January 30, 2014: While UPS and UPS Freight Teamsters take concessions, the profit haul for the company continues. UPS reported fourth-quarter profits of $1.2 billion and says profits will top $5 billion in 2014.
The media is full of sympathetic stories about how UPS profits are, “falling short of expectations.” And it’s true that UPS’s fourth quarter profits were lower than originally expected because of the much-publicized problems at peak.
But before you pull out a brown hankie and cry for UPS management, consider this. Even when management bungles the most important business time of the year, the company still makes $1.2 billion in profit in just three months. That’s after taxes.
For the year, UPS made $4.5 billion in profits after taxes. And the company announced today that it projects that profits will top $5 billion in 2014.
The company’s freight-forwarding business is down—but not where Teamsters are doing the job. UPS Freight revenues grew to $2.882 billion.
Before contract negotiations began, Ken Hall vowed, “The more they make, the more we take.” Instead, working Teamsters will remember 2013 as the year of contract givebacks and the most miserable peak season ever.
It’s not all bad news. 2013 is also the year that UPS and UPS Freight Teamsters showed we can fight back. Members turned down the national UPS Freight contract and nearly voted down the national UPS agreement while voting down a record number of supplements.
Hoffa and Hall couldn’t even figure out how to use that leverage.
UPS Teamsters in New York Local 804 took a different tack. They said NO to information brownouts and organized a contract campaign. They won a $400 pension increase (including at $25 & Out), 150 new full-time jobs and grievance procedure reform. When members voted down the first offer, the bargaining committee, including rank-and-filers, went back to the table and won additional improvements.
UPS knows how to make profits. We need Teamster leadership that will make UPS deliver for working Teamsters too.