When the Teamsters split with the AFL-CIO, Jim Hoffa, general president, vowed to organize UPS Freight. In separate announcements, the Teamsters said they had reached tentative agreements with UPS covering parcel workers and also with UPS Freight's Indianapolis terminal. The Indianapolis contract will serve as a model in organizing the remainder of UPS Freight, say the Teamsters.
In a statement highlighting the UPS Freight contract, Hoffa referred to the long history trying to organize the UPS Freight predecessor Overnite Transportation saying, "A half-century battle is coming to an end, and we have gained strong momentum to organize throughout the freight industry, and FedEx Freight is next."
The Indianapolis contract news was overshadowed by the announcement that UPS and the Teamsters had kept to the Teamster-imposed deadline of October 1st for completion of talks on the contract covering unionized UPS employees. That contract includes wage increases and addresses pension and healthcare issues. Actual terms were not yet public. The contract will be presented to workers for ratification.
As part of the contract, UPS will be able to withdraw employees from the Central States multi-employer pension program after making a pre-tax $6.1 billion payment to the plan and fully funding the new plan.
The current contract between UPS and the Teamsters expires July 31, 2008. The new five-year contract will take effect August 1, 2008. The deadline of October 1st was important, said Hoffa, because of new pension rules that would take effect January 1, 2008 that could have adversely affected workers. The two parties began contract talks roughly a year ahead of the expiration of the current contract in an effort to ensure a speedy conclusion to the talks.
A Teamster contract with less-than-truckload carriers is set to expire at the end of March 2008. Talks have already begun on that contract as well.