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In major UPS deal, labor unions continue win streak with strike threats

Jul 26, 2023

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The United States avoided what could have been one of the largest and costliest strikes in American history when UPS and the Teamsters reached a deal Tuesday, July 25. The agreement, which sees major pay hikes for both part- and full-time workers, is the latest in a streak of wins U.S. labor unions have scored since the end of the pandemic.

With the cost of living, inflation, and demand for workers all on the rise, labor has been emboldened and seen its efforts on behalf of members yield significant victories.

In the deal with UPS, the Teamsters secured a 48% wage increase for part-time workers — markedly higher than Americans’ average annual pay hike of between 3% and 5%, according to Indeed.

Full-time UPS workers saw their average hourly wage grow by $2.75, with the average full-timer making $49 per hour. That calculates to almost $102,000 per year assuming a 40-hour work week at 52 weeks per year.

UPS workers are hardly the first major employer group to see a contract change in recent months and years following threatened strikes. Pilots unions brokered new contracts with major airlines that hiked their pay by as much as 40%, and the railroads labor union was able to get a 24% wage increase for its members.

Last year, workers at the University of California won major pay increases after a 40-day strike — the largest ever in higher education — caused problems for classes across the university system.

The number of strikes in the U.S. was up 52% in 2022. And 2023 is seeing its share of strikes as well. Currently both Hollywood writers and actors are striking as their unions demand higher pay and other considerations.

Now the automotive industry is gearing up for a potential strike as the contracts for some 150,000 autoworkers at General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis are up Sept. 14.

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