Members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters have voted to approve six regional supplements to the national collective bargaining contract with United Parcel Service Inc. that was ratified in June, leaving 11 more supplements that must be approved before the national agreement covering 237,000 workers goes into effect, the union announced Oct. 11.
Union procedures require the approval of all supplements or riders before the national agreement can go into effect.
In votes completed Oct. 11, the supplements for Metro Detroit Local 243, New York Local 804 and the Central Region were approved. Union members also approved the Michigan Rider and the Metro Philadelphia Rider. Members rejected the Philadelphia Local 623 supplement and the Ohio supplement. In August, union members in upstate New York voted to accept the supplement.
After Teamsters members ratified the five-year labor contract but rejected many regional supplements , UPS and the union returned to negotiations on the 17 UPS supplements that had been rejected.
The parties agreed to extend their collective bargaining agreement—as well as all supplements, riders and addenda—past the July 31 expiration while negotiations continue . The contract extension does not have a specific end date, but can be terminated by either side with a 30-day notice.
Contract Retroactive to August
Increases in wages, pensions and health and welfare contributions agreed upon in the new national master agreement will be retroactive to Aug. 1, 2013, but will not take effect until the supplements agreements have been reached and members vote to ratify them.
Commenting on the supplement renegotiations and re-votes, a UPS spokesman Oct. 11 told Bloomberg BNA, “We continue to make progress and will continue to work with the Teamsters to finalize the remaining contracts.”
IBT spokeswoman Leigh Strope told Bloomberg BNA the union is listening to members' concerns, but the process is lengthy. The union has not announced dates for the next votes. She said members “recognize it's a strong contract with wage increases, excellent health care at a very low cost and job security.”
Strope said the supplements address items such as local work rules, grievance issues and seniority.
Supplement Votes Used to Protest Health Care Benefits
Ken Paff, organizer for the dissident group Teamsters for a Democratic Union, predicted that all the supplements will not be approved by the end of 2013, so the new contract will not go into effect by the busy holiday season.
Paff told Bloomberg BNA that health care benefits are at the heart of members' votes against the supplements.
A change in health plans that would affect some regions less favorably than others was a factor in union members' rejection of 17 supplements, he said. Discontent about health care benefits is particularly acute at the Louisville hub, in New Jersey, western Pennsylvania, Las Vegas and Phoenix, he said.
Votes against the supplements are a form of protest against the changes that locals use as leverage to gain health care benefits more favorable for workers, he said.
“When so many people reject supplements, something happens,” Paff said Oct. 11.
A “Vote No” movement within the Teamsters wants employee health care costs to be lowered. Members also object to a contract clause that calls for firing under the umbrella term “all other serious offenses.”