Call it a game of contract cat and mouse or not, but the Teamsters union strongly attacked UPS Inc.’s economic counterproposal as negotiations resumed in Washington to hammer out a new master contract.
The company’s counterproposal “included minimal raises and overall wage cuts to workers’ cost-of-living adjustments,” the union said Thursday. The Teamsters National Negotiating Committee unanimously rejected what the union called a “disrespectful” package.
The committee told UPS (NYSE: UPS) it will not meet again until the company makes a “realistic and respectful economic offer.” The union on Wednesday presented its initial economic proposal, which it called the “biggest, most lucrative financial proposal ever presented by a labor union.”
It includes wage increases for each year of the five-year contract, additional holidays and more paid time off, pension increases, and the end of a two-tier wage system that the union says penalizes those who lack seniority even though they are performing the same work as their senior counterparts.
“We are not accepting whatever crumbs these executives might throw our way. UPS has made plenty of money,” said Teamsters General Secretary Fred Zuckerman. “Our members have sacrificed everything to make them rich. We are demanding a real offer right now.”
“If UPS wants to negotiate a contract for 1997 working conditions,” said General President Sean M. O’Brien, referring to the year the Teamsters struck UPS for 15 days. “They’re going to get 1997 consequences.”
In a statement, UPS said that “as in any negotiations, reaching consensus on economic proposals requires serious and detailed discussion, as well as give-and-take from both sides. UPS is proud to provide the best pay and benefits package in the industry, and we plan to keep it that way. Both the Teamsters and UPS have publicly acknowledged the strong progress made to date, including the agreements reached on all non-economic topics. These negotiations affect our people, businesses and consumers across the country, which is a responsibility we take seriously.”
Earlier, the Teamsters had announced that it and UPS had agreed to 55 non-economic contractual issues.
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