The union contract for UPS workers is up for renewal, but there has been pushback on the proposed agreement with many drivers asking their co-workers to vote no on it.
UPS worker Bob Deacon says the proposed union contract has low raises, excessive overtime and other things they take issue with. He says it also allows the company to subcontract drivers and pay them less.
“I’ve been here 40 years. I think we’re trying to send a pretty strong message that we’re against this contract and we’d like to see it renegotiated,” Deacon said.
The UPS parking lot in Roanoke is littered with signs against the new contract, urging others to vote NO.
Deacon says this is the most pushback he’s seen since 1997 when there was a strike. When asked if a strike was possible against the current contract, he said anything is possible.
“I hope not. I don’t think UPS wants to suffer that, and I don’t think the employees want to. But if we need to we will. We have before.”
A strike is an inconvenience that people like John Mitchell can’t afford.
“I use it to get parts and materials I need for work. And I travel constantly. So I need to be able send stuff back home to be there when I get home to pick it up from the airport to go back out and do work again,” said Mitchell.
He has a UPS Mail Box he uses for work and his personal life and says if they do go on strike, there’s a good chance they’ll lose a lot of business.
“If it’s too much of a hassle, it’s not that hard to go to Fed Ex. And I don’t know how much of their businesses will go back,” Mitchell said.
Those in support of the new contract say it helps control overtime, has harassment protections and offers new full-time jobs.
Workers have until Friday to vote and the ballots will be tallied that evening.
Representatives from UPS responded with this statement:
UPS is pleased that Teamster leadership throughout the country have approved the small package and freight tentative national agreements. The next step involves a ratification vote by the membership. We believe these contracts meet the needs of our employees and the business. They reward employees for their contribution to UPS’s success through wage increases, benefit improvements and the creation of thousands of new full-time jobs. They also include provisions that give UPS greater flexibility to meet customer needs for expanded weekend residential services, as well as address challenges from competitors.