UPS Teamster Tyler Binder posted a 12-minute video, “Why the UPS 2018 contract sucks!” on YouTube because he wanted to help his fellow union members evaluate the deal that negotiator Denis Taylor is presenting as the best ever. The tentative agreement that covers 270,000 UPS workers, released July 10, is unpopular among Teamster activists.
Until that date, Teamsters were told next to nothing about what their negotiators were doing at the table. Some Teamsters were even kicked off the bargaining team for allegedly “leaking” union proposals – to the union’s own members. Both the corporation and the union tops are launching all-out campaigns to sell the deal, and using the strike possibility as a threat against members.
The UPS contract appears to be in response to Amazon. According to a 30 year UPS worker “it’s because the United States Post Office and everyone else is delivering packages for Amazon on Saturday and Sunday.” Per a postal service employee, letter carriers make up to $30 an hour while lower-tier carriers – the ones who make Sunday deliveries, at Amazon’s behest – make $16 an hour. Meanwhile Amazon is increasing its own nonunion delivery force. The Amazon delivery vans can be seen throughout all major cities.
The UPS – Teamsters proposal would undercut the full-time drivers who deliver packages by allowing UPS to create a second tier of drivers at a much lower wage. This deal would create new “hybrid drivers,” whose 40 hours a week could be split between delivering packages and working inside a hub. They would work Wednesday through Sunday or Tuesday through Saturday at straight time, without the protection against excessive overtime or the weekend premium pay that full-time drivers get. While full-time drivers make up to $36 an hour, these hybrid drivers doing the same physically taxing job would max out at $30 per hour. UPS would also gain the right to impose a 70 hour work week during the peak holiday season. According to disgruntled Teamsters, their major demands were a $15 starting wage, catch-up raises for people who’ve been underpaid for years, and to create 10,000 new full-time inside jobs by combining 20,000 part-time jobs. Combining 20,000 part-time jobs into 10,000 full-time jobs dramatically increases revenue to the Teamsters’ through union dues.
Teamsters Local 344 that represents 4,000 UPS workers in Wisconsin are recommending a “no” vote on the national deal. It’s the first new UPS contract since Wisconsin’s “right-to-work” law went into effect, which means there’s a risk disgruntled workers will opt out of union membership.
Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.