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July 12, 2018 5:00 PM, EDT

Proposed UPS-Teamsters Pact Reveals Expanded Driver Operations

UPS trucks in New York City Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Details of a tentative new labor deal between UPS Inc. and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters have begun to emerge, including specifics on expansion of the parcel carrier’s team-driving operations and pay increases for its drivers.

The company confirmed that it will create a minimum of 2,000 sleeper-team truck driving crews by transferring freight from railroads to tractor-trailers. This will double UPS’ sleeper-team operation, and the driving jobs will be among the company’s highest paid, reaching 96 cents per mile in 2022 for three-driver trucks.

“UPS’ objective is to reward our employees for their contribution to our success, provide flexibility to keep our company strong, and meet the needs of our customers and other stakeholders,” the company said in a statement provided to Transport Topics.

Teamsters logo

For current drivers, the new contract calls for a $4.15-per-hour raise over the life of the agreement, according to Denis Taylor, co-chairman of the Teamsters National UPS Negotiating Committee, who spoke with reporters on a conference call July 9. That eventually would bring a driver’s base salary up to more than $83,000 a year. “We believe this resolves a number of issues for our membership,” Taylor said, adding the contract is “extremely rich in value for our members.”

The union said full-time UPS drivers now earn on average nearly $75,000 a year, or $36 an hour.

The current labor contract between UPS and the union is due to expire July 31. The two sides on June 22 reached a tentative contract covering an estimated 250,000 workers, including drivers, loaders, package sorters, dockworkers and operations team members. Currently, 38 supplemental accords with local unions across the country are being negotiated, a process that could take between 45 and 60 days, union leaders said.

If the new labor agreement is ratified by the members, the pay raises will be retroactive to Aug. 1, but other items will take effect after the vote.

“We are confident in our ability to resolve remaining issues, building on the progress we have achieved with current tentative national and local agreements,” UPS said in its statement.

The agreement also creates a new class of “hybrid drivers” who work weekdays and weekends, but who whose pay would top out after five years at $34.79 an hour, or more than $72,000 a year. Adding these drivers addresses union concerns about overtime in the event UPS adds Sunday delivery to its current Monday-to-Saturday schedule. The carrier added Saturday service more than a year ago.

Negotiations continue for another 11,000 UPS Freight workers who are represented under a different contract. Economic and subcontracting issues are the main focus there.

UPS ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.