S.C. union reps react to tentative agreements between UPS, workers

Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 7:03 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - On Tuesday, UPS and union workers reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year contract, avoiding a strike that threatened to disrupt shipping nationwide.

WMBF News spoke with experts in the Grand Strand about what this deal means for workers here at home.

It started with businesses bracing for a worst-case scenario with a potential UPS strike nationwide.

“Increase our supplies from those purveyors, and then also make sure that we just have enough supplies on hand,” said Hollie Davis, the Director of Operations at La Bella MD.

However, six days before the strike deadline, UPS and the Teamsters Union came up with some compromises.

It’s an agreement the Assistant Professor of Economics at Coastal Carolina University Dr. Sourav Batabyal said is a win-win solution.

“Thank God we could avoid this situation as they came to an agreement, UPS and the labor union,” said Dr. Batabyal. “So, my hope is the situation will normalize.”

If the contract is officially signed by the majority of union members, existing full- and part-time UPS teamsters will get $2.75 more per hour this year, and $7.50 more per hour over the length of the five-year contract.

The agreement also includes a starting pay increase for part-time workers to $21.

President of the Local Teamsters 509 Brian Clardy said it’s not just about compensation.

“Typically, most people run towards the fact that it’s all about money, and really the majority of the time it’s about the working conditions,” said Clardy. “So, I feel like this contract agreement that we’ve reached addresses all those concerns.”

Some of the improvements in working conditions are making sure there is air conditioning and cargo ventilation in delivery trucks.

Clardy said it’s the start of giving those essential workers a voice.

“They’re tired of having the thumb on their head and always being pushed down. If they’re the ones doing the work and making these companies billions that they’re making them, then reward them.”