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Teamsters leader Denis Taylor makes big concessions to UPS in possible tentative agreement

By staff |
June 21, 2018
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Jacksonville, FL - At the close of business on Thursday, June 21, International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Package Director Denis Taylor released a statement for Teamsters employed at UPS, claiming that a handshake agreement had been reached with the company. While not all details have been released, some 'highlights' were let out in the form of bullet points.

Teamsters across the U.S. have long been demanding that part-timers, who have long held some of the lowest wages and worst working conditions in the company, get a raise to get them closer to a decent standard of living. From hub to hub, center to center, the message has been clear: $15-an-hour starting wage and catch-up raises for existing part timers who for years have been unable to reach that rate. The new ‘settlement’ will reach far short of that mark, starting at $13 and only getting above $15 a full five years down the road.
"We have rallied, petitioned and shouted down ‘part time poverty’ for years," said Dave Schneider, a steward and part-time employee in Teamsters 512 in Jacksonville, Florida. "I'm not ready to agree to a deal that doesn't start at $15."

Full-time UPS Teamsters, who already suffer long hours of forced overtime and harassment, will also face a challenge. Taylor's agreement also comes with full-fledged two-tier driver language. This new classification means that, while performing the same work several days a week as current drivers, some could be making approximately $4 an hour less. Previous experience over decades of two-tier wage contracts shows that the higher-paid workers tend to be subjected to higher discipline and pressure, while lower-paid workers resent their position. The long term impact often ends in divided unions.

"Opening a two-tier system would begin the death of our good full-time jobs. We want equal pay and equal rights for all drivers. A second class driver position would be abused by UPS and hurt part-timers and full-timers. It's entirely unnecessary and dangerous. The answer is simple: we don't need two-tier, we need more full time jobs," said Gabriella Killpack, a current package car driver in Teamsters Local 222 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Little else in the way of specifics has been brought out, but, if these are the selling points, UPS Teamsters may not be able to expect much more to celebrate.
When the full and final agreement comes out, every UPS Teamster will be able to vote whether or not to accept the proposed deal. In the event of a "no" vote, negotiators will likely simply go back to the table and continue discussions. If negotiators decide they cannot reach an agreement, the Teamsters union has shown itself strong and united, with a 93% approval for a national strike vote that could take place any time after July 31.

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