BNA Daily Labor Report: UPS Freight Contract Approved

August 19, 2008: Members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Aug. 16-17 voted to ratify a first contract with UPS Freight covering about 1,000 truck drivers and dockworkers at 50 terminals nationwide, the union announced Aug. 18.

About 94 percent of the members who voted approved the contract, which contains wage and benefit terms nearly identical to those of a 64-month national UPS Freight agreement reached in March to cover an estimated 9,900 drivers and dockworkers at 136 terminals (67 DLR A-12, 4/8/08), the Teamsters said.

With this new group of UPS Freight workers covered under nearly the same contract, Teamsters are working closer to gaining contracts for all UPS Freight workers. IBT has organized more than 10,000 UPS Freight workers at terminals nationwide since January. The new contract will share an expiration date with the contract reached in March.

IBT was certified as the representative of the employees covered under the new contract after the larger March ratification vote took place, Bret Caldwell, IBT director of communications, told BNA.

"We welcome these UPS Freight workers to the Teamsters and we are proud to have negotiated for them a terrific contract," Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said Aug. 18 in a statement.

"The company certainly is pleased that a handshake agreement has been ratified. We have felt all along that the Teamsters and UPS negotiated a contract that is good for employees and one that is competitive for the company," Norman Black, UPS director of media relations, told BNA Aug. 18.

Twice Annual Wage Increases

The contract provides for a general wage increase of $4.35 per hour over a nearly five-year term for full-time truck drivers and dockworkers, while maintaining previous health care benefits at no increased cost to employees.

UPS Freight "city drivers" earned about $21 per hour prior to the agreement. Under the contract, the city drivers will receive wage increases of about 35 cents per hour in 2008, 70 cents per hour in 2009, 75 cents per hour in 2010, 80 cents per hour in 2011, 85 cents per hour in 2012, and 90 cents per hour in 2013.

In each year of the contract, except 2008, annual increases would go into effect in two intervals. One half of the annual increase will go into effect on Jan. 1, with the second half of the increase going into effect on July 1, according to the agreement. The 2008 increase of 35 cents per hour is payable July 1.

Similar wage increases will be provided to dockworkers employed on the terminal site, and to "road drivers" involved in the long-haul transport of freight, the union said. The wage rate of a full-time dockworker, for example, will rise from the previous $21.22 per hour to $25.10 per hour, or by $3.78 per hour, over the life of the contract.

Road drivers will receive a mileage rate increase of 11 cents per mile over the life of the contract, an amount intended to provide an equivalent income to the hourly wage increase that will be received by the road drivers, the union said.

Stable Health Care Premium Contributions

Workers will receive health care coverage under the new United Parcel Service Health & Welfare Package Select, the company's self-insured plan with benefits similar, or better than, benefits provided under the previous health care plan, according to the union.

For the life of the contract, workers will contribute a fixed amount monthly to the cost of the health care premiums at $50 for single coverage, $100 for couples coverage, and $150 for family coverage. Retirees who will receive health benefits under the plan will pay $250 per month for individual coverage and $500 per month for couples coverage.

Similarly, UPS Freight employees represented by IBT will be covered by a company-managed pension plan, known as UPS Pension Plan. The benefits are similar to those that were offered under the previous plan, and no contributions from the employees for the plan are required.

Fast-Paced Organizing Through Card Check Agreement

UPS Freight, formerly known as Overnite Transportation, is a subsidiary of United Parcel Service Inc. The Teamsters and UPS reached a card-check agreement for those workers in December 2007, and the union launched a nationwide organizing campaign in January. Under the agreement, bargaining units are recognized by the company once union organizers have collected authorization cards from more than 50 percent of employees in the bargaining unit, and after an independent arbitrator has certified the validity of the authorization cards.

Of some 15,000 UPS Freight workers, 12,600 are eligible to sign authorization cards, according to IBT. Teamsters now represents more than 11,600 of those workers, the union said.

The 50 terminals are in 23 states: Alabama, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The contract expires July 31, 2013.

By Susan R. Hobbs

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