(CTN News) – On Tuesday, United Parcel Service (UPS) and the Teamsters union reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, likely preventing the breakdown of the supply chain that could have affected virtually every American household – and saving the Biden administration from another round of bad economic news.
During the past three months, UPS and the Teamsters have been in negotiations to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement covering more than 340,000 workers nationwide.
This contract is the largest private collective bargaining agreement in North America.
It has been reported that the Teamsters have already authorized a strike for as soon as Aug. 1, which would have left everything from medicine to birthday gifts sitting undeliverable in warehouses.
“Rank-and-file UPS Teamsters sacrificed everything to get this country through the pandemic and enabled UPS to reap record-breaking profits as a result of the agreement,” said Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien after the agreement was announced.
According to him, “We demanded the best contract in the history of UPS and we were able to secure it.”.
There are many benefits to this agreement, and UPS CEO Carol Tomé described it as a “win-win-win” which “continues to provide 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 grow our business.”
In the negotiation process, one of the major sticking points was the pay rates for the hybrid workers who split their time between driving delivery trucks and doing other warehouse duties in addition to driving delivery trucks.
The UPS part-time drivers are paid less than the full-time drivers, creating what the Teamsters changed as an “unfair two-tier wage system that puts UPS workers at a disadvantage.”
According to the contract agreement, these workers would be reclassified immediately to become regular package car drivers as soon as the agreement is signed.
Also included in the five-year tentative agreement is the creation of 7,500 new full-time jobs and the raising of pay scales for certain employees.
There is still a chance that the contract agreement could be ratified by the union’s membership during the period between Aug. 3 and Aug. 22.