Teamsters UPS Union Wins Historic Contract, Likely Avoiding Gigantic Strike

"The overwhelmingly lucrative contract raises wages for all workers, creates more full-time jobs, and includes dozens of workplace protections and improvements."

The Teamsters and UPS have reached a historic contract agreement, likely averting an economically devastating strike of over 340,000 unionized UPS workers, according to an announcement by the Teamsters on Tuesday. 

“We’ve changed the game,” the Teamsters tweeted. The agreement was unanimously endorsed by the union’s negotiating committee but will be voted on by members early next month.


"The overwhelmingly lucrative contract raises wages for all workers, creates more full-time jobs, and includes dozens of workplace protections and improvements," the organization said of the five-year agreement. "Rank-and-file UPS Teamsters sacrificed everything to get this country through a pandemic and enabled UPS to reap record-setting profits. Teamster labor moves America."

The new contract guarantees a $2.75 per hour wage increase this year, and a $7.50 per hour increase over the life of the contract. The new minimum pay for part-time workers will be $21 per hour, effective immediately. The contract will keep UPS Teamsters the highest paid delivery drivers in the United States. The contract also includes guaranteed health and safety promises: “Safety and health protections, including vehicle air conditioning and cargo ventilation. UPS will equip in-cab A/C in all larger delivery vehicles, sprinter vans, and package cars purchased after Jan. 1, 2024. All cars get two fans and air induction vents in the cargo compartments.”

One such agreement guaranteed the installation of air conditioning and improved heat shields in trucks. Motherboard has previously reported on the extreme heat UPS package delivery drivers face in their trucks, recording temperatures of over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which have caused sickness and even death. UPS previously hadn’t included air conditioning in vehicles, claiming it would be “inefficient.” 

The union and the company had also formed a tentative agreement that would eliminate a two-tier wage system known as the “22.4” position, which workers said kept them working overtime hours without the possibility of a promotion to become full-time. 

The contract also bans forced overtime on drivers’ days off and will create at least 7,500 new full-time union jobs.

The contract follows months of negotiation and strike threats. In early July, contract negotiations stalled over issues of pay, benefits, and promotions for part-time workers. Both sides accused each other of walking out of the bargaining session, and no negotiations were held for over two weeks. As Teamsters held practice picket lines across the country throughout July to prepare for a potential strike, UPS began business continuity training with its non-union employees, such as warehouse supervisors, to ensure that it would be able to continue to deliver 20.7 million packages per day in the U.S. 

Twelve days before the contract expired, the Teamsters announced that UPS had “bow[ed] to Teamster pressure” and asked to reopen negotiations after a hiatus of over two weeks.