Searches for UPS Jobs Soar Following Union Deal

Potential $170,000 Annual Package After Five Years Attracts Driver Interest
UPS driver unloading packages
A UPS driver unloads packages in San Francisco July 25. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News)

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UPS Inc. has become a hot employer since its union last month secured $30 billion in new money over a five-year contract.

Online jobs board Indeed Inc. saw a more than 50% increase in searches with “UPS” or “United Parcel Service” in the job title the week after the deal announcement, according to data shared with Bloomberg News. The trend doesn’t appear to be industrywide, as searches for “delivery driver” didn’t see similar spikes. “UPS driver jobs near me” has also been a top trending search on Google in the two weeks since the deal was reached.

“We have seen strong interest in UPS jobs as a result of media coverage of the tentative agreement with the Teamsters,” Jim Mayer, a spokesperson at UPS, told Bloomberg News in an emailed statement.

To head off a potential strike, on July 25 UPS agreed to boost starting wages for part-time workers to $21 an hour and improve working conditions, including adding air conditioning in new vehicles.

The tentative agreement has yet to be accepted by union members. The results of the ongoing ratification vote will be announced Aug. 22.

The news might not be as moving for shareholders. On Aug. 8, UPS lowered its full-year profit forecast, in part due to rising costs after the tentative labor agreement. UPS said the guidance change was “primarily to reflect the volume impact from labor negotiations and the costs associated with the tentative agreement.”

UPS shared some details of the new labor contract on its earnings call. Full-time drivers will make around $170,000 in annual pay and benefits by the end of the five-year contract. Part-time union employees will earn at least $25.75 per hour and receive full health care and pension benefits.

This all stands far above industry standards, but the path to a coveted driving position takes some time to get there.

To become a driver, an employee first has to work “inside the building” as a package loader. These jobs pay less and are mostly part time since UPS has two package sorting rotations a day and the hub is mostly shut down in between those. They do, however get the same benefits as other UPS workers. In a way, workers have to prove themselves before they can slip into the diver’s seat — which often takes several years.

Even once a driver, the company starts workers at the lowest level and the least desirable days and hours. The route will most likely involve toting heavier packages and making many stops. It will, however, pay significantly better than its contractor counterparts at FedEx Ground or Amazon — neither of which are unionized.

The company is most likely not going to hire en masse right now. UPS volumes have been dropping for several quarters as pandemic demand wanes. But during peak seasons, the company boasts adding as many as 100,000 temporary workers.

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

— With assistance from Thomas Black.

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