September 23, 2023

Though a number of of the Teamsters’ calls for have been met, the union continues to be pushing to boost wages for part-time staff at UPS, who earn a minimal of solely $16.20 per hour. “These part-timers are working at poverty wages,” Teamsters President Sean O’Brien mentioned.

A whole bunch of hundreds of UPS staff are slated to go on strike beginning Aug. 1 if their union doesn’t come to a contract settlement with the corporate by the top of July.

Negotiations between the transport and logistics firm and The Worldwide Brotherhood of Teamsters, the union representing UPS staff, have been at a standstill for greater than every week with a July 31 deadline looming. 

The Teamsters have been demanding an settlement that “ensures higher pay for all staff, eliminates a two-tier wage system, will increase full-time jobs, resolves security and well being issues, and gives stronger protections in opposition to managerial harassment.”

Thus far, the 2 sides have agreed on quite a lot of gadgets. 

Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, all supply automobiles bought can be geared up with air-con. At the moment, many staff toil away in excessive warmth with out entry to A/C, and a few have even fallen critically sick or died because of this

The 2 sides have additionally agreed to finish the two-tier wage system for drivers who work weekends and earn much less cash. Underneath the present contract, drivers are divided into two separate tiers: full-time, or common package deal automobile drivers (RPCDs), and “22.4” hybrid drivers.

Staff within the RPCD tier work Monday by Friday and make roughly $42 in hourly wages, considerably greater than these within the hybrid tier earn, though additionally they work full-time—together with weekends—and break up their time between deliveries and dealing in firm warehouses.

The Teamsters argued that UPS used this tiered system to get lower-paid, junior staff to conform to ship packages on weekends, thus reducing supply prices. These drivers, the union says, are doing the identical work because the higher-paid drivers who work on weekdays, and may due to this fact obtain the identical pay and advantages. 

Beginning Aug. 1 (or each time the brand new contract finally goes into impact), these hybrid drivers can be thought of RPCDs, moved to full seniority standing, and can see their pay adjusted to an “acceptable RPCD fee,” although the specifics of what that fee can be stay unclear.

Based on Teamsters for a Democratic Union, a nonprofit group that focuses on reforming the union, two-tier wage techniques open the door for employers to drive down union requirements, put targets on the backs of older, higher-paid workers, undermine pensions and well being advantages, create animosity amongst coworkers, and weaken the union as an entire.

The Teamsters and UPS have additionally agreed to determine Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a full vacation for the primary time, and have agreed to finish pressured extra time on drivers’ days off. 

The union continues to be pushing to boost wages for part-time staff at UPS, nevertheless, who earn a minimal of solely $16.20 per hour. 

“These part-timers are working at poverty wages,” Teamsters President Sean O’Brien mentioned on Morning Version. “They should drive the beginning wage fee up, reward the individuals which were there a very long time, and supply full-time alternatives for these of us.”

The corporate touts the truth that supply drivers earn a mean of $95,000 per 12 months in wages, however Teamsters President Sean O’Brien has famous that the $95,000 determine solely applies for drivers working 60 to 65 hours per week.

O’Brien has additionally argued that staff deserve a lower of the corporate’s report earnings of $11.3 billion final 12 months. Transport know-how firm Pitney Bowes additionally discovered that UPS noticed a 5.5% improve in income year-over-year in 2022. 

If the Fortune 500 firm can’t attain a deal that satisfies the union’s requests, the fee to the broader economic system could possibly be important.

Based on an estimate from Michigan financial analysis agency, Anderson Financial Group, a 10-day UPS strike could possibly be the “costliest in U.S. historical past” and price the U.S. economic system $7.1 billion. That determine contains greater than $4.6 billion in losses to customers and companies that depend on UPS, greater than a billion {dollars} in misplaced wages, and $800 million in firm losses.

Competing supply entities comparable to FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service might decide up a few of the slack, however consultants have mentioned “logistics networks are too strained to fill most of the gaps that may be created by a UPS strike.” 

Though the Teamsters union has not commented straight on this newest research, they’ve mentioned prior to now that if a strike happens, it’ll be the fault of the corporate for not agreeing to the union’s financial calls for.

UPS staff voted 97% in favor of strike authorization in June, and as Aug. 1 approaches, either side look like gearing up for staff to stroll off the job. Final week, UPS mentioned it can start to coach its nonunion staff within the U.S. to quickly substitute the hanging staff, if wanted—an act usually generally known as “scabbing” and “strikebreaking.”

O’Brien, in the meantime, mentioned Sunday throughout a webcast with union members that he’s requested the Biden administration to not intervene if staff find yourself happening strike. He’s particularly requested the White Home to not pressure a contract on the union on a number of events.

“My neighborhood the place I grew up in Boston, if two individuals had a disagreement and also you had nothing to do with it – you simply saved strolling,” O’Brien mentioned. “We don’t want anyone getting concerned on this battle.”