Our union's mobilization campaign made UPS deliver a historic contract. Now it's time to enforce it.
The year-long Teamster mobilization at UPS included a contract unity pledge, parking lot rallies, a strike authorization vote of 97 percent, and practice picketing. “We showed UPS that we were ready to strike if we had to. That's how we ended a generation of givebacks under Hoffa and put our union back on the offensive against UPS,” said TDU Co-chair and Local 804 shop steward Eugene Braswell.
The contract won record pay increases, ended two-tier 22.4, eliminated forced sixth punches, won thousands of full-time 22.3 jobs, established MLK Day as a paid holiday, boosted substandard pensions for over 60,000 members, stopped driver-facing cameras, tightened restrictions on subcontracting, increased part-time wages, and more.
UPS Teamsters culminated a year-long contract campaign by voting in record turnout to approve their new contract by 86.3 percent.
Now, UPSers are looking to the future from contract enforcement to organizing nonunion competitors like Amazon.
From Givebacks to Contract Gains
What a difference from the last contract. In 2018, the Hoffa administration used an information brownout to keep UPS Teamsters in the dark throughout negotiations.
With the company making record profits, Hoffa surrendered givebacks to UPS, including creating the two-tier 22.4 classification. When the majority of UPS Teamsters voted to reject the contract, the Hoffa administration imposed the givebacks.
That rocky road paved the way to a new day in the Teamsters. TDU joined forces with Sean O’Brien and Fred Zuckerman to oppose the 2018 concessionary contract and elect new Teamster leadership that would stand up to UPS.
The International Union kicked off the biggest contract campaign in Teamster history one year in advance of expiration.
A contract unity pledge issued by the IBT and signed by over 100,000 members laid out our strike issues. The concession stand was closed.
The Role of TDU
With Sean O’Brien and Fred Zuckerman providing new leadership at the top of our union, TDU focused on building our union’s bargaining power from the bottom up by informing and involving the members.
We knew that UPS would be looking over the shoulder of our national negotiating committee to see if members supported our union’s aggressive stance at the bargaining table.
TDU formed the UPS Teamsters United network to fight contract givebacks in 2018. This year, we put that network into action to back our International Union’s contract campaign.
More than 15,000 UPS Teamsters participated in UPS Teamsters United online webinars and in-person workshops and strategy meetings to share skills and make plans for building the contract campaign.
TDU members organized parking lot meetings, rallies, and practice picketing in over 150 UPS locations in 35 states.
With the contract set to expire on August 1, the company knew that UPS Teamsters were united and ready to strike if we had to.
Up Next: Contract Enforcement
UPS management spent the last year trying to stop us from winning this contract. They will spend the next five years violating it.
That’s how this company rolls. We stood up to UPS and won during the contract campaign by informing, involving and mobilizing the members. We will use the same tools to enforce the contract and make UPS pay when they violate our rights.
Contact TDU and UPS Teamsters United to get involved in webinars, workshops, and contract enforcement campaigns.
“We all need to stick together to hold management accountable going forward, however you voted.”
Local 25, Boston
Informing & Involving Members
“During the contract campaign, I used a member chat to update and educate members. Going forward, we will use our chat and hold parking lot meetings to remind members about the new language and how we can enforce the contract together.”
Local 509, Charleston, South Carolina
“We informed and mobilized the members to win a better contract. But it's not worth the paper it's printed on if we don't enforce it. We have to take what we learned from the contract campaign and put it to work enforcing the contract. That's what we're going to do.”
Local 396, Los Angeles
“UPS Teamsters United webinars aren't just great sources of information. We can also use them to get members more involved in the union. During the contract campaign, we sent texts and passed out flyers with QR codes to get people registered. After the webinar, we checked back in to see what everyone thought. It was an easy way to make everyone feel informed and engaged in the union together.”
Local 41, Kansas City
“We held UPS Teamsters United workshops to bring members together to plan contract campaign actions. When peak is over, we'll be working with TDU to organize UPS Teamsters United workshops on enforcing the new contract.”
Local 804, New York