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Strike averted in UPS, Teamsters deal

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UPS and the Teamster union representing its drivers announced an agreement Tuesday, avoiding a strike that was scheduled for the beginning of August.

The Teamsters represent about 330,000 U.S. employees.

“The overwhelmingly lucrative contract raises wages for all workers, creates more full-time jobs, and includes dozens of workplace protections and improvements,” the Teamsters said in the announcement.

UPS called the agreement a win-win.

“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.”

The five-year agreement still must be ratified by voting union members, according to UPS.

“UPS has put $30 billion in new money on the table as a direct result of these negotiations,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. “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 deal includes new holidays and “no more forced overtime on Teamster drivers’ days off,” the union said.

If this deal does somehow fall through, a strike could be back on the table.

“If the UPS strikes do occur, workers should know their rights,” Steve Delie, director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, told The Center Square. “As a legal notice by the National Right to Work Foundation points out, employees in states with right-to-work protections who want to continue working can choose to resign their union membership and stop paying the union to support the strike. Employees in states without a right-to-work law wouldn’t get that luxury. Instead, they’d be forced to continue paying fees to the union, even if they oppose the strike.”

The Teamsters laid out a litany of terms agreed to in the contract. Here are some of the terms from the release:

Historic wage increases. Existing full- and part-time UPS Teamsters will get $2.75 more per hour in 2023, and $7.50 more per hour over the length of the contract.Existing part-timers will be raised up to no less than $21 per hour immediately, and part-time seniority workers earning more under a market rate adjustment would still receive all new general wage increases.General wage increases for part-time workers will be double the amount obtained in the previous UPS Teamsters contract — and existing part-time workers will receive a 48 percent average total wage increase over the next five years.Wage increases for full-timers will keep UPS Teamsters the highest paid delivery drivers in the nation, improving their average top rate to $49 per hour.UPS Teamster part-timers will have priority to perform all seasonal support work using their own vehicles with a locked-in eight-hour guarantee. For the first time, seasonal work will be contained to five weeks only from November-December.The creation of 7,500 new full-time Teamster jobs at UPS and the fulfillment of 22,500 open positions, establishing more opportunities through the life of the agreement for part-timers to transition to full-time work.

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