United Parcel Service (UPS) workers in the mountains held an early-morning demonstration on Friday, June 30, as union leaders negotiated with company management over wages, working conditions, healthcare and pensions.

Photos show workers held signs that said, "Just practicing for a just contract," outside of the UPS Customer Centers in Hendersonville and Asheville before starting work for the day.

According to the Associated Press, the head of the union representing 340,000 UPS workers said a strike is imminent and gave the company a Friday deadline to improve its offer.


“The largest single-employer strike in American history now appears inevitable,” Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien said in a written statement on Wednesday, June 28. "Executives at UPS, some of whom get tens of millions of dollars a year, do not care about the hundreds of thousands of American workers who make this company run. They don’t care about our members’ families. UPS doesn’t want to pay up. Their actions and insults at the bargaining table have proven they are just another corporation that wants to keep all the money at the top. Working people who bust their asses every single day do not matter, not to UPS."

UPS said it presented a "significantly amended proposal to address key demands" on Wednesday.

"Reaching consensus requires time and serious, detailed discussion, but it also requires give-and-take from both sides," the company's written statement said, in part. "We’re working around the clock to reach an agreement that strengthens our industry-leading pay and benefits ahead of the current contract’s expiration on August 1. We remain at the table ready to negotiate."

Tommy Pintacuda, a spokesperson for Teamsters Local 61 in Asheville, said, for drivers who are a part of the union, a strike is something that’s on the table.

"We do not want to strike. We hope there’s not going to be a strike. But, we also have to have a fair contract, and that’s what we were out here demonstrating today," he said.

UPS delivers more than 24 million packages daily. Their current contract is set to expire on July 31, 2023.

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