Local Teamsters union urges UPS workers to decline new contract

WDRB News
June 05, 2013

 

 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville's largest employer could face a standoff with its workers.

Teamsters Local 89 is going against its national negotiators and telling UPS workers to vote "no" on a new union contract.

As the shift changes at UPS Worldport in Louisville, Dane Smith heads in with one thing in the back of his mind.

"Right now, we are very frustrated and very angry and we have worked very hard for this company, and we're asking the company to work hard for us," Smith said.

Teamsters from across the country are voting on a new five-year contract with UPS -- and Louisville's chapter is the biggest and the first to publicly say "no deal."

"We think it's a terrible contract," said Fred Zuckerman, president of Teamsters Local 89. "This company is doing very well...we were told there would not be any concessions, and it is laced with concessions."

WDRB has obtained the offer. It includes boosts in pension and pay raises of 70 cents to $1.50 per hour for part-time and full-time workers.

"It is a good deal, and we hope our employees take the time to read the factual material they've been sent and make an informed decision," said Mike Mangeot, a UPS spokesman.

Union leaders say raises will not offset a change in healthcare as the company moves to a different plan.

"As a result of that, our members will see reduced benefits and higher out-of-pocket costs, and we don't think that's fair," Zuckerman said.

"We believe that on balance, the [health care] package is very fair, and it will be good for our employees," Mangeot said.

Roughly 8,800 UPS Worldport workers -- including package handlers, loaders and drivers -- are casting their votes. It is UPS' largest operation in the world, so each ballot really matters.

Teamsters 89 of Louisville is rallying against the recommendation of its international leadership, who is encouraging UPS workers to say "yes."

Smith doesn't know which way the final vote will go, though he says he knows what's at stake.

"For me specifically, it means the ability to take care of my family," he said. "I got an 11-month-old child at home, and one on the way."

Full-timers and part-timers both receive health benefits at UPS, so both have vested interests in the new contract. A "yes" vote comes with a $1,000 bonus for Worldport workers.

The current contract expires July 31. Ballots can be cast through June 22.


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