Email Exchange on the Teamsters-UPS agreement #5

Steve Downs

August 11, 2023

I want to bring up a few things that are not directly related to how we assess the IBT/UPS TA but, I think, are very related to how we assess the campaign and what it might mean for other or future negotiations.

1. Members of the bargaining committee had to sign an NDA. Imo, the rank and file power oriented part of the union, or the labor movement more broadly, should be screaming about this. If anyone knows, did TDU take a formal position on this? Did anyone refuse to sign? Did any of the bargaining committee members take this issue to their members? The implications for accountability are obvious. Now that O’B has done this successfully, we should expect to see other union presidents follow suit.

2. Barry writes that the demand for $25/hr for part-timers, “did not make it into the demands presented at the bargaining table when talks between the IBT and UPS kicked off in April.” Why not? Who decided what the bargaining package contained? At what point did it become obvious that $25/hr would not be part of the union’s bargaining package? Could a campaign have been launched at that point to alter the package? (Probably not by people who signed NDAs.) The big question here is, who decided – and who should decide – what’s in the bargaining package?

3. There’s always a lot of theater involved in contract talks. Stating that any deal had to be ratified and signed by Aug 1 was part of that. O’B’s announcement of major wins along the way, were part of that. (I’d never seen this done before. The implications of this for the outcome at UPS might be worth a discussion of its own.) As was shutting down the talks in early July. To this outsider, shutting down the talks in early July over a single issue, pay for part-timers, told me that there wouldn’t be a strike. The IBT had three weeks to ratchet up pressure and UPS had three weeks to come back to the table and offer more money — which they would and which the union would accept.

4. Is there any way to “end part-time poverty” without eliminating part-time jobs? Would raising wages to $25/hr end part-time poverty if workers are still working part-time? I think not. Would raising wages to those made by package care drivers (roughly $49/hr at the end of the contract)? Arguably, yes. So what are the implications for future wage demands?