Teamsters to Focus on Wages in Early Talks With UPS


The Journal of Commerce Online – News Story

     Job security, health care and pensions are also expected to dominate negotiations
     An early start to negotiations with UPS will allow the Teamsters union to focus on discussions over job security, wages, health care and pensions in January, the union said.
Teamsters leaders unanimously agreed earlier this month to begin negotiations on contracts covering approximately 250,00 union members on Sept. 27, roughly 10 months before the current five-year contract expires. The UPS and UPS Freight contract is the largest Teamsters contract and biggest U.S. collective bargaining agreement, said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters general president.
     The UPS contract covers package delivery drivers, loaders and sorters, while the UPS Freight agreement covers drivers, dock workers and clerks.
     “The struggling economy and the company’s recent announcements about record quarterly profits make this good timing to open negotiations,” said Ken Hall, Teamsters general secretary-treasurer. “We want to address operations issues now so we can concentrate next year on other important issues such as wages, health care and pensions.”
UPS profit in the first quarter rose 6.3 percent to $1.6 billion year-over-year, as revenue expanded 4.3 percent to $13.1 billion. The union said it plans to address work preservation related to subcontracting, workload and safety, and health this fall.
     “This progress is the right thing to do for our employees and our customers,” UPS spokesman Norman Black said. “An early start to the negotiations greatly increases the chances of an early finish.”
     Health care is expected to be a dominant negotiation issue, as members face rising costs and the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Health Care for America Act looms, Hall said. He warned members that if Republican Mitt Romney won the presidency, the union would face an attack on “health care plans like we’ve never seen before.”
     “Romney has made it incredibly clear how he feels about labor unions,” Hall said.