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Planning Ahead for Potential Impacts from Labor Disputes

Last week, SAG-AFTRA announced it was going on strike, joining the WGA in disputes with Hollywood producers. While this contract dispute may certainly disrupt entertainment and media over the coming months, for business, the more important contract dispute to watch has an August 1 deadline and its potential impacts could be felt globally.

On August 1st the current labor contract between the Teamsters Union and UPS expires and current reports indicate that the Teamsters Union, which represents 65% of UPS employees, is preparing to go on strike if a deal can’t be reached. UPS delivers about 24 million packages annually, making up roughly 37% of the US parcel delivery market.

For businesses that means a potential disruption between both you and your supplier and you and your customer. With a couple weeks to prepare, now is a good time for businesses to start thinking about how this might affect them and what steps they could take to lessen the impact.

A few quick areas to focus on include:

  • Exploring alternate shipping options or partners but recognizing that a large influx of new customers can also impact their performance and ability.
  • Reviewing your inventory and supplies management practices and adjusting plans and schedules to allow for delay or disruption to your supply chain.
  • Start communicating potential delays to your customers. Being proactive to potential problems can help build trust and loyalty to something that may be out of your hands.

There is still two weeks and time for both sides to come to an agreement but as Stephen Keague famously noted in his Little Red Handbook of Public Speaking and Presenting “Proper Planning and Preparing Prevents Poor Performance”.