Teamsters Approve UPS Freight Contract, Averting Costly Strike

UPS on Sunday reached an agreement with the Teamsters on its UPS Freight contract, avoiding a costly strike ahead of the critical holiday season.

“It is an agreement that rewards our employees for their contributions to the success of the company, while enabling UPS to remain competitive,” UPS said on its website. “We will resume normal operations and will immediately begin accepting new volume from UPS Freight customers.”

Teamsters approved the contract with 84% of those eligible voting, and 77% of those voting being in favor. The union represents 11,600 UPS Freight employees. A previous contract renewal proposal was voted down by a 62% margin in early October, leading to renewed negotiations.

UPS began contacting customers immediately after the ratification to tell them they can begin picking up freight orders. On Nov. 1, UPS warned customers to consider alternate plans in the event of a strike. It remains to be seen how this has impacted the business as some shippers may have found longer-term solutions. UPS plans to bring back freight workers based on demand from customers.

With the settlement, UPS can now enjoy relative labor peace for the next five years for both its freight and package divisions. The latter contract was ratified even though a majority of Teamsters voting opposed it. Because fewer than 50% of those eligible participated, a two-thirds majority was required to nullify the deal.

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