Teamsters Local 89 considers strike at UPS Worldport

Gil Corsey
WDRB
June 26, 2013

Tense negotiations between UPS and workers from the local Teamsters 89 have gone from bad to worse, with Teamsters Local 89 workers saying they are considering a strike.

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"That's the only leverage we have in our business," said Teamsters Local 89 President Fred Zuckerman. We would rather sit down and negotiate a fair contract. They're not willing to do it at this point and if that's what it takes to get a fair contract, then we are absolutely considering it, yes."

Three deals were on the table for the 8,800 Louisville employees of UPS Worldport -- a national contract, a central region contract, and an air supplement.

It's part of a national negotiation, and while tallies have not been finalized in D.C., Zuckerman says 89% of Worldport voters rejected the latter two offers.

Among the chief concerns are increases in insurance premiums, not enough pay raises, and the progression from part-time to full-time employment at Worldport.

"Currently we only have about less than 800 full time jobs out of the 8,800 workers we have out there," explained Zuckerman. "So it takes quite some time for a part-time person to become full-time. Right now it's at 17 years seniority."

UPS representatives declined to comment on the matter, saying they haven't heard from Teamsters International leadership.

Earlier this month the company celebrated the offer, which included bonuses, pay and pension increases.  "It is a good deal and we hope our employees take the time to read the material that they've been sent," said UPS Spokesman Mike Mangeot.

Now it's back to the drawing board on a negotiation settlement. 

"Ball's in their court, we're waiting on them," said Zuckerman. "If we don't get the things we want in Louisville we will continue to reject the contract. It's just that simple."

Evan Aldrige, a part-timer for 13 years, is hoping it doesn't go that far again, but he is prepared to walk the picket line. 

"That is something I've been thinking about for the entire time because like I said, I'm getting married next month," said Aldrige.  "And the way that the contract ends on July 31st, that would be something I'm worried about, but I'm not going to settle."

The last union strike in 1997 virtually shut down the UPS operation.

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