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Teamsters at UPS still angry about contract imposition by Hoffa

By Emily Ropp Butt |
March 19, 2021
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Grand Rapids, MI - Since January, delegate elections have been taking place at UPS as part of the Teamsters union international election cycle. This convention and election cycle are critical because Teamsters members who work at UPS are fired up after the imposition of the previous contract. UPS Teamsters had voted to reject the contract, but were overridden by Teamsters leadership under Hoffa, who used a little-known antiquated rule to override the will of the members.

Chief among the issues is the new two-tier system, known as the 22.4 driver classification. In this new agreement, UPS was allowed to classify one-fifth of the drivers as “combination drivers” who in theory work part-time inside the warehouse and part-time driving - and are paid less. But what happened instead is exactly what reformers and rank-and-file members said would happen. UPS used this new classification as a way to work 20% of their drivers for cheaper wages with no overtime protections, including mandatory six-day work weeks.

This issue has been a particular focus of Teamster presidential candidate Sean O’Brien of the O’Brien/Zuckerman (OZ) slate, who has called it a strike issue. How members have reacted is already being seen in the results of the delegate elections, where OZ-supporting slates have been tremendously successful, a sign of how the international elections will go. While the convention itself can’t do anything directly about the 22.4 issue, it’s possible that the delegates can pass resolutions to take action.

With a likely OZ slate victory looming in the future, the stage is set for the 2023 contract campaign. The 22.4 issue is an extremely charged one and has the potential to build to a strike.

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