TEAMSTERS, UPS OPEN CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS
The Teamsters Union and United Parcel Service Inc. opened contract negotiations Wednesday, to replace the five-year contract that expires July 31.
The two sides exchanged proposals Wednesday at a Washington hotel. UPS and the union said they are beginning negotiations early to avoid a situation similar to the two-week Teamsters strike in 1997 that cost UPS millions of dollars.
'UPS respects the negotiating process,' Chris Mahoney, UPS's senior vice president of global transportation services and labor relations told Associated Press. 'And we believe starting early is the best way for the company and the union to arrive at an agreement to protect UPS volume, preserve Teamster jobs and continue to provide the reliable service UPS customers expect.'
Teamsters President James P. Hoffa said the union aims to increase wages, maintain health care benefits, increase pensions and create 3,000 full-time jobs from part-time positions.
The 210,000 UPS Teamsters 'are the face of UPS,' Hoffa told AP. 'It is time they get a share of the profits earned since the last contract.'
The Teamsters say their pay has not kept up with UPS's profits. Unionized full-time workers are paid an average of $23.05 an hour, a 3.1-percent increase from 2000. That same year, UPS's net income more than tripled. Hourly pay has risen 2.8 percent to 3.1 percent a year since 1997.
UPS argues that its wages for package car drivers are nearly 25 percent more than FedEx's average hourly rate for a ground contractor.