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Tipsheet

Here Are the Details of the New UPS-Teamsters Agreement

AP Photo/Bill Sikes, File

For businesses and customers nationwide, you can breathe easy. July 31 won’t be a day of economic chaos. With the news dominated by high inflation and a mentally deteriorating president, I would guess a good slice of the country didn’t know that a massive labor strike was looming. One of the largest labor strikes in history could have gone down if UPS and the Teamsters didn’t reach a new agreement. The past few weeks were not looking good as both sides walked away from the negotiating table, blaming each other for the stalled talks. Blessedly, a new deal was reached (via WaPo): 

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UPS and the union representing 340,000 delivery drivers reached a deal Tuesday, averting a nationwide strike that could have started on Aug. 1 and hobbled the U.S. economy. 

The five-year contract with the Teamsters union includes major pay increases for all UPS employees, including part-timers, the eradication of a lower-paid class of worker, and an agreement to install A/C units in delivery vans. 

“We demanded the best contract in the history of UPS, and we got it,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien in a statement. “This contract sets a new standard in the labor movement and raises the bar for all workers.” 

Carol Tomé, UPS chief executive officer, praised the deal in a statement calling it a “win-win-win.” 

“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,” Tomé said. 

UPS has over 530,000 employees, with 340,000 being Teamsters delivery drivers. This strike could have had a catastrophic impact on e-commerce. The agreement on air-conditioned delivery trucks was agreed to weeks ago, a sign of hope before negotiations took a downward turn, leading some to speculate that a strike was coming. UPS even started training non-union workers in case things fell apart. The new Teamsters president, Sean O'Brien, has been preparing his rank-and-file for war with UPS. He also told the Biden White House that he would prefer if they stayed in their lane regarding their talks with the shipping company. 

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Here are more details (via Fox Business):

In a statement, O'Brien added that "UPS has put $30 billion in new money on the table as a direct result of these negotiations." The Teamsters detailed several provisions of the tentative collective bargaining agreement, which would run until 2028, in a press release:

  • Existing full- and part-time UPS Teamsters would receive a raise of $2.75 per hour in 2023, and $7.50 over the length of the contract. Full-timers would see their average top rate rise to $49 per hour, which the union says is the highest pay for U.S. delivery drivers.
  • Current part-timers would receive an immediate raise to at least $21 per hour, with seniority
  • All UPS Teamsters would receive Martin Luther King Day as a full holiday for the first time.
  • Teamsters drivers would be able to choose from two workweek schedules and couldn't be forced to work overtime on scheduled off-days.

The new deal now goes to union members for a vote. Unlike the railroad worker circus, this one should cruise toward approval.

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