By Lisa Baertlein
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -United Parcel Service delivered a revised contract offer with “significant movement on wages and other economic language,” the union representing roughly 340,000 U.S. drivers, package handlers and loaders at the global delivery firm said on Friday.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters union said UPS has requested more time to negotiate and pledged to reach a deal no later than July 5.
While the company has sweetened its latest offer, Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien said: “It isn’t enough.”
UPS said in a statement: “We look forward to the union’s input so we can reach a timely agreement and provide certainty for our employees, our customers and the U.S. economy.”
Earlier this week, the Teamsters union demanded that UPS make its “last, best, and final offer no later than June 30.” The contract covering U.S. UPS workers expires at midnight on July 31. Both union and company officials say they want to have a deal in place before that happens.
The question now is whether a UPS offer satisfies the Teamsters and whether the union will have enough time to ratify the deal and prevent a strike, said Trevor Outman, founder of Shipware, a shipping invoice auditing firm.
“It’s a game of chicken,” Outman said.
Meanwhile, UPS Teamsters are “practice picketing” across the country to keep pressure on the company, union officials said. They reiterated their vow to strike if a deal is not finalized by Aug. 1.
UPS employees are the latest unionized “essential workers” to come to the bargaining table after keeping goods flowing while schools and businesses closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They have been pushing for a bigger share of the outsized pandemic profits reaped by their employers – and winning significant raises.
In the latest tentative deal, U.S. West Coast seaport workers won a 32% pay raise over the six years of their new contract plus a “hero bonus.”
UPS booked operating profit of $13.1 billion last year and union officials say it can afford to better compensate workers.
For example, UPS returned $8.6 billion to stockholders in 2022, a 119% increase above 2021. That included $5.1 billion in dividends and $3.5 billion in share buybacks, according to a regulatory filing in March. The company plans to make about $3 billion in share repurchases again this year.
(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los AngelesEditing by Matthew Lewis)