Crippling strike is averted
United Parcel Service (UPS) and the Teamsters have agreed on a new five-year contract. The new package includes part-time pay increases to $21 per hour and an across-the-board hourly raise of $2.75 this year and $7.50 over the length of the contract.
This has been a striking summer as unions have organized left and right to march uptown to downtown to support one another and their representatives. United Parcel Service (UPS) Teamsters have unionized to advocate and support delivery drivers getting a proper raise and part-timer workers getting paid a livable wage.
In June, 97% of UPS Teamsters voted to strike if UPS didn't agree to a new contract by July 31. The strike has led to labor stoppage by over 340,000 drivers and warehouse workers, and things are only getting worse. The initial proposal made by UPS Teamster was a new five-year agreement that guarantees higher wages for all workers, more full-time jobs, an end to forced overtime and harassment from management, elimination of a two-tier wage system, and protection from heat and other workplace hazards. According to UPS employees, part-timers make $16.20 per hour but do around the same labor as full-time workers.
As negotiations began in June; it only lasted a few weeks as talks broke down in early July. Both parties were able to agree on things like installing air conditioning in trucks and doing away with a two-tier pay system for drivers where those who work weekends were paid less. The breakdown led to strikes being held all over the country and one in downtown Los Angeles.
Ian Malabre, a part-time package sorter for UPS, spoke at one of these rallies. "They tell me straight up that their kids could never work there," Malabre said. "If UPS was doing good for you, you would want your kid to be in that position." He and his fellow workers want to help the company grow. "All they have to do is respect us."
The threatened strike reached high altitude as UPS pilots brought their wings down to show solidarity for their drivers. Independent Pilots Association (IPA), "We are committed to exercising our contractual rights, both domestically and internationally, to honor any potential IBT strike and act in sympathy with our fellow workers at UPS by not working,” said pilot union head Captain Robert Travis. “No one wants a work stoppage, but should a legal IBT strike be initiated, you and the IBT can count on the IPA for support.”
UPS sent a statement out after the negotiation broke down. "We are prepared to increase our industry-leading pay and benefits, but need to work quickly to finalize a fair deal that provides certainty for our customers, employees, and businesses."
"Together we reached a win-win-win agreement on the issues that are important to Teamsters leadership, our employees, and to UPS and our customers," said Carol Tomé, UPS chief executive officer. “This agreement continues to reward UPS’s full- and part-time employees with industry-leading pay and benefits while retaining the flexibility we need to stay competitive, serve our customers and keep our business strong."