I have been tearing my closet apart trying to find my copy of the "best, last and final" offer that UPS presented to us on the morning of July 31st of '97. When we discussed that "offer" at our union meeting, there was one line in it that would have allowed UPS to subcontract any work it wanted too as long as they could save money doing it. It was 8 or 9 words buried someplace in the subcontrating language that would have essentially rendered the entire conract a moot point. I am not making this up, I just cannot find a copy. Does anyone have a full and unedited version of that proposal?
This is a great point. It illustrates both the UPS' naivety and the Teamster's being disingenuous during that strike. The whole period of those negotiations, the teamsters made UPS negotiate against themselves, and UPS bought into it.
Let me illustrate: When you go buy a car, if you say to the dealer I will pay 5000 for it, and he says simply, no, "that is not enough, offer me more" without giving you a number he might accept, he is making you negotiate against yourself.
That is how the 1997 talks went. The company offered language on most issues, the IBT team would basically pick it apart and say no, that is not good enough. But they never offered a comprehensive package that they would accept, at least, not until after the strike.
So, UPS, showing great stupidity, trying to get them to offer up a complete package, gave at the last hour the "best, last and final" offer. Now, anyone familiar with legal negotiations and the terms used in them, knows that "best, last and final" is far from the final offer one side is willing to accept. What it really means is, I am done coming up with offers and you need to come up with one or accept mine. As I said, the idea was to get the Teamsters to actually negotiate and start bringing their comprehensive plan to the table. What the IBT did instead, in an admittedly brilliant PR move, was use the "last, best and final" language to say "see how recalcitrant this evil corporation is being? We can't work with them, we should go on strike".
Smart move for the IBT, based on it's goals. Stupid move for UPS.
Winners- Carey, he got to keep his job until the feds ousted him. (yes, I know he was acquitted, but he still lost his job) and, FedEx.
Losers- UPS and UPS unionized work force. UPS lost tons of customers, many of whom have never returned, and it was 18 months before UPS was back up to pre-strike volume and staffing levels.