movement.


“Everybody’s gonna have to brace for this with us because this is not just for us,” Plansit said. “This is for the workforce in the United States that gets walked over daily. This is for them too.”

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