Watch CBS News

UPS Strike Could Cause Major Consumer, Economic Headache This Summer

Follow KDKA-TV: Facebook | Twitter

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- United Parcel Service (UPS) trucks are a fixture on American streets, especially as online ordering of products has skyrocketed.

"UPS is the largest package delivery company in the world," Glenn Zaccara, a UPS spokesperson, told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

So, news that the Teamsters Union representing 260,000 UPS employees just voted to strike sent shock-waves to both residential and business customers alike.

Point Park University business professor Elaine Luther says 91 percent of the UPS Teamsters voted to strike when the contract expires July 31.

"That doesn't mean they will strike, but they already have the approval to strike, so that is a big stick," notes Luther.

Zaccara says a strike vote doesn't mean a strike.

Zaccara: "The strike authorization vote that the Teamsters recently took is taken by most unions during contract negotiations. It does not mean that a strike is imminent."

Delano: "Do you think there will be a strike?"

Zaccara: "You know we won't speculate on that at this point."

Sources say the dispute is over unannounced plans by UPS to expand delivery to Sundays by using lower paid part-time drivers, with which the union objects.

UPS has over 108,000 trucks, delivering 19 million packages each day. So, you can imagine the disruption to the American economy if all these trucks ground to a complete halt.

The main alternatives to UPS are FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service, which can hardly pick up the slack, says Luther.

"There would have to be some delays," notes Luther.

She recommends pre-ordering as much as possible for delivery before July 31.

As for UPS, for the moment, says Zaccara, "It's business as usual right now."

Something everyone hopes we can say later this summer.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.