UPS, delivery truck, Las Vegas, NV
UPS delivery truck in Las Vegas, NV. Photo credit: Tomás Del Coro / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), along with 26 other senators, have pledged not to get involved in the labor dispute between the Teamsters and UPS.

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With a potential strike looming in less than two weeks, a group of more than two dozen senators pledged to not get involved in the labor dispute between the Teamsters and UPS.

In a letter sent to Teamsters President Sean O’Brien and Carol Tomé, the CEO of UPS, the lawmakers express their hope that the two parties can reach a deal before the July 31 deadline. If not, however, they promise not to intervene in the fight, which could significantly disrupt the economy.

“We are hopeful that both sides can negotiate in good faith and reach a consensus agreement that addresses basic human needs and allows workers to do their jobs safely and with dignity,” the senators wrote. “However, in the event a fair and equitable collective bargaining agreement cannot be reached, we commit to respect our constituents’ statutory and constitutional rights to withhold their labor and initiate and participate in a strike.”

The effort was led by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). All of the other 26 senators who signed the letter were Democrats. A similar letter sent by lawmakers from the House also attracted some GOP support.

“[We] understand that Congress has not previously intervened in recent history to implement a collective bargaining agreement between workers and their employer under the National Labor Relations Act, and we commit to not intervening in the collective bargaining process between Teamsters and UPS,” the lawmakers wrote.

From the language of the letter, it is clear that this is a show of support to the Teamsters, who are worried that any potential strike on their part would be undercut by politicians in the nation’s capital.

O’Brien has made it very clear recently that the union wants the White House to not be involved at all and potentially undermine the Teamsters in an effort to protect the economy.

“We told the White House — and I used this analogy throughout our negotiations, throughout our rallies and practice pickets, that we have taken a strong position with the White House that, you know, my neighborhood where I grew up in Boston, if two people had a disagreement, and you had nothing to do with it, you just kept walking,” O’Brien said earlier this week. “And we echoed that to the White House on numerous occasions, and we don’t need anybody getting involved in this fight.”

In their respective letters, the more than 200 lawmakers who signed indicated that they got the message.

In the meantime, the White House said it wants to play a “constructive and productive role” in this process.

On Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed a potential strike and noted that the Teamsters have told the Biden administration to stay out of the labor dispute in the case of a strike.

Expressing hope that a deal can be reached, she also said that, for now, the White House wants to be a facilitator of an agreement.

“We’ll continue to be in touch with both parties constructively, support any efforts to reach a solution,” she told reporters.


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