NEW YORK — UPS reached a contract agreement with its 340,000-person union on Tuesday, July 25, averting a strike that had the potential to disrupt logistics nationwide.
“Together we reached a win-win-win agreement on the issues that are important to Teamsters leadership, our employees and to UPS and our customers,” said Carol Tomé, CEO of UPS. “This agreement continues to reward UPS’s full- and part-time employees with industry-leading pay and benefits while retaining the flexibility we need to stay competitive, serve our customers and keep our business strong.”
The agreement was announced after UPS and the Teamsters came back to the negotiating table to discuss — and hopefully resolve — issues in the largest private-sector contract in North America. Both sides had already reached tentative agreement on a host of issues but remained at odds on things like pay for part-time workers, who make up more than half of the UPS employees represented by the union.
The Teamsters called the tentative agreement “historic” and “overwhelmingly lucrative” in a news release. The agreement includes, among other benefits, higher wages and air conditioning in delivery trucks.
“Rank-and-file members served on the committee for the first time, so we got to show up every day to support our fellow Teamsters and share their stories,” said Brandy Harris, a part-time UPS Teamster with Local 174 in Seattle and a member of the Teamsters National Negotiating Committee. “Our hard work has paid off — from those members and leaders negotiating for more at the table to my sisters and brothers building a credible strike threat around the country. Our union was organized, and we were relentless. We’ve hit every goal that UPS Teamster members wanted and asked for with this agreement. It’s a ‘yes’ vote for the most historic contract we’ve ever had.”
Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien said, “Rank-and-file UPS Teamsters sacrificed everything to get this country through a pandemic and enabled UPS to reap record-setting profits. Teamster labor moves America.”
O’Brien added: “The union went into this fight committed to winning for our members. We demanded the best contract in the history of UPS, and we got it. UPS has put $30 billion in new money on the table as a direct result of these negotiations. We’ve changed the game, battling it out day and night to make sure our members won an agreement that pays strong wages, rewards their labor, and doesn’t require a single concession. This contract sets a new standard in the labor movement and raises the bar for all workers.”
Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman said UPS came dangerously close to putting itself on strike.
“But we kept firm on our demands,” he said. “In my more than 40 years in Louisville representing members at Worldport — the largest UPS hub in the country — I have never seen a national contract that levels the playing field for workers so dramatically as this one.”
Highlights of the tentative 2023-2028 UPS Teamsters National Master Agreement include historic wage increases:
- Existing full- and part-time UPS Teamsters will get $2.75 more per hour in 2023, and $7.50 more per hour over the length of the contract.
- Existing part-timers will be raised up to no less than $21 per hour immediately, and part-time seniority workers earning more under a market rate adjustment would still receive all new general wage increases.
- General wage increases for part-time workers will be double the amount obtained in the previous UPS Teamsters contract — and existing part-time workers will receive a 48 percent average total wage increase over the next five years.
- Wage increases for full-timers will keep UPS Teamsters the highest paid delivery drivers in the nation, improving their average top rate to $49 per hour.
- Current UPS Teamsters working part-time would receive longevity wage increases of up to $1.50 per hour on top of new hourly raises, compounding their earnings.
- New part-time hires at UPS would start at $21 per hour and advance to $23 per hour.
Other provisions include:
- All UPS Teamster drivers classified as 22.4s would be reclassified immediately to Regular Package Car Drivers and placed into seniority, ending the unfair two-tier wage system at UPS.
- Safety and health protections, including vehicle air conditioning and cargo ventilation. UPS will equip in-cab A/C in all larger delivery vehicles, sprinter vans, and package cars purchased after Jan. 1, 2024. All cars get two fans and air induction vents in the cargo compartments.
- All UPS Teamsters would receive Martin Luther King Day as a full holiday for the first time.
- No more forced overtime on Teamster drivers’ days off. Drivers would keep one of two workweek schedules and could not be forced into overtime on scheduled off-days.
- UPS Teamster part-timers will have priority to perform all seasonal support work using their own vehicles with a locked-in eight-hour guarantee. For the first time, seasonal work will be contained to five weeks only from November-December.
- The creation of 7,500 new full-time Teamster jobs at UPS and the fulfillment of 22,500 open positions, establishing more opportunities through the life of the agreement for part-timers to transition to full-time work.
- More than 60 total changes and improvements to the National Master Agreement — more than any other time in Teamsters history — and zero concessions from the rank-and-file.
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