6A The Michigan Daily Wednesday, September 3, 1997
UPS strike slows textbook process
By Maria Hackett
Daily Staff Reporter
Striking United Parcel Service workers this summer
threatened the back-to-school tradition of loading back-
packs with books and supplies for the first day of class-
Many bookstores around campus rely on UPS to
deliver texts in time for student book rush. But this year,
UPS workers who struck for higher wages, more full-
time jobs and control of their pension fund may have
slowed books en route to Ann Arbor for the fall book
Local bookstore owners said the strike ended before
major delays occurred.
"Had it gone on longer than that by about a week, it
would have had a major impact," said Dave Richard,
Ulrich's store manager. "It ended soon enough that we
got everything in on time. Once it ended, within three or
four days, everything was back to normal."
However, some students said they are still seeing the
results of the halt in shipping.
"A lot of people on our hall have been having to wait
because things are on backorder," said LSA first-year
student Kelley Mellenthin.
Many store owners said the strike did not affect sales
because it occurred in the traditionally slow summer
"Since they broke before rush started, we didn't have
a problem keeping up," said Chris St. Jean, store man-
ager at the Michigan Union Bookstore. "At this point, I
don't think UPS is a problem."
Knowledge of the impending strike also helped stores
deal with the problem.
"We knew it was coming, so we ordered as early as
we could," said Hobert Taylor, a textbook manager at
Shaman Drum Bookstore.
But other local bookstore representatives said stu-
dents can expect longer lines for longer periods of time
because of the August strike.
"I think (the book rush) will have to be longer. It used
to be two or three days before class, but with stuff not
coming in, it could go on another week," said Irv Scheel,
textbook manager at Michigan Book and Supply.
Even stores that rarely use UPS faced some delays.
"It slowed things up because our normal delivery ser-
vice was overloaded - we always order from (another
service)," Taylor said.
Scheel said this year's book haul is the slowest in 30
years - but for reasons that have nothing to do with
Many store owners cite late orders by professors as
the main cause for delay.
"We can only order once professors have told us what
they want," Taylor said.
Taylor also said some of the publishers that are nor-
mally slow were using the strike as an excuse to provide
even slower service.
Most of the stores now have everything they ordered,
Taylor said. Shaman Drum has at least 80 percent of the
texts in stock, and the stores receive more cartons of
books every day.
"We're pulling as long of shifts as we can," Scheel
LSA first-year student Esi Akaah said although she
was having difficulty finding books, the strike was not
"It happened awhile ago, and things got back on track
pretty quick afterwards," Akaah said.
Other students said demand for books always makes
finding the right texts difficult.
"I think it's just supply and demand," said LSA first-
year student Jodi Tepper. "There's just too many people
that need books."
Others think that the strike could have caused more
"I know how they got backed up,' said Engineering
junior Chad Malec. "It could have been a lot worse. That
would have been really scary."
Ulrich's employees Anthony Lanni (front) and George Rabick worked all weekend
attempting to organize the packages arriving from UPS.
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