UPS Freight just avoided a strike of 11,000 drivers — but not all its employees are happy

Chris Hondros/Getty ImagesThe last time UPS saw a work stoppage was in 1997.
  • UPSFreight just narrowly avoided a strike.
  • UPS Freight and Teamsters ratified a five-year work contract for its 11,600 unionized workers. The majority of its workers voted “yes” on the contract after months of negotiating.
  • Last week UPS Freight was preparing for a work stoppage. The last time UPS saw a stoppage was 1997.
  • Still, not all UPS Freight employees are happy.

UPS Freight announced Sunday night that a five-year labour agreement with its employees was ratified. Teamsters represent those 11,600 UPS Freight workers.

“We will resume normal operations and will immediately begin accepting new volume from UPS Freight customers,” UPS said in a statement to Business Insider.

The passing of this agreement avoids a strike that would have halted UPS Freight shipments. The last time UPS saw a work stoppage was in 1997.

According to Teamsters, 84% of UPS Freight workers in the union voted. Seventy-seven per cent voted yes on the contract after months of negotiating.

Most consumers don’t interact with UPS Freight, which moves goods within the supply chain and is separate from the small-package unit that makes deliveries to people’s homes. UPS Freight moved 2.8 billion pounds of goods in the last quarter, FreightWaves reported.

While UPS Freight doesn’t come right to your home, a work stoppage in that division would still up the prices of your holiday goods, we reported last week. Shippers would not be able to deliver goods on time and would have to find pricier, last-minute alternatives in the case of a strike.

Still, not all UPS Freight workers are pleased

UPS Freight workers told Business Insider that the contract didn’t provide enough protection against UPS Freight hiring subcontracted workers, who are not unionized and are typically paid less than full-time employees.

They also said they have noticed their benefits being reduced with each contract, which are negotiated for workers on behalf of Teamsters.

Milwaukee-based Curt Siekert, who has been a UPS Freight driver for 13 years, said he and his coworkers used to receive 401(k) matching, health-insurance coverage during work stoppages, and other stipulations. Now, he said, their labour contracts don’t cover those benefits.

There is also a multitier wage structure in this contract that allows employees to start at a rate that’s close to what more senior employees make. For instance, starting clerical workers are receiving a $US2 raise, while workers who have been with UPS for 36 or 48 months are receiving only a $US0.50 raise.


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“The contract pretty much caters to the new employees,” Tanya Finley, a UPS Freight employee in Orlando, Florida, told Business Insider.

UPS counters that their freight drivers are among the most well paid in the industry. A UPS Freight driver who has been with the company for 48 months earns 72 cents per mile, according to the latest contract. Truckers typically earn between 28 to 40 cents a mile.

“We are pleased that the UPS Freight agreement has been ratified,” UPS said in the emailed statement. “It is an agreement that rewards our employees for their contributions to the success of the company, while enabling UPS to remain competitive.”

Are you a UPS Freight employee with an opinion on the latest work contract? Email the reporter at [email protected].

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