United Parcel Service (UPS) workers—represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters—have announced a “historic” new contract agreement with the delivery giant. The tentative five-year deal, reached just days before the existing contract was set to expire, averts the possibility of a major strike next month.
The Teamsters noted that the agreement won’t be official until some 330,000 rank-and-file members vote on approving it in August. Still, the union hailed the contract, with its negotiating committee unanimously endorsing the terms.
“The union went into this fight committed to winning for our members. We demanded the best contract in the history of UPS, & we got it,” wrote Sean M. O’Brien, president of the Teamsters, in a tweet. “UPS has put $30 billion in new money on the table as a direct result of these negotiations.”
A strike would have had serious implications for the US, given estimates that a 10-day work stoppage would cost the economy more than $7 billion and bring UPS package deliveries to a standstill.
In June, more than 97% of UPS workers voted to authorize a strike, giving the two sides until July 31 to work out a deal. The workers’ main concerns: stagnant wages and chronic understaffing.
Now, according to the Teamsters, the new contract will sharply raise pay for both part-time and full-time employees, boosting the former group’s minimum wage from $16.20 to $21 an hour.
The contract will also reclassify a number of part-time and hybrid workers—who both sort and deliver packages—as full-time employees. Additionally, it will create 7,500 new full-time union positions and mandate air conditioning in all delivery trucks.
24.3 million: Average number of packages delivered worldwide by UPS each day in 2022. That’s 6.2 billion packages for the year.
$100.3 billion: Annual revenue for UPS last year. The company’s fast-growing profit margin was a major part of the union’s demand for higher wages.
330,000: Unionized UPS workers in the US. If the union had voted to strike next week, it would have been one of the largest labor actions in the nation’s history.
#1: UPS’s rank among private delivery services in the US. Globally, the company has a presence in more than 200 countries and employs 534,000 people.