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UPS contract ‘Town Hall’ signals desperation

By staff

UPS Drivers, of Teamster Local 344, in Oshkosh, WI, hold a parking lot rally

Chicago, IL – Hundreds of thousands of UPS Teamsters received a robocall, July 28, from UPS management announcing a “Town Hall” conference call to sell the tentative five-year agreement by UPS and Teamsters national negotiating committee.

The conference call will take place the evening of July 29, in a last-ditch effort to convince UPS Teamsters to vote in favor of the concessionary agreement.

“Teamsters across the country, from breakrooms, parking lots, and the internet have been rightfully critical of the new tentative agreement for its selling out of future drivers with the new two-tier 22.4 combo driver proposal, along with criticisms of its continuing poverty wages for part-timers and potential worsening of work conditions, job safety and subcontracting,” commented Gage Lacharite, a part-time loader out of Tampa, Teamster Local 79.

A growing movement called UPS Teamsters United has organized nationwide to pass out information, get members to vote the contract proposal down, and send the UPS Teamster negotiating committee back to the bargaining table to come up with an agreement that doesn't include concessions, and which would include contract improvements, like a 9.5 system that works and a serious raise for part-timers.

A two-person meeting will be held between union and management on Aug. 9 to finalize the tentative agreement before members get to vote 'yes' or 'no' on the contract, which is expected to happen mid-August.

The last UPS Teamster contract, over five years ago, passed by a slim 4000 votes, as whole regions of the U.S. continually voted down their local riders and regional supplements. This historic rejection of the contract delayed the passing of the contract for months before the Hoffa/Hall administration changed the Teamsters constitution to undemocratically impose the concessionary contract on its members.

In the last five years, UPS regularly reported quarterly net-profits of over a billion dollars. UPS CEO David Abney more than tripled his wages in that time to $14.6 million. Business is growing for the shipping industry and UPS expects to make even bigger gains in the near future.

“UPS Teamsters, by organizing to reject this concessionary contract and demand improvements, have a historic opportunity, much like 1997, to reverse the decline of working conditions at UPS and put the Teamsters on the offensive,” said part-time steward Dustin Ponder, Teamster Local 512.

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