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Louisville leaders praise tentative contract deal between UPS and Teamsters

A sign marks the entrance to UPS Worldport, the company's largest air hub in the United States, located at the Louisville airport.
Danielle Kaye
/
LPM
A sign marks the entrance to UPS Worldport, the company's largest air hub in the United States, located at the Louisville airport.

The United Parcel Service and Teamsters union announced Tuesday that negotiators struck a new five-year deal affecting about 340,000 full- and part-time workers, including at least 12,000 Louisville-area employees.

The two sides agreed last week to return to the negotiating table on Tuesday to hash out their National Master Agreement, following a breakdown in talks earlier this month.

Teamsters workers at UPS across the country, including in Louisville, were prepared to strike beginning August 1 if negotiators didn’t secure a tentative agreement by the time their current contract expired on July 31.

The union said in a press release Tuesday that its employees would vote on whether to ratify the agreement from Aug. 3-22. If workers reject the deal, they’ll strike.

Teamsters calls the contract the largest private-sector collective bargaining agreement in North America.

“The overwhelmingly lucrative contract raises wages for all workers, creates more full-time jobs, and includes dozens of workplace protections and improvements,” the union said.

According to the union, the new contract immediately raises part-time workers’ pay to at least $21 per hour and increases all existing employees’ pay by $7.50 an hour once the contract ends in 2028.

Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien said last week that the union was pushing to increase part-time pay.

Negotiators previously agreed to changes such as adding air conditioning to new delivery trucks and eliminating what the union called a “two-tier wage system” in the new contract, but couldn’t reach a full contract agreement.

In a statement Tuesday, UPS chief executive officer Carol Tomé called the deal a “win-win-win agreement.”

“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,” Tomé said.

The tentative national agreement affects at least 12,000 Louisville-area UPS workers organized with Teamsters Local 89. Many of them staff the UPS Worldport and are also covered by a regional contract and specific Air Rider contract.

Stephen Piercey, Local 89’s communications director, said in a text Tuesday he was unable to provide specific details about the upcoming voting process, and that it would be controlled by the national union.

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg posted his support of the tentative contract agreement on social media Tuesday.

Tim Morris is the executive director of the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council, a coalition of local unions that collaborate to publicly support each other. He said while he doesn’t have private details of the UPS-Teamsters agreement, he believes the negotiations benefited workers.

“This contract clearly has strong gains for the members, not only across the country, but right here locally in the greater Louisville area. Each of the UPS Teamsters [is] going to have a better contract,” Morris said.

He said he believes the agreement can inspire others from different companies and industries to negotiate and secure their own workplace changes.

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Jacob is LPM's Business and Development Reporter. Email Jacob at jmunoz@lpm.org.

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