UPS Inc. and the Teamsters union have commenced the national, or master, phase of contract negotiations even though two main supplemental agreements remain unresolved.

One of those supplements is the Local 89 Air Rider in Louisville, Kentucky, home of UPS’ Worldport air hub, and the other is located in Northern California. The Teamsters national negotiation committee directed supplemental committee chairmen to return to their bargaining tables to resume negotiations, according to a Teamsters statement Monday.

In the first national meeting on Monday, which was largely ceremonial, the Teamsters shared a handful of non-economic proposals to the UPS National Master Agreement. UPS executives shared a few pages briefly summarizing some of the company’s own proposed contract changes.

According to the statement, Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien told UPS (NYSE:UPS) across the table to act fast to quickly abolish the 22.4 two-tier job classification for package car drivers and eliminate its use of personal vehicle delivery drivers (PVDs). Known by the classification number in the contract, 22.4 drivers are full-time workers who the Teamsters said don’t receive the same employment status of senior workers even though they put in the same work.

“If UPS really wants to get serious and get national talks underway, they should get rid of these unequal 22.4 positions and watered-down gig economy PVDs right now. It’d be very easy,” O’Brien said. “We cannot allow movement on national negotiations to stagnate around UPS’ perpetual inaction. The Teamsters want UPS to start responding to some of our biggest issues or make final plans to wrap up supplemental negotiations. Let’s get this done.”

As recently as mid-April, the Teamsters warned that there would be no national negotiations until all of the 40 supplementals, which generally have a more specific impact on workers’ benefits in their geographic areas. The Teamsters accused UPS of foot dragging on negotiating 30 of the 40 original supplementals.

Based on where things stand, however, progress has been made. According to the Teamsters, UPS agreed that the company preferred to see supplements reach tentative agreement as quickly as possible.

“The proof is in the pudding,” said Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman. “While we evaluate initial non-economic national proposals, we have asked our supplemental committees to work out final issues with UPS. If UPS isn’t playing games, we should all see these regional contracts agreed to by both sides very soon.”

In a statement Friday, UPS said the company and the union have made “good progress” in the past few weeks negotiating nearly all the supplementals.

The Local 89 supplemental committee returned to work at Teamsters headquarters. Teams bargaining the “NorCal” supplement continued to work remotely from Sacramento, California.

The post UPS, Teamsters national negotiations begin as supplemental talks conclude appeared first on FreightWaves.

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