November 1, 2018 / 8:49 PM / 10 months ago

UPS to halt pickups for heavy items ahead of union vote

LOS ANGELES, Nov 1 (Reuters) - United Parcel Service Inc has warned customers that it will stop picking up shipments of heavy items starting next Wednesday to avoid any potential freight disruptions ahead of a union vote on Nov. 11, the company said on Thursday.

The standoff, which involves large shipments of goods bound for stores and other destinations, will not affect small-package deliveries during the upcoming holiday season, UPS said.

UPS wrapped up contract discussions with the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee on Oct. 25. The union has already authorized a strike if members vote "no" on the final contract offer from UPS.

On Oct. 5, UPS freight division workers rejected an earlier contract offer. An extension agreement is set to expire on Nov. 12.

"Because we do not have a guarantee against a work stoppage, we cannot afford to put our customers' volume at risk of being stranded in our system," UPS said in a statement on Thursday.

A strike by the 12,000 Teamsters covered by the contract would be the first at UPS in more than two decades. The freight division at UPS is significantly smaller than the company's domestic small parcel delivery operation, limiting the impact of a work stoppage.

Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney

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