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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, July 16, 2002

UPS, Teamsters reach agreement, avoid strike

By Mary Schlangenstein
Bloomberg News Service

UPS courier Raymond Jones delivers packages in Atlanta, Ga., after UPS and the Teamsters reached a tentative contract accord.

Bloomberg News Service

WASHINGTON — United Parcel Service Inc. and the Teamsters reached a tentative agreement to raise wages and benefits for 210,000 truck drivers and other workers and avoid a strike at the world's largest delivery company.

The accord was reached about two weeks before a July 31 deadline. Both the company and union declined to reveal details of the agreement until a Washington news conference today.

The tentative contract allows the company to avoid a repeat of a 15-day strike in 1997 that snarled shipments nationwide and cost United Parcel $750 million in revenue.

Customers already had begun moving business to rivals such as FedEx Corp., driving down United Parcel's June U.S. deliveries 4 percent. The Atlanta-based company has said it can't estimate how many lost shipments it may recoup.

The tentative agreement still must be approved by Teamsters members, and ballot results are expected in the middle of August, union spokesman Bret Caldwell said.

United Parcel is the largest employer of Teamsters, with 210,000 members working as drivers, package sorters, loaders and clerks. Another 20,000 Teamsters at the company are covered by separate contracts to be modeled on the accord just reached.

Wages, pensions and health-care contributions were among the last issues to be settled during talks. In addition to the national agreement, negotiators settled 38 regional contracts, known as supplements, during the talks.

United Parcel delivers 13.6 million packages a day globally. The company's second-quarter profit fell 3 percent as customers shifted business because of the strike threat.