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UPS to close 200 hubs, cut Teamster jobs

By Bill Aiman

Southeast Metro Atlanta Routing Terminal \[SMART\] is an automated sorting facility and the second largest ground hub in the UPS network  | Fight Back! News/staff

Atlanta, GA – United Parcel Service (UPS) announced on March 26 that the company plans to close up to 200 UPS hubs and automate sorting at the remaining hubs within the next five years. The plan is part of a broader initiative by UPS called “Network of the Future” which looks to automate union jobs with a goal of saving the company $3 billion in labor costs by 2028. UPS made $6.7 billion in profit last year and UPS CEO Carol Tomé took home $23.4 million in total compensation.

The plan was announced at the UPS investor and analyst conference held at Worldport in Louisville, Kentucky. The company is investing $9 billion in network upgrades with 63 automation projects planned between now and 2028. This would bring the total number of automated sorting facilities in the UPS network up to 400.

The Network of the Future initiative is not just limited to automating the sorting of packages, UPS is planning on automating additional jobs as well. “Every single work area is being scrutinized for automation opportunities, not just our sortation hubs,” said Nando Cesarone, executive vice president of UPS. The company is planning on automating address correction and package redirection as well as automated dispatch for package cars and feeder runs. The company is also testing automating trailer loading and unloading.

“Network of the Future is targeting all activities for automation within our four walls,” Cesarone said. “These building consolidations and automations yield real savings. For example, we’ll have fewer feeder runs. We’ll be able to eliminate both a.m. and p.m. ground and air feeds in many, many locations.”

The goal of UPS’s investment in automation equipment, and their plan to automate Teamster jobs, is to squeeze as much profit as it can out of the hubs while reducing its costs paid in wages. UPS’s Network of the Future envisions a future with fewer Teamster jobs but more profit for shareholders.

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