UPS reaches tentative deal to avoid strike

UPS reached a tentative deal with its Teamsters union on Tuesday, potentially avoiding a strike that could have caused supply chain disruptions across the country. 

The deal is “a win-win-win agreement on the issues that are important to Teamsters leadership, our employees, and to UPS and our customers,” UPS CEO Carol Tomé said in a press release. “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.”

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The five-year agreement between UPS and the Teamsters, which represents 340,000 UPS workers, was the final step in a series of negotiations. The two sides had previously shaken hands on several key issues, but had been holding out over pay for part-time workers, The Associated Press reported. The agreement now awaits ratification by UPS’ union members. 

The new agreement “raises wages for all workers, creates more full-time jobs, and includes dozens of workplace protections and improvements,” the Teamsters said in a statement. If ratified, both full- and part-time union workers will get $7.50 per hour more by the end of the five years. Part-time workers’ starting pay will also be increased to $21 per hour. Full-time drivers will receive an average of $49 per hour, which the Teamsters said will make them “the highest-paid delivery drivers in the nation.”

Teamsters employees were just one week away from a planned strike if no deal occurred. This could have crippled the American parcel industry, as UPS delivers an average of 24.3 million packages per day, according to its company profile. UPS says this is equal to about 6% of the country’s entire gross domestic product. A study from Anderson Economic Group cited by the AP said a strike “could have cost the U.S. economy more than $7 billion.”

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