The Teamsters union rank and file working at UPS Inc. have overwhelmingly ratified a five-year contract, the Teamsters announced Tuesday afternoon.
According to the Teamsters, 86.3% of voters ratified the contract, the largest margin in the long history of collective bargaining agreements between the two sides. About 58% of eligible voters cast ballots, the highest percentage in the history of UPS-Teamster contracts, the union said. UPS employs about 340,000 Teamster members.
All 44 supplemental agreements were ratified, except for a supplement covering 174 members in Florida. The national, or “master,” agreement will go into effect once the supplement is renegotiated and ratified, the Teamsters said. Each supplement covers specific regions of the country and is tailored to the needs of Teamsters members in the respective regions.
UPS and the Teamsters agreed on July 25 to a tentative five-year contract that calls for a $2.75-an-hour wage increase in the first year for full- and part-time workers, smaller increases in years two through four, and another bump, albeit not as a big as in year one, during the fifth and final year.
The contract was then unanimously endorsed by officials of 162 Teamsters locals representing UPS workers.
By the time the contract ends, senior full-time drivers will earn approximately $170,000 a year in wages and benefits. Part- and full-time workers will get $7.50 more in hourly wages over the life of the contract. Existing part-time workers will have their wages raised to no less than $21 an hour immediately, while new part-timers will start at $21 an hour and advance to $23 an hour. The contract ends a two-tier driver wage system, bringing all junior drivers into seniority status. The Teamsters have long complained that junior drivers were paid less than their senior counterparts for the same work.
The contract creates 7,500 new full-time Teamsters jobs by combining part-time hours into full time. It also mandates that 22,500 open jobs be filled. Drivers will no longer be forced to work overtime on their scheduled off days.
UPS will equip all package cars, larger delivery vehicles and sprinter vans purchased after Jan. 1 with in-cab air conditioning. For the first time, all UPS Teamsters will receive Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a full holiday.
The Teamsters have estimated the value of the contract at $30 billion over the five-year period.
In return, UPS will be allowed to operate Sunday service without reopening the contract to negotiate the service. The contract is also expected to enable UPS to use more productivity-enhancing automation. UPS published a brief statement confirming the ratification vote.
“This contract will improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers,” Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien said in a statement. “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 nonunion companies like Amazon better pay attention.”
The Teamsters have made no secret of their desire to organize Amazon.com Inc. warehouse workers and drivers, though drivers, unlike warehouse employees, work under delivery service contractors who are not Amazon employees. O’Brien used the gains under the UPS contract as a signal to Amazon workers of the benefits they could derive from organizing.
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