UPS Contract Update

UPDATED March 28, 2013:  Bargaining has been suspended until April 15, when it is expected to get serious. The International Union announced that harassment and Surepost issues have largely been settled, but UPS and the IBT are “miles apart” on economic issues.

On a national conference call with UPS stewards on March 23, Package Division Director and IBT Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall outlined the union’s economic proposals for the first time, including:

* new full-time 22.3 jobs in each year of a five-year contract

* $1.50 an hour more in each year of the contract to pay for pension and health benefits, up from $1 and hour increases in benefit contribution in the current contract

* annual wage increases of more than $1 for all UPS Teamsters

* An additional wage increase, or “wage bump”, for part-timers to reduce the widening gap between part-time and full-time pay

* Raise starting pay for part-timers to $15 an hour

These are bargaining demands that all UPS Teamsters can unite around. The big turnout at Teamster contract meetings across the country showed that members are ready to fight for a fair contract at UPS. The company is expected to make a push for a quick tentative agreement over the next two weeks after taking its demand that members pay for our healthcare off the table.

Bargaining has been suspended until April 15. We expect that management is likely to take its demand that Teamsters pay for our healthcare off the table, and then the company will try to get a deal done. Members need to be prepared to review the details of any tentative deal carefully. With UPS making record profits and production harassment at an all-time high, this is no time to settle short.

Economics and Healthcare

UPS has put ridiculous economic demands on the table, including: a seven-year agreement, the elimination of all full-time 22.3 jobs as they become vacant, benefit contributions that are too low to maintain Teamster pensions and healthcare benefits, and a $1,000 bonus for full-timers and $500 bonus for part-timers instead of a wage increase in four of the seven years of the contract—with wage increases of 50¢ for full-timers and 25¢ for part-timers in the remaining years.

UPS made almost $4.5 billion in profits last year and this is an extreme and insulting low-ball offer—but remember, it is just an opening proposal. Nothing close to this will be put to the members for a vote.

On healthcare, members and the International Union have drawn a line against UPS’s demand that Teamsters in company plans pay part of their premiums.

An alternative raised by the IBT has been to move Teamsters in company plans into Union plans with UPS making sufficient benefit contributions to maintain benefits without members paying any part of their premiums. But the Union has not made this a formal proposal.

Teamster co-pays on healthcare premiums will not be part of any contract offer. But be on the lookout for cuts in the company healthcare coverage and increases in the cost of retiree healthcare for UPS Teamsters in company plans.

Harassment, 9.5 and Surepost

While Hall described the Union and UPS as “miles apart” on economics, he reported on a series of tentative agreements on harassment and SurePost:

*Harassment: The new contract will include language that allows members from all classifications to file grievances on harassment. Hall provided no additional information on how the language works or what penalties apply other than to say that the Union can take grievances to arbitration.

*9.5: Hall reported the contract will include streamlined 9.5 language that will allow any driver who works more over 9.5 on three days in a week to go to the center manager, get on the 9.5 list and be eligible for triple time penalties the following week. The “streamlined” system Hall described on the call is same as the one in the existing 9.5 guidelines. Members will have to see the tentative agreement to find out what the difference is.

Hall conceded the point Teamsters for a Democratic Union has made many times that getting your load adjusted, not triple time pay, is the real solution to 9.5 violations. He said the new contract will include language that allows drivers who have been paid multiple triple time grievances within a defined time period to have their issue heard above the center manager level.

The most important issue in terms of excessive overtime is the need to make UPS hire more drivers instead of increasing workloads and production harassment. Hall again reported the new contract will include language that will allow Teamsters to file a grievance if UPS “fails to maintain a sufficient workforce” but did not address concerns that the language is too vague to make UPS comply and reduce exploding stop counts and excessive overtime.

The IBT and UPS have not reached agreement on how 9.5 rules will apply to cover drivers.

Dishonesty: There is no agreement on the key issue of technology and UPS using “dishonesty” charges to terminate drivers solely on the basis of information from Telematics, GPS, IVIS and other technology.

Surepost

Hall also reviewed a series of tentative agreements on SurePost including requiring the company to track packages and ensure that all SurePost packages that are over 10 lbs or 3-feet wide be delivered by package car.

Hall said SurePost Redirect has moved 20 percent of all SurePost packages on to package cars for delivery. He did not address the question raised by many members whether this program will lead to more driving jobs or just higher package counts. 

Deal in the Works?

UPS has made no secret it wants an early agreement. The two sides are far apart on economics but that is to be expected given that the company still has a low-ball opening proposal on the table.

The Company is expected to drop many of its concessionary proposals and make a push for an early deal over the next two weeks. UPS Teamsters need to be ready for a tentative agreement to come together quickly.

The Hoffa administration has maintained the darkest Brownout on contract information in more than a decade of contract negotiations with UPS. But UPS Teamsters will have the chance to review all proposed changes in writing before any contract vote.

It will be up to members to review the contract carefully, ask questions and make sure the new language will adequately protect Teamsters

Settling the contract early should not mean settling short.

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