As worker talks continue, UPS says rivals getting packages

Wednesday, July 10th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) _ United Parcel Service Inc. said Wednesday that it expects to meet its second-quarter financial targets, but acknowledged that rivals are starting to collect some of its business as contract talks with the Teamsters continue.

UPS, the world's largest freight hauler, affirmed its forecast of earnings of 50 cents to 55 cents per share. Analysts expect UPS to earn 54 cents per share, according to a consensus survey by Thomson Financial/First Call.

The UPS contract, which covers about 230,000 workers _ the Teamsters' largest employer _ expires July 31. Union members have authorized a strike if no deal is reached.

UPS said package volume was down 2 percent in April and May from last year's levels, but fell 4 percent in June as the contract deadline approached.

``We've said all along the risk of volume being diverted would increase the closer we got to contract expiration, and diversion will accelerate if there's no agreement soon,'' said Scott Davis, UPS' chief financial officer.

A half-month Teamsters strike in 1997 cost the company an estimated dlrs 750 million and strained businesses across the country.

Negotiations are taking place this week in Washington. Health insurance costs and pension benefits remain sticking points, Teamsters spokesman Bret Caldwell said.

``The company has a long way to go,'' he said. ``The best way to end diversion is for the company to conclude these talks.''