July 31, 2008: A tentative agreement has just been reached between Chicago Local 705 and UPS on a new contract covering some 11,000 Chicagoland Teamsters.
The union bargained down to the wire, negotiating to the last day before expiration. Management was forced to start diverting packages away from Chicago, and major shippers were near to canceling shipping contracts.
The union also put nearly 200 deadlocked grievances on the table, to end management stonewalling.
On the last day of negotiations, the company dropped its hard-line approach and agreed to some key union demands.
Details on the tentative agreement are still sketchy. The union reportedly won an extra personal day off each year, and an extra week vacation (8 weeks total) at 30 years seniority. The union also won a large number of new feeder shuttle jobs.
A priority union goal was to win stronger contract language, and Local 705 reportedly won improvements on such issues as seniority and bidding rights, air operation and an improved grievance procedure.
Local 705 retained the right of package car drivers to limit workdays to 9.5 hours, without the language in the national contract that requires a driver to opt in or opt out of excessive overtime protections for five-month periods.
Chicago Local 705 is not party to the national contract and bargains separately. Generally the economic package has been the same, but there are serious differences in contract language.
Local 705 did not settle early when the International Union did but used the contract expiration deadline to maximize their bargaining leverage. Thousands of members wore T-shirts printed with “8-1 We’re Done” and on July 20 over 3,000 members turned out to vote by 93 percent to give the union strike authorization.
One steward told us that the fact that the union put the union and company proposals on the union website helped educate and unite the membership.
We expect the details of the agreement to be available soon. Check www.tdu.org for information.