The May 16 acquisition of Overnite by UPS means that our biggest nonunion competition now has the deepest pockets in the freight industry.
UPS has the means to undercut union carriers to increase Overnite’s market share and you can bet they plan to do it. FedEx has turned its own LTL carrier into a $3 billion player.
To compete with FedEx, UPS intends to double Overnite’s size.Unless we act decisively, Overnite’s increased market share will come at Teamster members’ expense.
The IBT doesn’t seem to get this. On the day of the purchase, the Hoffa administration issued a press release saying, “If this purchase helps UPS to continue to successfully compete in the global marketplace in the long run, it will increase our members’ job security.”
How is a stronger nonunion Overnite going to increase freight Teamsters’ job security? That kind of talk has members asking if the Hoffa administration has given up on freight altogether.
Threat and Opportunity
For freight Teamsters, the UPS purchase of Overnite is a major threat. But it’s also our best opportunity to organize Overnite once and for all.
Our Teamsters union represents the vast majority of employees at UPS-Overnite. The question is, will the IBT use this leverage to organize Overnite? Or will the Hoffa administration stand by and watch as UPS grows its nonunion freight division?
The early signs are not good. Hoffa’s statement on the acquisition said only that the IBT will “monitor” the situation. The arch union-buster of freight is now backed by the biggest bank account in the transportation industry and the best that Hoffa can do is promise to “monitor” developments?
Teamster representation at UPS gives us new leverage over Overnite. We’ve got to use it to bring the 10,000 drivers and dock workers at Overnite into our union and into our Teamster benefit plans.