UPS Workers Avert Strike by Approving New Contract

By John Mercury August 23, 2023

The Teamsters had been aggressive in mobilizing members and ratcheting up pressure on the company in recent months, including picket-line practice and training sessions for strike captains. Mr. O’Brien has frequently referred to corporate leaders as a “white-collar crime syndicate” and argued that “this multibillion-dollar corporation has plenty to give American workers — they just don’t want to.”

UPS moves about one-quarter of the tens of millions of packages shipped in the United States each day, according to the Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index. Its adjusted net income rose more than 70 percent from 2019 to last year, reaching more than $11 billion.

The negotiations on a national contract began in April, and the union announced in mid-June that its members had voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike.

The two sides resolved many key issues by early July, including eliminating a lower-paid category of full-time driver that had angered many UPS employees, and requiring air conditioning in new trucks to improve heat safety. But then negotiations broke down, with the Teamsters arguing that the company had not offered sufficient improvements in pay for part-time workers, who make up more than half of the union’s UPS members.

Mr. O’Brien and the union spent the next few weeks condemning what they sometimes referred to as “part-time poverty” jobs, before the sides resumed negotiating in late July and quickly finalized a tentative deal.

UPS employees represented by the union began voting on the agreement in early August. While some part-time workers continued to argue that the wage gains should have been even larger and urged a “no” vote, the final margin suggested that most were satisfied with the deal.


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