UPS promised to move quickly to resolve disputes with Teamsters employees who defeated more than a dozen regional supplements and riders to its national package contract and rejected a tentative contract at less-than-truckload carrier UPS Freight.
The good news for UPS and shipper customers is UPS Teamsters approved the national multi-year master contract covering 235,000 package workers, and no labor disruption is imminent. The bad news is Brown hoped to have new contracts good through 2018 wrapped up and delivered early.
The existing multi-year UPS and UPS Freight contracts expire on July 31, giving the nation’s largest transportation company and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters little more than a month to craft proposals that will pass muster with Teamsters employees. Otherwise, the two sides would have to agree on a contract extension while talks continue.
“It will be ‘business as usual’ while UPS and the IBT resolve remaining issues and Teamster represented employees ratify new agreements,” John McDevitt, UPS senior vice president of human resources and labor relations, said in statement Wednesday.
Package vans will roll, planes will fly and freight will flow, but UPS and union leaders must scramble to address thorny questions regarding health care benefits, full- versus part-time jobs and other issues that led so many rank-and-file union members to vote “no” to so many local supplements. The wide margins by which some big regional supplements were defeated indicate tough talks in the month ahead. Extra negotiating time may be necessary.
UPS Teamsters approved the national package contract by an almost 5,000-vote margin, with 53.5 percent nationwide voting in favor of the tentative contract. Strong support in the South, New England, Atlantic and Northern California helped secure the pact. Opponents of the contract weren’t able to derail the national agreement but they shot down an unprecedented number of regional supplements and riders — as many as 17 — that now must be renegotiated and approved by members before the national contract can take effect.
Opposition to the regional supplements was strong in places such as Louisville, Ky., the site of WorldPort, UPS’s main U.S. air hub, where 89 percent of the members of Local 89 voted no to their proposed “air rider” and 87 percent rejected the national contract. Regional supplements to the national package contract were defeated — often by drubbing margins — in the Southwest, western and central regions, Ohio, New Jersey, Philadelphia, New York City, Upstate New York and Western Pennsylvania.
Teamsters employees at UPS Freight, the $2 billion trucking arm of UPS, rejected a separate proposed contract covering about 10,000 employees in a 4,244-to-1,897 vote. Subcontracting line-haul work to non-union companies and a new proposed line-haul driver employee classfication were major issues.
UPS is the largest Teamsters employer, and largest U.S. transportation company. UPS Freight is the third-largest unionized LTL trucking company, after YRC Worldwide and ABF Freight System, and fourth-largest LTL carrier.