UPS Teamsters rally in Los Angeles

UPS Teamsters rally in Los Angeles, California on July 19, 2023.

(Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

UPS Strike Likely Averted as Teamsters Celebrate 'Historic' Contract Victory

"This contract sets a new standard in the labor movement and raises the bar for all workers," said Teamsters president Sean O'Brien.

The Teamsters and UPS on Tuesday reached a tentative five-year contract agreement that union negotiators hailed as a "historic" victory, likely averting what would have been the largest single-employer strike in U.S. history.

In a statement, Teamsters president Sean O'Brien said that "we demanded the best contract in the history of UPS, and we got it."

"UPS has put $30 billion in new money on the table as a direct result of these negotiations," said 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."

According to the union, which represents roughly 340,000 workers, the tentative contract includes "historic wage increases" for full- and part-time UPS Teamsters, new health and safety protections such as in-cab air conditioning for larger delivery vehicles, an end to forced overtime on scheduled days off, and the creation of 7,500 new union jobs.

Under the new agreement, full- and part-time UPS workers would receive a $2.75-per-hour wage boost this year and a $7.50-per-hour raise over the course of the contract.

UPS CEO Carol Tomé described the contract agreement as "a win-win-win."

Rank-and-file union members still must approve the deal. If they don't, there will be a strike following the voting period, Teamsters leaders said.

Voting is set to begin on August 3 and end on August 22.

"UPS came dangerously close to putting itself on strike, but we kept firm on our demands," said Teamsters general secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman. "In my more than 40 years in Louisville representing members at Worldport—the largest UPS hub in the country—I have never seen a national contract that levels the playing field for workers so dramatically as this one."

"The agreement puts more money in our members' pockets and establishes a full range of new protections for them on the job," Zuckerman added. "We stayed focused on our members and fought like hell to get everything that full-time and part-time UPS Teamsters deserve."

The tentative bargaining agreement was reached less than a week before the current contract was set to expire.

Last month, 97% of UPS workers represented by the Teamsters voted to authorize a strike if there was no acceptable deal with management by the end of July.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, applauded the Teamsters for "negotiating a strong pro-worker contract with UPS."

"This is what progressive, grassroots union leadership is all about," the senator wrote. "This is a major victory for the American working class. Let's keep going."

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