Teamster employees of UPS Freight approved a new five-year contact Sunday that calls for $2.50 in yearly wage increases, additional pension benefits, and lower health insurance costs.
Nearly 70 percent of Teamsters came out to cast the in-person vote over the weekend, according to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The new master agreement covers 13,000 UPS Freight employees.
“UPS Freight members told us their top concerns were pensions and protecting their work, and this new contract addresses those issues head on,” Ken Hall, the Teamsters’ package division director, said in a statement. “Today’s vote reflects the strength of the new agreement. It’s an industry-leading contract.”
Feedback from individual teamster organizations present a different story. Comments regarding the new agreement on the Teamster’s Facebook page are strike a negative tone. Teamsters for a Democratic Union, an independent group of Teamsters, criticized the contract, saying Sunday “was not a proud day for our Teamsters Union.” It pointed out that local unions in Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Louisville, North Carolina and a handful of other states voted rejected the contract.
Earlier, the Teamsters for a Democratic Union had argued that the UPS Freight deal wasn’t that different from a previous proposal that had been rejected by employees by a 69-percent no vote. Two significant changes from the previous deal included a provision that allowed drivers earning more than a certain wage threshold to keep their enhanced pensions, and a “tweak” to language involving subcontracting, the group said.
The group was hoping for an all-out elimination of subcontracting, an increase in pension benefits for all employees, and wage increases that were similar to those outlined in the last contract. Finally, employees also wanted UPS Freight to pay all their entire health care premiums. According to Teamsters for a Democratic Union, none of these items are in the new contract.
The previous UPS Freight contract expired July 31.