NATIONAL NEWS

UPS reaches tentative contract with 340,000 unionized workers potentially dodging calamitous strike

Jul 25, 2023, 10:35 AM

FILE - A UPS driver puts his seat belt on before driving off as UPS workers hold a rally in downtow...

FILE - A UPS driver puts his seat belt on before driving off as UPS workers hold a rally in downtown Los Angeles as a national strike deadline nears on Wednesday, July 19, 2023. UPS has reached a contract agreement with its 340,000-person strong union Tuesday, July 25, 2023, averting a strike that had the potential to disrupt logistics nationwide for businesses and households alike. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — UPS has reached a contract agreement with its 340,000-person strong union Tuesday, averting a strike that had the potential to disrupt logistics nationwide for businesses and households alike.

The agreement was announced after UPS and the Teamsters came back to the negotiating table Tuesday to talk over remaining sticking points 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 prepared statement. It includes, among other benefits, higher wages and air conditioning in delivery trucks.

“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,” Carol Tomé, UPS chief executive officer, said in a written 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.”

The company said the five-year agreement covers U.S. Teamsters-represented employees in small-package roles and is subject to voting and ratification by union members.

The union, which had long threatened a strike, boasted about the “historic wage increases” for its members, saying 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.

It said the agreement includes provision to increase starting pay for part-time workers to $21 per hour, up from $16.20 today. It also reiterated prior concessions it got from the company, such as making Martin Luther King Day a full holiday for the first time and ending forced overtime on drivers’ days off.

Members of the Teamsters, angered by a contract they say was forced on them five years ago by union leadership, clashed with UPS over pay as profits for the delivery company soared in recent years. Union leadership was upended last year with the election of Sean O’Brien, a vocal critic of the union president who signed off on that contract, James Hoffa, the son of the famous Teamsters firebrand.

The two side had reached a tentative agreement early on safety issues, including equipping more trucks with air conditioning equipment. Under the agreement, UPS said it would add air conditioning to U.S. small delivery vehicles purchased after January 1, 2024.

Profits at UPS have grown more than 140% since the last contract was signed as the arrival of a deadly pandemic drastically transformed the manner in which households get what they need.

Unionized workers argued that were the ones shouldering growth at the Atlanta company and appeared dead set on righting what they saw as a bad contract.

The 24 million packages UPS ships on an average day amounts to about a quarter of all U.S. parcel volume, according to the global shipping and logistics firm Pitney Bowes. As UPS puts it, that’s the equivalent of about 6% of nation’s gross domestic product.

Member voting begins Aug. 3 and concludes Aug. 22.

UPS has the largest private-sector contract with workers in North America and the last breakdown in labor talks a quarter century ago led to a 15-day walkout by 185,000 workers that crippled the company.

If a strike occurred, logistics experts had warned that other shipping companies wouldn’t have had the capacity to handle all the packages that would flow their way. Customers who shop online could have faced more shipping fees and longer waits.

The deal averts a big crisis in shipping just as merchants were in the throes of the back-to-school shopping season, the second largest sales period behind the winter holidays.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, a national retail trade group that counts retailers like Best Buy, CVS Health and Kohl’s as members, called the tentative pact “an enormous relief to retailers, who have been navigating the possibility of a strike and the associated uncertainty for weeks.”

“We’ve learned all too well over the last several years the impact supply chain disruptions can have,” the group said in a statement. ”We’re grateful that this challenge, which would have had a price tag in the billions of dollars and a long runway for recovery, was avoided.”

_______

Matt Ott contributed to this report from Washington, D.C. and Anne D’Innocenzio contributed from New York City.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Curator Lily Carhart shows a pipette they used to extract liquid from a few dozen 18th-century glas...

Associated Press

No lie: Perfectly preserved centuries-old cherries unearthed at George Washington’s Mount Vernon

George Washington never did cut down the cherry tree, despite the famous story to the contrary, but he did pack away quite a few bottles of the fruit at his Mount Vernon home.

17 minutes ago

A reflective monolith found by Vegas Metro Search and Rescue near Gass Peak over the weekend....

Michael Houck

A reflective monolith appears in outskirts of Las Vegas

Three years since a mysterious monolith appeared in the Utah wilderness, a new one was found in the mountains near Las Vegas.

18 minutes ago

A fan cools off in a mister before a baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and the New York ...

Mary Gilbert and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

Heat wave not seen in decades will send temperatures soaring for more than half the US population

A long-lasting and expansive heat wave fueled by an intense heat dome is underway for the Midwest and Northeast. Record-breaking high temperatures will last into next week, ushering in the start of summer with this year’s most significant heat event yet.

2 hours ago

Gordon Ramsay pictured at the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Rangers FC and Celtic FC at ...

Alli Rosenbloom, CNN

Gordon Ramsay says he’s ‘lucky’ to be alive after cycling accident

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay said that he's lucky to be alive after a recent cycling incident in Connecticut. In an Instagram post, he revealed a massive purple bruise on his torso.

5 hours ago

FILE - A sign outside the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington, on May 4, 2021. Most tax...

Josh Boak and Fatima Hussein

The IRS wants to end another major tax loophole for the wealthy and raise $50 billion in the process

The IRS plans to end another major tax loophole that could raise more than $50 billion in revenue over the next decade.

5 hours ago

Scientists have been trying to directly observe dark matter, the elusive and invisible substance th...

Jacopo Prisco, CNN

Scientists may have found an answer to the mystery of dark matter. It involves an unexpected byproduct

Scientists have made many guesses for what dark matter could be, ranging from unknown particles to extra dimensions. Here's what new studies show.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

UPS reaches tentative contract with 340,000 unionized workers potentially dodging calamitous strike