excerpt: Organized labor has generally declined in importance for the past 30 years, but occasionally other economic changes bolster the bargaining power of a particular union, if not the union movement. This appears to be the case at present with at least a segment of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Despite a fragile economic recovery, which jeopardizes the business prospects of all employers, and a number of special factors from higher fuel costs to the need for intensified security particular to package delivery companies, the Teamsters employed at the United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if a new contract is not agreed to by July 31. The Teamsters announced Monday that at secret ballot votes taken at membership meetings on May 18 and 19, 93% of the roughly 210,000 UPS Teamsters voted to authorize a strike. And yet the conventional wisdom is that most employees have strong enough memories of the damage done to the their company's market share during a 1997 strike that they won't risk repeating it by taking the threat to the next level. On the one hand, the Teamsters' confrontational actions stand as a bold move, especially at a time when the unemployment rate is still rising and a meandering stock market is underscoring the fragility of the recovery. Clearly, the union feels it can afford to act this way, and yet there is also evidence that some workers are a little unnerved by the prospects of the company losing out to its competitors.