UPS Contract Ratified

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As anticipated, UPS employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters overwhelmingly approved late last month the new six-year contract negotiated in July.

The agreement, which calls for a 22 percent wage increase over six years, was ratified by better than 70 percent of those voting, the union said. The Teamsters declined to disclose the number of votes received, but a union source put the number at 90,000.

The new contract, which covers 230,000 UPS workers in the United States, is retroactive to Aug. 1. According to the Teamsters, the contract provides the largest wage and benefit increase in UPS history, the creation of 10,000 new jobs and conversion of 10,000 jobs that are now subcontracted, among other provisions.

About 20,000 UPS Teamsters in the Chicago region are not covered by the national contract and still must vote separately on another contract. That deal mirrors the national contract, but those union members traditionally have negotiated separately.

UPS would not comment, though analysts said the agreement likely will force the company to raise delivery rates by larger percentages than after a 1997 Teamsters strike that cost UPS $750 million. The previous five-year deal was valued at $4.2 billion, while this one is valued at $9 billion. UPS traditionally raises its rates at the start of the year.

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