One of the controversial topics at the negotiating table was the implementation of technology in the operation of the UPS. The new contract requires UPS to hire teamsters six months before the announcement of business plans to integrate new technologies such as drones, driverless vehicles or road trains. However, the agreement does not give the union a veto. The implementation of the contract guarantees a level of security for UPS for the next four years. „This agreement and the master`s contract previously negotiated for UPS Freight employees help ensure that UPS and our employees are well positioned to succeed in the years to come,“ said Teri McClure, Chief Human Resources Officer und Senior Vice President of Labor at UPS. Technology is a top priority for UPS as it undergoes a $20 billion transformation over three years to further automate its network. Chief Information and Engineering Officer Juan Perez called 2019 „a year of investment“ for UPS. Negotiations between the union and UPS began well before July 31, 2018, the expiration date of the previous five-year contract. An agreement was not only a long process, but also a controversial process. UPS Freight stopped pickups last year pending a workers` strike.
The company and the union reached an agreement to avoid a strike, which nevertheless led to disruption. Teamsters ratified the master`s contract last October, although more union members voted against the agreement than they did. According to trade union rules, two-thirds of them must reject the agreement if less than half of the members vote. Only 44% of the members took part in the ratification referendum, but among them they did not reject the agreement by a two-thirds majority. „We recognize that this has been a long process and appreciate the patience and support of our members,“ Denis Taylor, co-chair of the national bargaining committee and director of the Teamsters Package Division, said in a statement. If you would like to check the National Masteragrement, its Spanish summary or a review of these changes, please see this link. The investments are expected to benefit UPS in the long term, but are related to high ex ante costs, which affected 3PL`s profits in the first quarter. The ratification of the contract and the obligation to increase the remuneration of workers retroactively to August 1 may result in an additional financial burden for UPS. „We are not against new technologies,“ Taylor said in a telephone conversation with reporters last July, while negotiations were underway. „What we reject is the unilateral implementation of this policy without any input from our people.“ After ratification, the treaty would enter into force once the natives voted on additions, including the last local 243, based near Detroit.