It was UPS workers’ willingness to strike — not corporate kindness — that earned them a new tentative agreement.

by Derek Seidman, Truthout

The Teamsters Union and UPS have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract to cover the 340,000 Teamsters who work for the package shipping giant.

According to a statement released by the union, the new contract is “the most historic tentative agreement for workers in the history of UPS,” promising wage increases, an end to the two-tier wage system, new air conditioning in vehicles, Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a full company holiday, and more.

In the days and weeks to come, members will debate the pros and cons of the proposal as thousands of UPS Teamsters vote on whether to ratify the contract. But one thing seems undeniable: Any significant gains won by Teamsters against a reluctant employer will have come about because rank-and-file workers showed the company that they were prepared to strike.

President Donald Trump walks to

Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), a longtime member reform group pushing for more militancy and rank-and-file democracy within the union, noted in a statement, “UPS walked away from the bargaining table on July 5 after telling our union, ‘We have nothing more to offer.’” In the following weeks, members ramped up “practice pickets” across the country, making loud and clear their willingness to strike. “Management read the writing on the wall,” said TDU, “and went from ‘nothing more to offer’ to the most lucrative contract in Teamster history.”

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