Local businesses comment on UPS strike

This article submitted by Stephanie Everson on 8/19/97.

The teamsters nationwide strike against United Parcel Service has now entered its second week, disrupting unprepared businesses and unsuspecting customers. Reports in the news have told the stories of hard hit merchants, and even of mail order businesses forced to close their doors.

As of this past weekend, negotiators were holed up in a Washington hotel without a compromise in sight, and the front page of Monday's Star Tribune declared even the President has encouraged a truce.

In the August 18 issue of the Star Tribune, Clinton was quoted as saying, "This strike is beginning to hurt not only the company, but its employees and the people who depend on it, and I think they ought to redouble their efforts to settle the strike and they ought to do it today."

Although unfortunate for many businesses who depended on UPS as their main carrier, the strike has given a considerable boost to the United States Postal Service. The U.S. Postal Service has reported a 70 percent increase in express mail, 50 percent in priority mail, and 20 percent in parcels. Although only August, mail volume is at Christmas time levels.

Several Paynesville businesses are feeling the effects of the strike, although most have managed to keep up with daily business with little affect on their customers. NAPA Auto Parts, Paynesville Corner Drug, Koronis Sports Apparel, and Deanna Lieser, Mary Kay dealer, are a few who have had to find alternative means of shipping.

NAPA Auto Parts and Paynesville Corner Drug have been able to continue normal business with little effect to their customers. Although both businesses have had a few delays, they haven't had any major setbacks.

Mike Tougas at NAPA Auto Parts said they will probably be using Speedy more, since that delivery service picked up the extra shipping when UPS began the strike. "I guess they've got a good complaint there," Tougas said of the strikers, "but they need to keep the trucks moving and people working." He felt negotiations could have been done without striking.

Bert Stanley of Paynesville Corner Drug said that they have had few delays, as adjustments were made at the shipping end. Those that couldn't be handled by the management of UPS were directed through alternative services.

Koronis Sports Apparel, however, has felt more of a pinch, although it's been minimal because so far they haven't hit their busiest season. Parcel Post has shipped much of their merchandise since the strike began, but they have run into a few difficulties because UPS was their main carrier, and most other delivery services won't take new customers during the strike.

Rose Spencer of Koronis Sports Apparel said they have made trips to the UPS warehouse in Willmar to pick up their merchandise themselves, but items that were already loaded onto the trucks when the strikes began are stuck until the trucks start moving again.

"Obviously, this is going to lose (UPS) some customers," Spencer said. She stated, however, Koronis Sports apparel hasn't had any complaints regarding UPS services before, and she expects to continue her business with them, just not as their only carrier.

"I guess we didn't think it would go on this long," Spencer commented. Their customers have been understanding, though. "Pretty much everybody is in the same bind," she added.

Deanna Lieser, Mary Kay cosmetics consultant, has been hardest hit, although she's made sure her customers haven't been affected, due to her large in stock items.

With other consultants working under her, if one doesn't have a particular product they are able to get it from another. "We help each other out," she said.

At this point, they are mostly shipping through the U.S. Postal Service, but when the strike ends Mary Kay will continue shipping through UPS. She said even though UPS will most likely lose some customers, she is sure Mary Kay will continue with UPS.

"We're just waiting it out and hoping (the strike) will end soon," she said.

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