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UPS drivers approve new contract

Aug. 24, 2023
The No. 2 for-hire FleetOwner 500 company’s leader called the new deal a 'win-win-win agreement.' The five-year contract includes wage increases, A/C in delivery trucks, and new overtime rules.

UPS workers overwhelmingly voted to ratify a new labor contract with the second-largest fleet in the U.S., the Teamsters union announced this week. UPS (No. 2 on the for-hire FleetOwner 500) and its drivers and package handlers avoided a summer strike that could have hampered the economy with supply chain heartaches.

The vote for the five-year contract passed with 86.3% in favor. UPS and Teamsters representatives agreed to the deal following lengthy negotiations that raised the possibility of 340,000 Big Brown workers going on strike.

The new contract includes significant wage increases for full and part-time employees; the end of a so-called "two-tier" employee classification system that disadvantaged newer employees; air condition installation in UPS delivery trucks; and an end to required overtime work on an employee's scheduled day off.

See also: Yellow's exit 'reshuffling' the LTL deck

While UPS was able to avoid most problems with its operations thanks to resolving the strike before the July deadline, the nation's third-largest less-than-truckload carrier, Yellow Corp., folded after battles with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (22,000 of its 30,000 employees were Teamsters members) and inefficiency problems in its network and profound financial difficulties the last few years. Yellow unsuccessfully tried to complete its third financial restructuring, One Yellow, in the last 15 years before it collapsed, but blamed union interference for derailing One Yellow.

After the UPS contract vote, Teamsters General President Sean O'Brien said: "Teamsters have set a new standard and raised the bar for pay, benefits, and working conditions in the package delivery industry. This is the template for how workers should be paid and protected nationwide, and non-union companies like Amazon better pay attention." Teamsters drivers and dispatchers for Amazon in Palmdale, California, extended a walkout to an Amazon fulfillment center there earlier this month. 

On the UPS agreement with the union, CEO Carol Tome called the contract with Teamsters a "win-win-win agreement," adding: "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."

Read more about the agreement at FleetOwner affiliate IndustryWeek.
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