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This week in parcel, UPS starts business continuity training to prepare for a potential work stoppage, while UPS pilots announce they will not cross picket lines if Teamsters strike.

Meanwhile, e-commerce has slowed, but in-store pickups of online orders haven’t. Will this growth play into the next labor negotiation?

UPS starts business continuity training

The industry is on edge as UPS and Teamsters negotiations remain at a standstill less than two weeks before the current labor contract expires. While the two sides are set to resume negotiations next week, UPS is still not taking any chances. The company announced a proactive approach of communicating with its customers and training its non-union employees.

This week, UPS stated it was starting business continuity training for its employees. The carrier is requiring training for many non-union employees

The plan is precautionary, and the carrier says it has no impact on current operations.

Read the full announcement here.

Our take: With the threatened strike deadline approaching, UPS is taking steps to make customers feel confident there will be minimal disruption to its services. It does not reveal whether the company believes a strike is imminent.

UPS pilots won’t cross picket lines if Teamsters strike

Although they operate under a separate labor agreement from Teamsters drivers and package sorters, UPS pilots will not cross picket lines in the event of a Teamsters strike.

This could be costly for both shippers and carriers. Air services are highly lucrative, but FedEx Is the only other carrier equipped to handle overnight shipping through the air and can only absorb a small fraction of UPS’s shipments.

The Independent Pilots Association represents 3,300 UPS pilots, separate from the Teamsters Union, which represents UPS drivers and package sorters. However, their collective bargaining agreement allows pilots to honor primary picket lines.

Read more on this decision and the strike here.

Our take: The pilots’ decision to honor a potential strike adds to the major disruption both UPS and customers would face. Delivery times and shipping costs are likely going up.

More online consumers are opting for store pickups

Consumers are still shopping online, but more are opting to avoid the delivery charges and picking orders up in-store.

Buy-online, pickup-in-store relies on store employees picking and packing orders, and customers picking up the orders in a designated part of the store.

While e-commerce growth has slowed from the levels reached during the pandemic, customers are still opting for pickups. Target saw a 5% growth in the quarter that ended April 29, and Walmart has had a 40% compound annual growth in the last three years. Even Amazon is taking advantage of this process by fulfilling same-day orders for Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh stores.

Read more here.

Our take: Even as e-commerce has slowed, it’s not surprising that buy-online, pickup-in-store continues to grow. It’s a win-win for customers and companies. If the trend continues, it could be a much greater influence during the carriers’ next labor agreement negotiations.

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