Driver Dan Partyka delivers an overnight package last year. As more people buy more goods online, the rapid and unrelenting expansion of e-commerce is causing real challenges for UPS. It costs more to deliver items to individual doorsteps instead of delivering a whole pallet full of goods to stores. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

UPS, Teamsters reach tentative labor agreement

UPS and the Teamsters union have reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year labor deal, which if approved could alleviate the risk of a strike.

The settlement in principle of the national master UPS agreement is subject to approval by UPS local unions. Yet to be resolved are supplemental agreements, according to the Teamsters. The final deal and supplemental agreements will be put to a vote by members.

The massive collective bargaining agreements at issue cover roughly 260,000 workers at UPS, including drivers, package sorters and loaders, operations and dock workers.

Negotiations are also continuing on a labor contract for about 11,000 UPS Freight workers, with negotiations scheduled for July 9-12.

In a statement on the new agreement, UPS said the deal rewards employees while enabling the business to remain flexible. “UPS is well-positioned to grow and meet the needs of its customers,” the company said.

The current contracts run through July 31, and the new agreements will take effect Aug. 1 if ratified by union members. Earlier this month before the deal was reached, the union announced the results of a vote to authorize a strike if necessary, a negotiating tactic to ratchet up pressure during negotiations.

The Teamsters said the agreement reached includes improvements for full-time and part-time workers’ pay, more full-time opportunities for part-time workers, and some increases in the company’s contributions to benefit funds including pensions.

The deal also creates a new classification of drivers aimed at addressing concerns of workers handling weekend deliveries by UPS.

The Teamsters union has come under pressure from dissident groups of members challenging deals reached by the union.

“I realize that the membership is anxious to see the improvements,” said Teamsters UPS National Negotiating committee co-chairman Denis Taylor in a written statement to members, “but as I explained at the beginning of this process, the specifics must be held until the Supplements have been settled and the entire proposed contract has been reviewed” by UPS local unions.

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