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Teamsters rally against UPS at Southern California event

O’Brien says union will work seven days a week to get contract

Will the Teamsters keep UPS' operations at bay? (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

The Teamsters union headed into Southern California over the weekend to demand higher wages and better benefits from UPS Inc. The two sides begin negotiations on Monday over a new master contract and spar over how far they’ve gotten in bargaining 40 regional supplemental agreements tied to the master compact.

“There are 12 weeks from Monday until the expiration of the contract. We’ve stated our intentions. Teamsters will not be working beyond the expiration date of that contract unless there is a new contract that our members deserve, endorse, embrace, and vote on. We are prepared to work seven days a week to get it done,” said Sean M. O’Brien, general president of the Teamsters, speaking Saturday in Orange. 

The Teamsters national negotiating committee meets with UPS on Monday in Washington, D.C., to address supplemental negotiations. Last Wednesday, the union demanded that UPS resolve supplemental agreements before a national agreement can be negotiated. 

The Teamsters said that of the 40 supplementals, 30 remain unresolved due to repeated delays by UPS. The company said negotiating national and supplemental contracts at the same time is common. It denied that it is foot-dragging or negotiating in bad faith.

More than 340,000 Teamsters are covered under the master five-year contract, which expires July 31. They are also covered by multiple agreements specific to the regions where they work. The agreements cover provisions like paid time off, seniority, overtime and work hours.

The supplementals are also areas of great contention among members, and with UPS, as they geographically  impact workers’ lives and livelihoods. In past cycles, supplementals were often ratified after the main contract was settled.

The Teamsters’ UPS contract is the largest private sector collective bargaining agreement in North America.  

“UPS told our members they were heroes during the pandemic, that they were essential. The time for talk is over. The time is now for UPS to put pen to paper, negotiate a contract, sign it, and reward our members for the record profits they’ve made for this company,” said Eric Jimenez, secretary-treasurer of Local 952 in Los Angeles.

“UPS got record profits from the pandemic off your backs. This is your fight and you’re going to get what you deserve,” said Victor Mineros, secretary-treasurer of Local 396 in Los Angeles.

“UPS made $13 billion last year. They gave $5 billion of that to line the pockets of top executives and shareholders in stock buybacks. Every UPS Teamster deserves to share in the profits they created,” said Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), who appeared at the event.

The Teamsters are looking to guarantee better pay for all workers, eliminate the two-tier wage 22.4 job classification where junior-seniority full-time workers allegedly have lower status contracts below their work levels. The union also wants more full-time jobs, improved job security, and an end to excessive overtime. Also on the table are safety and health concerns around heat illness and stronger protections against alleged company harassment.


  1. Midwest Teamster

    I voted for OZ, but to have all these folks talking about what sounds identical to profit sharing, but not have it even being an issue on the table is bizarre. Teamsters are not stupid. We don’t need tough talk followed up with proposals that maintain the status quo.

  2. John C Nolan

    The last major stoppage in the early to mid 90’s was truly crippling. Even the mighty USPS was very limited on what they could or wanted to do. It almost created a Postal stoppage. Can you spell Gridlock. The LTL carriers(of which there were many more around in the mid 90’s) had a limited plan that only existed for their current and even prominent customers. They knew what Gridlock looked like and as proactive as they were, service still suffered and terminals became critically congested. The Fed-Ex/RPS startup was just that and they were gridlocked immediately. Even with Fed-Ex now being a viable competitor to UPS, USPS still as messed up and LTL guys are at 50% of the capacity they were in the 90’s, the glut of freight from a shutdown now will be an “event”. I know from my experience; I was shipping 2000 parcels a day and the minute the strike was over I was not looking to craft my own agreement with an unknown provider (Amazon included). I shipped everything with UPS. It will be the same this time. The union has no power. If memory serves,15-20 years ago the union employees of UPS Chicago 710 voted to turn their union retirements over to UPS to manage. That speaks volumes of some of the bargaining units relationships. In my opinion, UPS is almost too big to fail and the Unions know it.

  3. Gianni Pistoressi

    The US post office and Fed-Ex, among others, are salivating just thinking of a strike. Golden opportunities for many if that occurs. Excellent way for a lot of companies to get in the parcel delivery service. They won’t be giants overnight but will get a heck of a start. Teamsters need to look at how many big union carriers endured strikes and ultimately never stayed open. It can and does happen.
    Sabre rattling only worsens negotiations; both sides should refrain from it. Both sides have been married to each other but have too much to lose in a divorce.

  4. Freight Zippy

    If the corrupt Rep Katie Porter is their hope then the teamsters are really in trouble. The union is talking tough, the tougher they talk the more business that transitions away from UPS prior to any contract agreement. Except carriers will demand any new business remain with them for a considerable period of time. No carrier now days is stupid enough to take on a huge amount of business just as a hedge against a potential strike. They do not want to sure their networks to protect UPS or the union.
    Once that business leaves UPS it will be at least months if it ever returns…
    High stakes poker….

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Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.