UPS, Teamsters Avoid Crippling Strike with 5-Year Deal
Workspan Daily
July 28, 2023

UPS and the Teamsters union reached a tenative agreement for a new five-year contract covering 340,000 workers at the country’s largest package carrier Tuesday, NBC News reports.  

The union had threatened a strike in the coming week if a new agreement was not reached.  

“UPS has put $30 billion in new money on the table as a direct result of these negotiations,” Teamsters President Sean O’Brien said in a statement Tuesday. “This contract sets a new standard in the labor movement and raises the bar for all workers.” 

UPS CEO Carol Tomé said in a statement, “Together we reached a win-win-win agreement on the issues that are important to Teamsters leadership, our employees and to UPS and our customers.” The deal, she said, “continues to reward UPS’s full- and part-time employees with industry-leading pay and benefits while retaining the flexibility we need to stay competitive, serve our customers and keep our business strong.” 

Under the new deal, junior drivers would be reclassified as regular drivers and have their pay adjusted accordingly. UPS would also be prevented from requiring drivers to work overtime on their scheduled days off. 

The five-year contract deal also includes what the union called “historic” wage increases. Current full- and part-time union workers are guaranteed a $2.75 hourly pay increase this year, the Teamsters said, amounting to a $7.50 hourly increase through the duration of the contract. 

Pay for existing and starting part-time workers — which UPS and Teamsters leaders described as the last hurdle for a contract — would be raised to at least $21 per hour immediately, advancing to $23 per hour. 

Current part-timers also won longevity wage increases of up to $1.50 per hour. Wage increases for full-time drivers would bring their average top rate to $49 per hour, the union said. 

A work stoppage by UPS drivers would have been the largest single-employer strike in U.S. history. A recent forecast by the Anderson Economic Group estimated that a 10-day walkout would cost the U.S. economy $7 billion, with workers racking up $1.1 billion in lost wages and UPS losing $816 million. 

Amazon Will Make Some Employee Relocate for Return to Office  

Amazon will require some corporate employees to relocate as part of a mandate requiring workers to be back in the office three days a week, Bloomberg News reported.  

Amazon hasn’t yet determined how many employees will be affected. Some remote workers who were hired or moved during the pandemic will have to relocate closer to the offices so they can meet the three-day requirement, Bloomberg reported.  

“There’s more energy, collaboration, and connections happening since we’ve been working together at least three days per week, and we’ve heard this from lots of employees and the businesses that surround our offices,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “We continue to look at the best ways to bring more teams together in the same locations, and we’ll communicate directly with employees as we make decisions that affect them.” 

Morale at Amazon has taken a hit since the company began the firings late last year that ultimately affected about 27,000 employees. The Seattle-based company ordered most corporate staff to report to the office at least three days a week starting in May. That move was protested by some employees protested during a May walkout in Seattle

Gap Taps Mattel Executive Behind Barbie Revival as Next CEO  

Gap is betting that an executive who helped make over Barbie can revive its apparel brand, the Wall Street Journal reports.  

Richard Dickson, the president and chief operating officer at toymaker Mattel, is taking over as Gap’s next CEO, ending a yearlong search for a new leader. Dickson, who is credited with breathing new life into the Barbie franchise, started his career at Bloomingdale’s and later spent years at the owner of Nine West, before heading to Mattel.  

Gap in recent years has churned through leaders and shifted strategies. The owner of Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta has been slashing jobs, closing some stores and trying to speed up its design efforts. It has lost ground to global chains such as Zara and online entrants such as Shein that rapidly churn out the latest fashions and reach customers on social media, the Journal notes.  

Gap has been searching for a new CEO since Sonia Syngal left in July 2022. Gap was once a cultural beacon; it made khakis cool. But the company has been struggling for years.   

“Richard knows how to bring brands to life,” said Bob Martin, Gap’s chairman and interim CEO. 

“We lost the ability to know who our customers are,” said Martin, a former Walmart executive who joined Gap’s board in 2002. “We need to be on trend, not two years behind.” 

Anueuser-Busch InBev Lays Off Hundreds of U.S. Employees 

Anhueser-Busch InBev trimmed its workforce by the hundreds at its U.S. offices amid months of slumping sales at Bud Light, the Wall Street Journal reports.   

The world’s largest brewer, which also sells Stella Artois and Budweiser, on Wednesday said the cuts would affect less than 2% of its roughly 18,000 U.S. employees. That layoffs won’t impact frontline workers such as brewer and warehouse staff, the Journal reports.  

“While we never take these decisions lightly, we want to ensure that our organization continues to be set for future long-term success,” Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said in a written statement. “These corporate structure changes will enable our teams to focus on what we do best — brewing great beer for everyone.” 

The restructuring eliminated corporate and marketing roles at major U.S. offices, including St. Louis, New York and Los Angeles.  

Bud Light sales have tanked since April amid a commercial backlash over a promotion with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Earlier this summer, Mexican brand Modelo Especial dethroned Bud Light as the top-selling beer in the U.S. 

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