The International Brotherhood of Teamsters and United Parcel Service are starting contract negotiations that cover 238,000 union members employed by UPS. The current contract expires Aug. 1, 2008.
“While it is unusual to start this early, we do so because there are some very complex issues to address and we all recognize it will take time to find solutions,” said John McDevitt, senior vp for global transportation services at UPS.
“And an early start to negotiations greatly increases the chances of an early finish,” he added. “Ultimately, the only way to solve complex issues is through the collective bargaining process, so starting almost two years early is the right thing to do for UPS employees, as well as our customers.”
Pensions and health care benefits are shaping up to be the major points of contention for the new contract. “Our members have told us that protecting pensions and health care are their top priorities,” said Teamsters general president Jim Hoffa. “We will tackle these critical issues before addressing other key issues such as work rules, safety and wages.”
“Our members know that they cannot count on the government to solve the pension and health care crises in the U.S.,” added Ken Hall, director of the union’s parcel and small package division. “We must address these issues at the bargaining table, and we will do that.”