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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Teamsters Local 89 is telling about 12,000 UPS employees in the greater Louisville area to vote ‘No’ on a proposed five-year labor contract with the shipping giant, saying the tentative deal doesn’t sufficiently raise wages, among other problems.

The recommendation comes after the leaders of 179 local unions nationwide voted “overwhelmingly” to move forward with the contract at meeting in the Chicago-area last week, according to a spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which negotiated the deal.

The tentative agreement, reached in June, does not go into effect unless ratified by a majority of the 260,000 UPS workers across the country in an electronic-ballot vote next month.

Stephen Piercey, communications director for Teamsters Local 89, said the leaders of “several other” local unions besides Louisville, including a regional group in the northeast, are opposed to the contract.

David White, a spokesman for the international union, said last week’s vote of local leaders was by voice, so there was no official tally.     

Piercey said the Louisville union’s opposition is rooted in the same concerns it expressed last month – mainly, the lack of a $15-per-hour starting wage and the creation of new tier of package-car drivers who would work weekends and earn less per hour than current drivers.

UPS contract falls short on wages, Louisville union official says

If approved, the starting wage for part-time employees at UPS facilities like its Worldport global air hub in Louisville would rise from $10 per hour to $13. It would eventually reach $15 over the life of the five-year deal, but Piercey said the rate should move to $15 immediately.

For delivery drivers, UPS wants to alleviate mandatory overtime and create more fulltime jobs by creating “combination” workers who would deliver packages part of the week and work “inside” jobs, like handling packages at Worldport, during the other part.

But pay for the new type of driver would top out at about $30 an hour, compared to $36 for a traditional, fulltime driver, Local 89 officials have said.

“I don’t think it’s a good thing when two people do the same job for two different amounts of pay,” said Mike Hinton, a delivery driver in Campbellsville, Ky., who serves a steward for Local 89.

Hinton was among a few dozen stewards who met in Louisville on Monday to talk about the contract.

White, the spokesman for the international union, referred a reporter to a public statement last week, in which the union said creating the “combination” driver tier “addresses the changes brought on through the e-commerce revolution.”

UPS is contemplating delivery packages on Sunday to keep up with potential competitors like Amazon; thus, the need for drivers with regular weekend schedules.

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2018 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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Chris Otts reports for WDRB.com about business and economic topics, higher education and local / state government. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after seven years with The Courier-Journal. Got a tip? Chris is at 502-585-0822 and cotts@wdrb.com.