LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – About two dozen Louisville-area UPS drivers don’t like a tentative proposal to create a new tier of lower-paid “hybrid” drivers who would deliver packages on Saturdays and possibly on Sundays should the shipping giant expand to a 7-day operation.
The hybrid driver proposal is one of the more hot-button items that the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is negotiating with Atlanta-based UPS as part of new, five-year labor contract to replace the one that expires July 31.
The contract covers about 260,000 union workers across the country, including about 12,000 in Louisville, where UPS maintains its Worldport global air hub.
On Tuesday morning, drivers made their opposition to the proposal clear during a rally outside UPS' location on Bluegrass Parkway.
The drivers would be called “hybrids” because they would work lower-paid package handling jobs during the part of the week. The proposal is aimed at giving UPS a workforce fill Sunday shifts, should the company expand deliveries to Sunday, without overtime pay.
Currently, package handlers start at $10.35 per hour, while drivers make at least $19 and top out at about $36.
“Basically they (the hybrid drivers) will never make what a true driver does, but they have to do the same work, and as a union, that's not what we’re in the business of negotiating for our current members and our future members,” said David Thornsberry, a UPS driver who has worked at the company 31 years and is a steward at Teamsters Local 89 in Louisville.
But the International Brotherhood of Teamsters sees upside in the proposal.
In a statement, national union spokeswoman Kara Deniz said: "The negotiating committee has tentatively agreed to a proposal to protect and improve the wages paid to current drivers while addressing proposals from our members to reduce the excessive hours they are forced to work and their fear of being forced to work on weekends in the future. No current employee’s wages will be cut under the proposal. Newly hired drivers will be full time, will primarily work on weekends and will be available to redress the complaints of current drivers that they can’t get home to enjoy their kids and families.”
UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot declined to comment on the details of the negotiations, but he said talks are progressing and the company is confident a deal can be reached.