Jim Casey’s Timeless Values Shape Labor Negotiations
April 4, 2018
UPS has reinvented itself time and again to adapt to the ever-changing business world, but one principle has remained the same for more than 110 years: an unwavering commitment to our people.
No matter how much UPS changes, UPSers will be the ones driving the next big idea, the next game-changing innovation and the next great service for our customers.
Our purpose is to make or keep our customers’ supply chains and their businesses world-class. We’re doing this because our industry – and the industries we serve – has changed, with new competitors and technology platforms disrupting the package delivery business faster than previously imaginable.
As such, UPS leaders have pledged to work together with labor union negotiators in an environment of mutual respect, seeking out solutions that will better position the company for future success.
What does UPS want out of current union contract negotiations? We want a labor contract that provides the flexibility needed to remain a highly competitive provider of reliable service, given the challenge of an increasingly crowded logistics segment.
By flexibility, we mean the ability for the UPS workforce to fuel competitive service offerings, which include seven-day deliveries with a variety of consumer choices.
We believe it is our mutual responsibility to chart the future path for our employees’ future job security.
UPS founder Jim Casey met that responsibility when outlining his business vision, an approach that allowed our great company to evolve from messenger service to home delivery service to the global logistics provider we all know today.
Jim said it best when he penned a letter to all UPS employees in 1937 on the topic of union membership.
This missive is more than a historical artifact. It’s a reminder of the values that have given rise to the world’s largest package delivery company, including transparency, a commitment to innovation and an appreciation for the talents and contributions of all UPSers.
Regardless of their union status, position, background or time with the company, Jim reminds us that respect is nonnegotiable.
UPS has negotiated and worked with Teamsters for more than 80 years and will continue to serve as a leading growth engine for this labor union, even in the face of declining union membership nationwide.
UPS employs more Teamsters than any other company in the United States and strives to fairly reward them for all they contribute to the enterprise.
A central part of that effort is ensuring all UPSers see this company as a great place to work.
On that note, nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our people. That’s why we invest $194 million annually in safety training, involve our front-line employees in the process and are proud to be an industry model in the use of technology and job-safety training.
Jim made sure to highlight the many ways he invested in UPSers in the early days of the company – investments that live on to this day through wages, tuition assistance and career advancement opportunities.
For companies to thrive, they must be constructively dissatisfied, never content with current results and laser-focused on new opportunities.
To succeed, our drivers and operations employees must set us apart from the competition.
We operate in a highly competitive marketplace and must compete vigorously with a broad set of global solutions that are hard for others to match. We can never forget that the corporate graveyard is full of once-iconic companies.
But Jim knew then what the best business leaders know today: Adaptation isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity. The key is ensuring UPSers are clear-eyed about the challenges that lie ahead.
No single person can achieve this goal on their own, however. It requires UPSers in all the communities where we work and live to bring their insights and expertise to the table.
And whether during contract negotiations or in the course of everyday business, UPS will continue to operate as a learning laboratory powered by its own people.
To bring new innovations into the fold, we must listen, and Jim’s words on this subject still ring true more than 80 years later.
Finally, we are proud to provide hundreds of thousands of high-quality union and non-union jobs across the country and support businesses, communities and nonprofits in all 50 states.
But that contract is about more than just a paycheck. It’s an agreement that both parties will act in good faith for the betterment of our customers, employees and communities – and UPS as a whole.
Trust and transparency are critical to the long-term viability of this company. We are committed to an open and honest dialogue about where UPS is heading and what it needs to do to remain competitive in the 21st century economy.
Though a modern challenge, we’re still turning to Jim for inspiration – his guidance remains timeless.
April 4, 2018