Teamsters at UPS and TForce Freight vote to authorize strikes, ABF strike likely avoided

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The International Brotherhood of Teamsters on Friday voted to authorize strikes at two of the nation’s five largest fleets if new labor deals are not struck by the end of next month, and a local union signed off on a tentative deal that averts a potential strike against ABF Freight.

Union members at UPS (CCJ Top 250, No. 2) voted by 97% to authorize a strike, the Teamsters said. The vote allows the UPS Teamsters National Negotiating Committee to call a strike should UPS fail to come to terms on a strong new contract by July 31, when the union’s current National Master Agreement expires. The Teamsters represent more than 340,000 UPS package delivery drivers and warehouse logistics workers nationwide.

Full- and part-time UPS Teamsters are bargaining for a new five-year agreement that guarantees higher wages for all workers, more full-time jobs, an end to forced overtime and harassment from management, elimination of a two-tier wage system, and protection from heat and other workplace hazards.

“This strike authorization vote sends a clear message to UPS that our members are damned and determined to take necessary action to secure a historic contract that respects their dedication and sacrifice,” said Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman. “Our members are the backbone of UPS, and they are the reason this corporation hauled in more than $100 billion in revenue just last year. It’s time for UPS to pay up.”

Via statement released Friday, UPS said the results of the membership's vote "do not mean a strike is imminent and do not impact our current business operations in any way. Authorization votes and approvals are normal steps in labor union negotiations."

Teamsters at TForce Freight, formerly UPS Freight and now a subsidiary of TFI International (CCJ Top 250, No. 4), which represent more than 7,000 workers nationwide, voted by 91% to authorize a strike if the two sides can’t reach an agreement by the July 31 contract expiration. Negotiations between the Teamsters and TForce Freight are set to resume June 26.

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“The resounding vote in favor of strike authorization serves as a clear message that our members will not accept anything less than a strong, comprehensive agreement that raises standards and improves working conditions,” said Kris Taylor, Co-Chair of the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC) at TForce Freight. “This is a critical vote that will give us more bargaining power as we enter the final phase of negotiations.”

[Related: Yellow, union locked in war of words]

Union okays tentative deal with ABF

Teamsters Union local leaders have endorsed a tentative labor agreement reached between the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC) and ABF Freight (No. 18) covering more than 8,500 members.

"With this new agreement, we have reset the standard and charted a new course for the entire freight industry," said Teamsters General President Sean M. O'Brien. "The gains made at the table are a testament to our strength and commitment to revamp and rebuild the Freight Division."

The five-year agreement will run from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2028. The current agreement expires June 30.

Highlights of the tentative agreement include:

  • Wage Increases: Members will receive a $3.50 per hour raise effective July 1, 2023, with a total of $6.50 in raises over the life of the agreement. The wage increase in year one alone surpasses those of the entire previous contract, providing meaningful improvements for members.
  • Expanded Benefits: MLK Day has been added as a new paid holiday, recognizing the significance of this day. Starting January 1, 2024, two additional annual paid sick days will be added to the contractual minimum, increasing the minimum number of paid sick days from five to seven.
  • Health, Welfare, & Pension Contributions: The company is required to increase its contributions to health, welfare, and pension plans, with a total of $4.46 per hour of additional contributions over the term of the agreement. These contributions provide vital support for members' health care and retirement needs.
  • Protections and Safeguards: The tentative agreement includes provisions to safeguard members' rights and well-being. It prohibits the use of invasive technology, such as inward-facing cab cameras, audio recorders, body sensors, and biometric technology in vehicles operated by bargaining unit employees. It also ensures protections against the use of autonomous vehicles or freight transportation without drivers/operators, safeguarding job security.

Balloting will be conducted in person by each local union.