Date: Thursday, July 20, 2023
Source: Wall Street Journal
United Parcel Service and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said they would resume negotiations on a new labor contract next week, the final week before roughly 330,000 workers could go on strike.
If the two sides cannot reach an agreement by midnight July 31, UPS drivers and package sorters will be able to go on strike starting Tuesday, Aug. 1. UPS pilots, who have a different contract, have also pledged to honor the picket line.
UPS said Wednesday it is prepared to increase its pay and benefits to complete a deal. The Teamsters said the company had reached out to resume negotiations. The talks stalled earlier this month.
A major sticking point is pay for part-time workers, which account for roughly half of the Teamsters workers represented by the current negotiations. The Teamsters are seeking starting pay for part-time workers north of $20 an hour.
Currently, the minimum part-time hourly pay starts at $16.20, and could be higher in places where there is more competition for labor. UPS said that union-represented part-time workers make on average $20 an hour after 30 days.
The union says there is high turnover among part-time workers in part because of the low pay, and that the majority of part-timers want to transition to full-time positions. The company said 38,000 part-time employees advanced to full-time positions between 2018 and 2022.
The Teamsters and UPS have already made inroads on other issues, including the company agreeing to eliminate its two-tier system for drivers. The union said this classification had allowed UPS to pay some drivers lower wages.
The parties last month reached an agreement on air conditioning in vehicles, including equipping newly purchased small-package vehicles with cooling capabilities. The union said drivers suffer extreme temperatures and some have succumbed to heat-related injuries during the summer.