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A recent Teamsters document liberally uses the “S” word to talk about its UPS deal: Sunday

It is still almost impossible to find any confirmation that UPS is going to add Sunday delivery service. But it’s clear that is the plan, particularly based on a recent document from its union.

The “handshake agreement” on June 22 brought a statement from UPS that the  goal in labor negotiations with the Teamsters “has been to reward the company’s employees for their contributions…while enabling the business to remain flexible to meet its customers’ needs.” A UPS spokesman told Bloomberg last week something almost verbatim; there have been no further updates from the company.

What led to that UPS statement last week was the publication of an update from the Teamsters union on the contract. The update does use the word “Sunday” a few times, but never actually says “UPS wants Sunday deliveries.” Everything else in there points to it.

According to the update from the Teamsters, the contract agreement would not require existing full-time Monday-Friday drivers to work weekends. Those drivers who now work Tuesday-Saturday–UPS already does deliver on Saturdays–will be “transitioned” to a Monday-Friday schedule in the 18 to 24 months after the contract is ratified, according to the Teamsters. 
And what replaces that? A new job classification, the Combination Driver. And this is where the Teamsters pretty much says that Sunday deliveries are coming. There are limits to how many combination drivers can be hired, based on the size of an existing facility’s full-time driver pool. “If the company needs additional drivers for Saturday or Sunday work, (Monday-Friday drivers) will be offered first and forced last,” the Teamsters statement said. 

If there is so much Saturday and Sunday work that the RPCDs–the regular full-time package car drivers–need to work “consistently” on the weekends, “the union and UPS may adjust the 25 percent to avoid the RPCDs being required to work those days.” The 25 percent reference is to the cap on the percentage of combination drivers in a location relative to the size of the RPCD pool.

In another section of the Teamsters document, the union declares that “Current RPCDs will not be regularly required to work Saturday or Sunday.” 

The Teamsters Q&A several times touts the full-time opportunities that the combination drivers will have, which raises the question what they would do on days that aren’t Saturday or Sunday. “Combination drivers will increase the staffing levels during the week,” the document says to answer that question. “(UPS) has pledged to use these additional full-time drivers to even the dispatch so RPCDs will be able to get time off and reduce forced overtime.”

Another aspect of the combination drivers: they will get first crack at becoming a full-time weekday driver. The union document says current part-time workers who fill one of the new combination driver slot will have first dibs on RPCD openings. “The company can not hire off the street to fill a protected job unless no current employee wants the position,” the Teamsters document said.

Since the union-UPS agreement was announced June 22–about five weeks before the current contract was set to expire–the parcel delivery last mile landscape has changed yet again. Amazon announced its plans for an entrepreneur-owned, Amazon-supported package delivery network that would go alongside its many other means of delivering packages to a final destination…including UPS.


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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.