UPS workers overwhelmingly approve 5-year contract, end strike threat

UPS Teamster rank-and-file members have voted overwhelmingly to approve a new five-year contract, which includes large raises and workplace protections, to avert a strike. File Photo by Billie Jean Shaw/UPI

Aug. 22 (UPI) -- UPS drivers and package sorters overwhelmingly approved a new five-year contract on Tuesday, averting a strike that threatened to put the brakes on deliveries.

The 340,000 Teamster rank-and-file members, who started voted electronically Aug. 3, approved the deal by 86.3%. It is the largest margin ever for a contract at UPS, the union announced Tuesday.

The new contract secures large raises for full- and part-time workers, creates more full-time jobs, hires 30,000 new drivers and adds workplace protections, including air conditioning in delivery trucks.

Existing part-time workers will make a minimum of $21 an hour, while full-time workers will average $49 an hour. The contract also puts an end to mandatory overtime on drivers' days off.

"Our Teamsters-represented employees have voted to overwhelmingly ratify a new five-year National Master Agreement that covers more than 300,000 full-and part-time UPS employees in the U.S.," UPS announced Tuesday in a post on X.

Teamsters General President Sean O'Brien also celebrated the vote, as he warned other companies -- including Amazon -- to take note.

"Our members just ratified the most lucrative agreement the Teamsters have ever negotiated at UPS. This contract will improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers," O'Brien said in a statement Tuesday.

"Teamsters have set a new standard and raised the bar for pay, benefits and working conditions in the package delivery industry. This is the template for how workers should be paid and protected nationwide, and nonunion companies like Amazon better pay attention," O'Brien added.

The tentative deal between the Teamsters and UPS was reached last month, just days before their contract was set to expire on July 31.

"Together we reached a win-win-win agreement on the issues that are important to Teamsters leadership, our employees and to UPS and our customers," Carol Tomé, UPS chief executive officer, said in a statement last month.

"This agreement continues to reward UPS's full- and part-time employees with industry-leading pay and benefits while retaining the flexibility we need to stay competitive, serve our customers and keep our business strong."

O'Brien called the contract "historic" and commended UPS workers who sacrificed during the COVID-19 pandemic to deliver goods while most of the country was sheltered in place.

While Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman called the deal "the richest national contract I've seen in my more than 40 years of representing Teamsters at UPS," he warned the fight is not over.

"There are more gains in this contract than in any other UPS agreement and with no givebacks to the company," Zuckerman said.

"But the hard work doesn't end here. We will continue to fight like hell to enforce this contract and make sure UPS lives up to every word of it over the next five years."