The Teamsters union announced Oct. 5 that a new five-year nationwide contract at UPS has been ratified covering 243,000 drivers, sorters and others — despite the fact that the agreement was rejected by a majority of the 92,604 members who voted on it.
Teamsters at UPS voted by 54.2 percent to reject the company’s offer, but only 44 percent of the unit’s 209,043 union members cast ballots. Under a provision in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters constitution, it takes a two-thirds majority to reject a contract if less than a majority of bargaining unit members cast a vote.
“Not enough members covered by the National Master UPS Agreement exercised their right to vote,” the union explained in a statement.
The new agreement raises wages $4.15 over five years, and increases starting wages for part-time workers from $10 to $13 an hour. But it also sets up a two-tier system in which a new classification of lower-paid full-time drivers would do weekend deliveries. Currently full time drivers earn over $36 an hour, and earn double time for Sunday work. The new classification of drivers would start at $20.50 and reach $34.79 by Aug. 1, 2022.
The Teamsters UPS contract is the largest collective bargaining agreement in North America, and comes at a time that UPS is booming thanks to online shopping. Last year, the company had $5 billion profit, and paid its CEO $14.6 million in total compensation.
UPS workers in June voted by more than a 90 percent margin to give the union leaders authority to call a strike after the contract expired July 31. But the union and UPS continued to negotiate under a 60-day contract extension. The first set of wage increases will be paid retroactively to Aug. 1.
The new agreement runs through July 31, 2023.