Members Urged to Vote Yes
Leaders of Teamster locals that represent UPS and UPS Freight workers across the United States unanimously voted May 7 to endorse the tentative agreements with UPS and UPS Freight for new five-year national contracts. Ballot counting starts on June 20.
General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall, who serves as Co-Chairman of the Teamsters National Negotiating Committee with General President Jim Hoffa, presented the changes contained in the tentative agreements to more than 300 local union leaders.
“Our UPS members made clear they wanted us to protect their health care benefits and address harassment while increasing wages and retirement contributions,” said Hall, who is also Director of the Teamsters Package Division. “This is a strong tentative agreement that achieves all those things and more.”
On the UPS Freight tentative agreement, Hall said members wanted the negotiating committee to take on subcontracting while increasing wages and protecting pensions, which is achieved in the agreement.
“I commend the committee for staying focused and united,” Hoffa said. “Backed by the determination and engagement of our members, the committee kept its mission in sight and remained a force at the bargaining table. These are agreements we can all be proud of.”
“We’re the highest-paid drivers in the industry and this new contract makes sure we stay that way,” said Tim Massey, a UPS Freight road steward with Local 135. “With the raises in the contract, we will continue to far exceed the competition.”
“The Teamsters stood up to UPS when they tried to make us pay health care premiums and we won. This is a good contract,” said Robert Waters, a UPS Teamster with Local 396.
UPS Tentative Agreement
“I feel very confident that when the votes are in, our members will show us that we did exactly what they wanted us to do,” said Ken Wood, International Vice President and President of Local 79 in Tampa, Fla. “This UPS agreement adds more fulltime jobs, protects the work we have and addresses issues like SurePost and 9.5. This is an excellent package.”
Negotiations were contentious, with UPS insisting early on that workers start paying substantial premiums for health care despite earning record profits. That demand became a rallying cry for Teamsters, who mobilized by the thousands and held rallies across the country in protest, sending a formidable, clear message to the company that they would not pay premiums for health insurance.
“I wasn’t surprised when UPS went after our health care because companies everywhere are cutting benefits and making people pay more,” said Ken Williams, a UPS Teamster with Local 79. “We have great benefits. Thanks to the Teamsters we are protecting them without our paychecks taking a hit.”
“Our members were energized and engaged during these negotiations,” said Sean O’Brien, International Vice President and President of Local 25 in Boston. “Because of our members’ support, we were able to negotiate strong language protecting our members from harassment and retaliation for exercising their rights. I’m proud of this strong agreement and I am highly recommending that my members vote yes.”
The tentative agreement moves about 140,000 UPS Teamsters, and all UPS Freight Teamsters, into union-controlled health plans from company plans, effective Jan. 1, 2014, to maintain strong benefits for all UPS Teamsters while growing the funds for Teamsters in all industries into the future.
“We needed to deal with harassment and excessive overtime. That was my big issue and I’m glad the new contract does that. I’m voting yes,” said John Gillis, a UPS Teamster and Local 25 shop steward.
UPS Freight Tentative Agreement
The negotiating committees for both UPS and UPS Freight were at the table at the same time representing the 250,000 Teamsters that work there.
“That’s a lot of bargaining power,” Hoffa said. “We were able to show a united Teamster front and it paid off.”
“Under the UPS Freight tentative agreement, laid-off UPS Freight road drivers will be put back to work, which will address head on the issue of management’s practice of subcontracting out driving duties,” said Brian Buhle, and International Vice President and President of Local 135 in Indianapolis.
Details of the tentative agreements were outlined during the “two-person” meetings, attended by two representatives from each UPS and UPS Freight local. Those specifics have also been posted at www.teamster.org/UPS.
Ballot packages were mailed to all members at the end of May for ratification of the master agreement, and any supplements and riders if applicable. Ballots will start being counted the week of June 17.