UPS Strike 2023

How a UPS strike could disrupt deliveries and roil the package delivery business

Negotiations between UPS and the union representing the company's workers broke down last week with each side blaming the other for walking away from talks.

Brittainy Newman/AP

Contract negotiations between United Parcel Service and the Teamsters union stalled last week, heightening the odds of a UPS strike in early August — as well as shake-ups in an increasingly competitive package delivery market.

A nationwide walkout by 340,000 UPS workers would be the largest strike against a single employer in U.S. history, and the first at UPS since 1997. Consumers and industries across the country could see significant disruptions to package deliveries.

The package delivery industry has become more competitive since the 1997 UPS work stoppage, which lasted 15 days and cost the company $850 million. UPS is now more vulnerable than before to losing a portion of its business in the event of a strike.

In 2021, UPS had 37% of the parcel delivery market by revenue, followed by FedEx at 33%, the U.S. Postal Service at 17% and Amazon Logistics at 12%, according to data from the Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index.

But analysts say UPS' competitors won't be able to absorb all the backlog created by a strike. UPS delivered an average of 24.3 million packages per day in 2022 — more than any competitor can take on.

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