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Settlement at "Big Brown." (United Parcel Service of America Inc.-International Brotherhood of Teamsters contract) (Developments in industrial relations)

Settlement at "Big Brown"

Against the recommendations of their union leaders and predictions of rejection by dissidents within the union, Teamsters rank-and-file union members ratified United Parcel Service of America's (UPS) second "final" contract offer. Teamsters union leaders recommended that the proposal be voted down because of "inadequate" wage increases and the company's insistence on both the use of additional part-time workers and adherence to strict production standards. (UPS is the largest package-shipping company in the United States.)

The accord was seen by some in industry as potentially setting the pattern and the tone for the Teamsters' 1991 master national freight negotiations. The 3-year contract, which covers some 140,000 workers nationwide, boosted hourly wages for full-time workers 50 cents each year, from about $16.10 an hour, on average, to $17.60 an hour over the term of the contract. Part-timers, who currently start at $8-$9 an hour, also received a $1.50 an hour increase over the term of the contract. Full-time workers received a $1,000 ratification bonus, and part-timers received $500. The company's contribution rate for health benefits and pensions was increased each year by 35 cents an hour for each full-time employee (from $8,330, on average, to $10,500 annually over the term of the contract).

Other contract provisions include annual cost-of-living allowances in the second and third years of the contract, equal to 1 cent (capped at 20 cents per hour annually) for each 0.3-point increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers; a sixth week of vacation after 25 years of service; establishment of labor-management committees to study safety and health issues, such as concerns about equipment used by employees and the handling of hazardous materials; maintenance of strict production standards; and the right of management to use additional part-time employees.

"Developments in Industrial Relations" is prepared by Michael H. Cimini of the Division of Developments in Labor-Management Relations, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is largely based on information from secondary sources.
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Author:Cimini, Michael H.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Nov 1, 1990
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