More than 250,000 unionized United Parcel Services (UPS) (NYSE: UPS) members have voted to authorize a strike should negotiations for a new contract fall through. UPS union members are bargaining for improved wages, pensions, welfare contributions and overtime provisions. The current contract expires at the end of July, and workers say they will strike on August 1 if they fail to get a new contract on their terms.
Impact of a UPS Strike
For small businesses regularly shipping items to customers, having one of the biggest couriers in the United States suspend service could come as a significant blow, wreaking havoc with deliveries.
Small businesses selling goods and requiring shipping services, could find themselves facing expensive shipping backlogs if UPS workers strike this August. Failing to get orders to customers on time could cost a small business in time, money and reputation.
If you’re a small business relying on the world’s largest shipping company for your delivery services, now’s the time to start preparing for what looks like an impending UPS strike.
Think About Timeframes
In 1997, UPS workers were involved in a strike involving more than 185,000 teamster members. The strike shut down UPS services for 16 days, costing the transportation company hundreds of millions of dollars.
With 250,000 union members set to strike, the 2018 UPS walk-out could be even larger than the historic 1997 strike and could effectively shut down the company for similar amount of time — or more.
With this in mind, if you’re a small business that relies on UPS for shipping, you will need to consider the duration of the strike and look to other shipping companies to ‘step in’ while UPS is not operating.
Investigate Other Shipping Companies
Of course, UPS is not the only shipping company in the United States. Now’s the time to start investigating other courier firms that could take over your shipping requirements for the duration of the UPS strike.
Another alternative could be FedEx, which, like UPS, is one of the largest transportation companies in the world. FedEx aims to make shipping simpler for small businesses by automating the entire shipping process.
Pak Mail is another shipping company understanding the intricacies of owning and operating a small business and has consequently come up with shipping solutions tailored to fit the requirements of small businesses. Pak Mail’s services are designed to improve the efficiency and profitability of a small business and therefore could be a good option to take over your shipping needs — if UPS employees decide to strike.
And, of course, there’s always the US Postal Service.
Inform Your Customers of Potential Delays or Changes
Practice proactive and high-quality customer service at your small business by informing customers that there may be delays or other shipping issues due to the UPS strike. If you use another courier, let your customers know you are using a new supplier for shipping services. Such honesty and proactiveness will be appreciated by your customers and could even give your customer services a bit of boost.
August will soon be here, so it’s important to act now to ensure your shipping requirements are in place well ahead of UPS’s impending strike. You don’t want to let your customers down and damage your credibility and reputation in the process.
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This article, “The Truth about the Looming UPS Strike – and How Your Business Can Prepare” was first published on Small Business Trends