Teamsters trickle back to their UPS jobs
But company still warns of possible layoffs
August 20, 1997
Web posted at: 11:21 a.m. EDT (1521 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Teamsters members began returning to work
Wednesday at United Parcel Service as the company set out to
win back customers who strayed to other delivery carriers
during the two-week labor walkout.
"We're Back -- Moving at the Speed of Business Again" read a
headline on the UPS Internet site.
A tentative settlement with the Teamsters union took
employees off picket lines they formed August 4, but
Teamsters President Ron Carey told CNN it likely would be
several days before everybody was back at work.
The tentative agreement would combine part-time slots to
create 10,000 new full-time jobs, limit subcontracting and
increase UPS' contributions to the union's multi-employer
pension and health plans.
Eliminating the backlog
Wednesday's first order of business was to pick up thousands
of packages being held by regular customers.
Officials from Teamsters locals unanimously approved the
settlement Tuesday night. The complex 164-page contract,
which would replace one that expired July 30, will be mailed
to 185,000 union members for their votes. The process may
take a month to complete.
At the UPS distribution facility in Manhattan, UPS driver
Bill Franzreb said, "It feels great ... personally I'm a very
poor picketer. I'm a great package car driver."
Franzreb said his bosses were glad to see him when he
reported to work. "They greeted me with an open hand; there
was no ill will. The management group in this area treated
the strikes, and the whole incident, very well.
"They were very professional about it, as were the people on
the picket line ... everyone kept their heads. It was a good
result, a win-win for everybody."
UPS spokesman Neil Brawley said the Manhattan facility had
called back 158 of its normal contingent of 600 employees.
"We anticipate at some point having everybody back while we
deal with this backlog (of packages in the UPS system),"
Brawley said. "Once we clear that out of the system, we
realize that there is a certain percentage of our business
that won't be coming back for the long term. Hopefully, we
can keep that to a minimum."
He said UPS would handle possible layoffs "on a day-by-day
Tentative settlement got unanimous OK
"Tonight the elected leaders of the local unions unanimously
approved the agreement with UPS," Carey said Tuesday night,
following the accord that effectively ended the 16-day
strike. The walkout virtually crippled package deliveries
First the contract was unanimously approved by the 50-member
union negotiating team. Then Carey explained details of the
proposal to a group made up of two representatives from each
of the 206 union locals to which UPS workers belong.
A Teamster official said they then voted unanimously to
accept the tentative contract, ending the strike that
crippled package deliveries in the United States.
Teamsters to honor possible UPS pilot work stoppage
UPS also has been in negotiations with the Independent Pilots
Association, which represents pilots who carry UPS cargo.
Carey said Wednesday he hoped UPS management would reach a
agreement with the pilots, who have been working under an
expired contract for more than 20 months.
"I certainly hope UPS will come to good decent terms with its
pilots," Carey said. The pilots honored the recent Teamsters
Asked by CNN if Teamsters would honor an IPA picket line if
the pilots strike, Carey said, "Absolutely."
The IPA has said pilots could strike against UPS around
Christmas, if the union does not reach a new agreement with
the nation's largest package carrier.
UPS still predicts layoffs
Carey repeated his contention Wednesday that the UPS warning
that 15,000 jobs could be lost because of the strike was
exaggerated, and had been part of a "scare tactic" in the
But UPS managers said that while they were working to win
back lost customers, the strike would still mean layoffs --
maybe as many as 15,000 workers. The company lost more than $300
million a week during the strike.
"Some of our good customers have signed long-term contracts
with competitors," said company spokesman Ken Sternad on
Tuesday. UPS has estimated that as much as 5 percent of its
daily volume of 12 million packages has disappeared
But Carey said the company shouldn't worry.
"Our members are those individuals who really have got all
these customers, have created the customers. The package car
driver has great
relationships. They will go out there and get the customer
base back," he told CNN.
Steven Lewins, an analyst with Gruntal & Co., said customers
will likely try to find shipping alternatives "so they don't
get stuck in this position again. But when you control most
of the market, how far can customers go?"