A tentative contract agreement between UPS and its 340,000-member union may have prevented a strike that might have disrupted nationwide operations for both businesses and families.
The deal was made public on Tuesday, the first day that UPS and the Teamsters had met again since their dispute negotiations broke down earlier this month.
They had been trying to work out the last of the issues in the biggest private-sector contract in North America.
Although they had previously tentatively agreed on a number of topics, the compensation for part-time workers, who make up more than half of the UPS employees covered by the union, remained a point of contention.
The Teamsters referred to the deal as “historic.”
The tentative agreement increases the hourly wages of current full- and part-time union UPS employees by $2.75 in 2023 and by $7.50 over the course of the five-year contract.
The agreement also contains a clause to raise the starting wage for part-time employees, whom the union had cited as being the group in the company’s workforce most susceptible to being taken advantage of.
It stated that the starting wage for part-time employees will be $21 per hour, up from the current $16.20. The company reported that part-timers received an average wage of $20. Sean M. O’Brien, the general president of the Teamsters, claimed that as a result of the negotiations, UPS put $30 billion in fresh money on the table.
In a statement, he added that “this contract raises the bar for all workers” and establishes a new benchmark for the labor movement.
Both parties have previously informally decided to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a full holiday, with mandatory overtime hours terminating on drivers’ off days.
A tentative deal had also been struck on safety-related matters, including the provision of more trucks with air conditioning. Additionally, UPS had promised to turn drivers who work schedules that include weekends into normal full-time employees rather than a lower-paid group.
Additionally, the company will fill 22,500 unfilled positions and add 7,500 full-time roles, which may help more part-timers make the switch to full-time employment.