July 30, 1997 in Nation/World

Union Prepares For Strike; Ups Expects Agreement

Hannelore Sudermann Staff Writer

No one wants a strike.

But while the United Parcel Service expects contract negotiations to be settled in the next few days, the Teamster employees who work in Eastern Washington and Idaho say they are ready to walk.

“We have the signs ordered,” said Rick Stone, business representative with the Teamsters Local 690 in Spokane. “We’re preparing and getting ready to do whatever comes down the road.”

The 650 UPS employees represented by Local 690 sort and deliver packages in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Of the UPS employees that work out of Spokane, 460 are Teamsters.

When their contract expires on July 31, they may strike until UPS and the union can agree to changes in working conditions, wages and benefits, as well as the creation of more full-time jobs, Stone said.

UPS, on the other hand, isn’t expecting a walk-out.

“We’re not dealing with ‘what if’ scenarios,” Al Rapp, Washington district human resources manager for UPS, said from Seattle. “We go through this negotiation process every three or four years. We’re confident that with the negotiations continuing, there will be an agreement.”

“We’ve been in business 90 years,” Rapp said. “In those 90 years, we’ve never had a nationwide stoppage.”

He said he expects a resolution soon.

Teamsters are hoping for that too.

“A strike serves no one,” said Stone. “But you also have to know that people can’t live on part-time wages.”

, DataTimes

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