The summer of strikes avoided a major one Tuesday, as the United Parcel Service (UPS) and the Teamsters representing its drivers and factory workers reached a contract agreement.
The Teamsters call the contract “historic,” saying it will lead to wage increases, more full-time job opportunities and workplace improvements for the following five years.
“Teamster labor moves America,” Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien said in a statement. “The union went into this fight committed to winning for our members. We demanded the best contract in the history of UPS, and we got it. 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. This contract sets a new standard in the labor movement and raises the bar for all workers.”
The wage increases will begin this year, with a $2.75 per hour raise, a number that will increase to an additional $7.50 per hour before the contract’s end. Existing part-time workers and new hires will make no less than $21 per hour.
Full-time employees will now make an average of $49 per hour, according to the Teamsters, noting that it is the highest wage for delivery drivers in the U.S.
UPS agreed to fill 22,500 open positions through the length of the contract, with 7,500 being full-time.
Workplace changes for UPS drivers will include in-cab air conditioning and cargo ventilation in all large delivery vehicles and sprinter vans, with new cars being equipped with two fans and air induction vents in the cargo compartments. UPS also will now recognize Martin Luther King Day as a full holiday.
Forced overtime on days off will no longer be allowed.
“I have never seen a national contract that levels the playing field for workers so dramatically as this one,” Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman said. “The agreement puts more money in our members’ pockets and establishes a full range of new protections for them on the job. We stayed focused on our members and fought like hell to get everything that full-time and part-time UPS Teamsters deserve.”
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