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UPS and Teamsters reach tentative agreement, likely averting strike

UPS, Teamsters tentatively avoid strike
UPS, Teamsters reach tentative deal to avoid strike 02:54

UPS and the Teamsters union have reached a tentative contract on working conditions for the 340,000 unionized employees at the shipping giant, both parties announced Tuesday.

The contract, if ratified, would avert a strike that was shaping up to be the biggest in 60 years.

The Teamsters called the five-year contract "overwhelmingly lucrative," adding that it "raises wages for all workers, creates more full-time jobs, and includes dozens of workplace protections and improvements."

The new contract raises starting pay for part-timers to $21 an hour, up from the current contracted pay of $15.50, and includes catch-up raises for longtime workers. Full-time workers will see their top hourly rate go up to $49 an hour.

"Rank-and-file UPS Teamsters sacrificed everything to get this country through a pandemic and enabled UPS to reap record-setting profits," Teamsters president Sean O'Brien said in a statement. "We demanded the best contract in the history of UPS, and we got it."

The agreement also provides for air conditioning in trucks, paid time off for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and more full-time positions, according to the Teamsters.

"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," UPS chief executive Carol Tomé said in a statement.

Part-time workers' pay has been a major sticking point in the negotiations, with many employees decrying the two-tier wage system in the current contract—which most UPS workers rejected, but which took effect on a technicality. The new Teamsters leadership called it "unfair," and that tiered system will end under the new agreement.

UPS has posted record profits for the last two years, buoyed by a pandemic that transformed how Americans get their goods.

Voting on the contract begins Aug. 3 and ends Aug. 22.

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