The Teamsters union announced Tuesday that UPS workers overwhelmingly voted to ratify a new labor contract, officially ending the risk of an economically harmful strike.
Workers voted by an overwhelming 86.3 percent in favor of the five-year contract, which was agreed between UPS and Teamsters representatives following hard-fought negotiations that had raised the possibility of a crippling strike involving 340,000 workers.
The new contract includes hefty wage increases for full- and part-time employees; the end of a so-called “two-tier” employee classification system that disadvantaged junior employees; the installation of cooling systems in UPS vehicles; and an end to required overtime work on an employee’s scheduled day off.
The contract has been hailed as a victory for organized labor by President Joe Biden and progressives like Senator Bernie Sanders at a time when Hollywood remains largely shut down due to writer and actor strikes.
The auto industry is also poised for potential strikes this fall as the United Auto Workers seek generous pay hikes and other benefits.
The Teamsters statement alluded to this activism as #HotLaborSummer in a social media post that noted that the contract won the highest percentage of support in the history of the Teamsters at UPS.
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“Teamsters have set a new standard and raised the bar for pay, benefits, and working conditions in the package delivery industry,” said Teamsters President Sean O’Brien. “This is the template for how workers should be paid and protected nationwide, and nonunion companies like Amazon better pay attention.”
UPS executives have also championed the deal, describing the certainty of the agreement as a key element of long-term profitable growth.
“We believe this contract is a win, win, win,” UPS Chief Executive Carol Tome said earlier this month on a conference call with analysts. “We have the best people and our new contract continues to reward our employees with the best pay and benefits in our industry.”