Episode 10: UPS Strike Imminent? / The Gig is Up!

0:00 / 40:59
July 10, 2023

Negotiations between UPS and the Teamsters have collapsed after disagreement over part-timer wages. With less than a month from contract expiration, the largest single-employer strike in US history is looking more and more likely.

We have another two-part episode this week. First, an update on the contract campaign. The Teamsters gave UPS two deadlines for their last, best, and final offer on proposals. UPS hasn't met either of them. So the union is upping the ante with practice pickets around the country.

Could a deal materialize or is a strike imminent? We asked Stephen Franklin, a veteran journalist who is the former labor writer for the Chicago Tribune, and an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign School of Labor and Employment Relations.

Next, a deep dive into gig work at UPS and subcontracting more broadly. The Teamsters want to rid their workforce of so-called personal vehicle drivers (PVDs), workers who deliver packages out of their private vehicles and work off a smartphone app, much like other gig workers. We spoke with UPS workers from Georgia, Utah, and California, and a former gig worker from Indiana, about why gig work and other subcontracting is an existential threat to the union.

Gig work is often pitched as flexible for the worker. But in reality, it's a breakdown of standards that many Teamsters want to uphold at all costs. Even if that means going out on strike.


Hosted by Teddy Ostrow

Edited by Teddy Ostrow

Produced by NYGP & Ruby Walsh, in partnership with In These Times & The Real News

Music by Casey Gallagher

Cover art by Devlin Claro Resetar


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Read Stephen Franklin's piece on UPS/Teamsters negotiations in In These Times. Also check out Teddy's article on UPS part-timers' history, struggles, and organizing in Jacobin, and his appearances on Citations Needed and Bad Faith podcasts.