As the first full work week of the Teamsters/United Parcel Service strike drew to a close, push came to shove for some retailers and distributors Thursday, when Jeffrey Eves, president of the Video Software Dealers Assn., faxed a letter to President Clinton urgently requesting White House intervention in the 5-day-old strike.
“The disruption in small package delivery services (caused by the Teamsters walkout) severely affects the independent businessmen and businesswomen who own and operate the vast majority of the nation’s 30,000 homevideo stores,” Eves wrote. “I respectfully urge you to exercise your powers under the Taft-Hartley Act to intervene in this dispute.”
The White House so far has stayed out of contract dispute between UPS and the Teamsters.
While most of the major entertainment distributors can afford to remain on the sidelines of the Teamsters/UPS labor dispute, no small pressure is being placed on the midsize and small players in the video, music and consumer electronics industries to keep up with promises to their customers and creditors.
The studios, Blockbuster Video, major record retailers and other large players have remained relatively unruffled by the strike, Eves and other industry officials note that smaller retailers and distributors are beginning to miss release dates and payments, with the problem threatening to become much worse if more than one weekly distribution cycle is disrupted.
Customers naturally have begun to turn other package and courier delivery services to maintain the flow of work and products.
A supervisor at courier Midnite Express said demand for delivery suddenly spiked upward Thursday after companies no longer could wait for UPS to resume delivery services.
“Some packages out there can wait, but a lot of people in the entertainment business can’t wait,” said a customer service supervisor at Midnite Express. “You’ve got all these time-sensitive productions that people are spending millions of dollars on, and they have to keep working.”