Jay’s Parcel Notes: Teamsters & UPS Standoff for June 22 – July 12

The Teamsters and UPS seemed to be making good progress until last Wednesday – Each accused the other of walking away from the table. Since then, the Teamsters and UPS have not met. What’s the holdup? It seems to be part-time pay, benefits, and converting more to full-time positions. “We are probably $6 to $7 per hour apart on where these part-timers need to be for starting rates of pay, but also where they need to be for the long-term employees,” Sean O’Brien told Supply Chain Dive.

Have no fear; FedEx and USPS are offering capacity to those UPS customers that are worried about a potential strike. FedEx is accepting additional parcel volume for a limited time, according to a company message obtained by Supply Chain Dive. Volume from July 17 to July 21 will be used as the baseline measurement for capacity in the company’s network. Approaches for volume acceptance vary based on whether the shipper falls into FedEx’s small and medium customer cohort or the large customer cohort.

Meanwhile, Jacqueline Strako, an executive vice president at USPS who serves as the chief commerce and business solutions officer, said workforce and other efforts would ensure the agency “absolutely can” handle more workloads as a result of a UPS strike. “We’re well staffed, and we’ve invested and made the right transportation network changes,” Strako said. “Again, it’s a 10-year plan, so we’re two years into the plan, but absolutely we are positioned to handle additional volume.”

Just in time for a potential strike, USPS launched USPS Ground Advantage. According to the press release, the key features are:

  • Packages are delivered in 2-5 business days across the continental United States.
  • Free package pickup service at home or in-office.
  • Business customers can use USPS Ground Advantage return service as a convenient option for customers who need to send items back.
  • $100 insurance included on USPS Ground Advantage and USPS Ground Advantage Return packages. Customers can purchase up to $5,000 in additional coverage.

With the product’s launch, USPS is retiring three offerings: USPS Retail Ground, USPS Parcel Select Ground, and USPS First-Class Package Service, as well as Ground Returns and First-Class Package Return Service.

In other news…

  • Walmart Canada launched Delivery Pass -Currently available in the province of Ottawa, Delivery Pass offers free next-day delivery of more than 65,000 items, including groceries and general merchandise, at $8.97 monthly or $89 annually.
  • Amazon introduced Hub Delivery which will enlist small businesses to deliver Amazon orders. According to Axios, participating businesses will deliver an average of 30 packages a day for seven days a week, excluding major holidays. Meanwhile, drivers from Amazon’s Delivery Service Partner network drop off the packages to local businesses, which are required to have a secure area for storage.
  • New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) announced it would launch LockerNYC, a pilot program to cut down on package thefts and reduce delivery truck trips. The LockerNYC pilot program, which will run for one year, will allow New Yorkers to receive and send packages using secure lockers on public sidewalks. The pilot will include 15 locations and offer customers free 24/7 access. The program will be available to anyone who is interested, and unlike other delivery lockers, the LockerNYC program will be available across multiple delivery carriers, including UPS, DHL, and Pitney Bowes.
  • From the WSJ (Subscription may be required) – Retailers are raising the bar for spending for consumers to get orders shipped free, as companies look to shore up their profit margins on online sales and pass a portion of rising delivery costs onto customers. The average minimum-order threshold for retailers to offer free shipping rose to $64 this year from $52 in 2019, based on a sample set of 48 retailers, according to retail technology provider Narvar. About 47% of merchants in a recent survey said they spend more than 10% of an order’s total value on shipping, according to e-commerce shipping services provider Shippo, and 41% said the rising cost of shipping was the biggest challenge for their business in 2022.