UPS avoids strike, reaches deal with Teamsters union

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Updated Jul 26, 2023

UPS (CCJ Top 250, No. 2) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) have reached a tentative five-year collective bargaining agreement the two sides announced Tuesday, averting a work stoppage that was set to take place Monday. 

UPS and IBT had been locked in a battle over the renewal of a labor agreement that expires Monday. Teamsters represent more than 340,000 full- and part-time UPS workers and the union made clear that its UPS members will not work beyond the expiration of the current contract July 31. Union members had already authorized a strike. 

“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, UPS chief executive officer. “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 agreement still must be voted on and ratified by union members.

“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," said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. "This contract sets a new standard in the labor movement and raises the bar for all workers.”

Added Brandy Harris, a part-time UPS Teamster with Local 174 in Seattle and a member of the Teamsters National Negotiating Committee, "We’ve hit every goal that UPS Teamster members wanted and asked for with this agreement. It’s a ‘yes’ vote for the most historic contract we’ve ever had.”

Teamsters billed its agreement with UPS as "the most historic tentative agreement for workers in the history of UPS," after securing full- and part-time UPS Teamsters $2.75 more per hour this year, and $7.50 more per hour over the length of the contract. Wage increases for full-timers will keep UPS Teamsters the highest paid delivery drivers in the nation, improving their average top rate to $49 per hour, IBT said. 

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All UPS Teamster drivers classified as 22.4s (combination workers that take on hybrid work at UPS) would be reclassified immediately to Regular Package Car Drivers and placed into seniority, ending a two-tier wage system at the carrier. 

New safety and health protections include vehicle air conditioning and cargo ventilation and the requirement that UPS equip all larger delivery vehicles, Sprinter vans and package cars purchased after Jan. 1, 2024 with in-cab air conditioning. All cars get two fans and air induction vents in the cargo compartments.

It's been an eventful week for Teamsters freight members, having narrowly avoided a more than 7,000-person strike at Yellow Monday and unanimously endorsing a new agreement with TForce Freight.

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected]