Will UPS Go On Strike?
More recent labor talks have involved "economic" matters including pensions, health care and wages.
What does UPS want? Again, UPS has a long-standing policy of not negotiating union agreements through the media. Therefore, while UPS is publicly short on describing substantive issues, it's repeatedly stated that it simply wants a good contract that rewards its employees while allowing UPS to be flexible and competitive in the marketplace.
Both sides remain far apart on health insurance. In recent bargaining sessions, UPS gave Teamster negotiators a presentation supporting its position that workers should share some of the burden of escalating health care costs. While IBT officials committed to working hard to identify creative solutions, Ken Hall, IBTs’ general secretary, treasurer and package division director, drew a line in the sand by declaring his goal that "Teamsters at UPS (and UPS Freight) don't pay a cent towards their health insurance."
IBT also proposed significant wage and pension increases, in particular to starting wages for part-time workers. According to a document posted on its website, Teamsters for a Democratic Union, the starting wage for all UPS part-timers, other than sorters and pre-loaders, has been frozen at $8.50/hour since 1987.
However, it's unlikely that much progress can be made on wages and other economic proposals until both sides have come to terms on health care.
While both sides have stated the goal of reaching a tentative agreement by the end of March, the debate on health care costs has proved more complex than initially believed, slowing progress. Negotiations are reportedly scheduled through this week, but are likely to break off before resuming at some point in April.
Once a handshake agreement has been reached, IBT and UPS will make a public announcement. IBT will then send the contract to UPS Teamster-represented employees for approval and ratification, which can take several weeks.
Rob Martinez is the CEO of Shipware LLC, a professional services firm that transforms businesses through intelligent distribution solutions and strategies. Rob has helped some of the world’s most recognizable brands reduce parcel shipping costs an average of 25 percent through contract negotiations, rate benchmarking, modal optimization, invoice audit and other savings vehicles. A cum laude graduate of UCLA, Rob has 20 years of transportation industry experience, including executive positions at DHL and Stamps.com, in addition to his work as an outside consultant since 2001.