UPS and Teamsters reach tentative deal, averting strike for now | Orlando Area News | Orlando

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photo by McKenna Schueler

UPS Teamsters hold a practice picket outside of a UPC Customer Center in Orlando on July 13, 2023 ahead of a looming nationwide strike.

After months of contract negotiations and a major strike threat, UPS and the Teamsters labor union have reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract, averting what would have been the largest labor strike against a single employer in decades.

The tentative agreement, described by the union Tuesday as “the most historic agreement for workers in the history of UPS,” covers over 340,000 UPS delivery drivers and warehouse workers across the United States, including 3,000 in Central Florida alone.

According to the union, the deal offers concessions from the company on several previous sticking points including higher wages for part-timers. Part-time workers nationwide, under the deal, would make a minimum $21 per hour immediately, while both part-time workers and full-time workers earning more would earn an additional $2.75 per hour this year, rising to $7.50 more per hour over the life of the five-year contract.

Workers would also see an end to forced overtime on days off. And Martin Luther King Jr. Day would be established as an official holiday for all UPS workers, among other things.

Importantly, the deal also includes other items UPS had already agreed to, such as the end of a divisive two-tier system for package car drivers, and agreements on heat safety protections, such as cargo ventilation and in-unit air conditioning in UPS vehicles purchased after Jan. 1, 2024 — a feature that’s currently missing in UPS delivery vans and trucks, putting drivers at risk for heat exhaustion, dehydration and other heat-related illness.

“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. 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,” Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien said in a statement Tuesday.

“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.”

The company on Tuesday also praised the deal reached. “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, the CEO of UPS (who reported $19 million in total compensation last year) in a statement. “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.”

This new tentative agreement means a strike by UPS Teamsters has been averted for now. But the deal is still subject to the approval of union membership.

The Teamsters say that representatives of UPS Teamster locals (smaller affiliates of the national union, spread across the country) will meet on July 31, the day their current contract expires, to review and recommend whether membership should approve the agreement, which has already received the endorsement of the UPS Teamsters National Negotiating Committee.

The deal will then be put to a vote by union members. Voting will run Aug. 3 through Aug. 22.

This is a developing story.

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