UPS and the Teamsters union reached an agreement on Tuesday, averting a national strike just six days before it was slated to begin.
The new five-year contract covers 340,000 workers at the nation’s largest package carrier, and includes what the union has dubbed “historic” wage increases.
“UPS has put $30 billion in new money on the table as a direct result of these negotiations,” Teamsters President Sean O’Brien said in a statement Tuesday. “This contract sets a new standard in the labor movement and raises the bar for all workers.”
UPS Averts Strike
Current full- and part-time union workers are guaranteed a pay increase of $2.75 this year, the Teamsters said, amounting to a $7.50 hourly increase throughout the five-year period. The wages of starting and part-time workers will also immediately be raised to at least $21 per hour, increasing to $23 per hour over the course of the contract.
The Teamsters and UPS had already come to agreements on 55 "non-economic issues", including an agreement to add air conditioning to UPS trucks. Norbert Rodriguez, a veteran UPS package car driver who participated in the last Teamsters strike in 1997, said that "the biggest win is finally getting the air conditioned car," especially amidst historic heat waves.
“I work in Arizona. Today is gonna be 114 degrees,” he told NBC. “These conditions are getting tougher and tougher.”
UPS CEO Carol Tomé said in a statement that the deal “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.”
“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," she said.
A UPS driver strike would have been the largest single-employer strike in United States history. The Anderson Economic Group estimated that a 10-day walkout would cost the nation's economy approximately $7 billion. Workers would have experienced $1.1 billion in lost wages.