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US labor secretary sees no need for now to step into talks between UPS, Teamsters


By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Acting U.S. Labor Secretary Julie Su said on Friday she does not see a need at this stage to step in to urge parties to reach a deal in contract talks between the Teamsters Union and United Parcel Service.

“That is right,” Su said on CNN when asked if she felt there was no need for her to intervene at this stage. She added she expected the bargaining process to be respected by the parties.

The Teamsters Union said on Wednesday UPS “walked away” from negotiations over a new contract, a claim the company denied, lobbing its own accusation that the union had stopped negotiating.

The two sides have traded salvos in statements as they attempt an agreement to prevent a strike when the current contract, which covers some 340,000 workers, expires at the end of July.

Workers of UPS have already authorized a strike should the talks break down. Such a labor action would be the first since 1997 for UPS workers, when a strike lasted 15 days, cost the company $850 million, and sent some customers to rivals

Both the union and company officials have said before that they wanted a deal finalized to prevent a strike, which could put millions of daily deliveries at risk.

After missing out on wage increases during the pandemic, unions are now pushing back on contract offers from companies grappling with labor shortages, seeking higher pay and better working conditions.

Su recently helped negotiate a crucial contract deal between U.S. West Coast seaport employers and a union representing 22,000 workers.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by David Holmes)

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