UPS to Hire 100,000 Holiday Workers
Workspan Daily
September 29, 2023

UPS plans to hire 100,000 seasonal workers again this year to support the holiday shipping rush, CNBC reports.  

The new workers will be starting with higher pay as a result of the new labor agreement with the Teamsters union that was ratified in August. Pay will start between $21 and $23 per hour, depending on the position.  

The Teamsters deal with UPS comes as workers from pilots to aerospace manufacturing employees have pushed for and won higher pay

Package handlers and driver helpers will make $21 per hour, while delivery and tractor-trailer drivers will make $23 per hour during the holiday season, a UPS spokesperson said. Last year, package handlers’ starting pay was $15.50 per hour and delivery drivers made a minimum of $21 per hour. 

The company said it is hiring both full- and part-time positions, primarily drivers and package handlers. Some permanent positions are also available.  

Hollywood Writers Strike Ends, Vote to Accept New Deal Upcoming   

The agreement reached Wednesday between the Writers Guild and Hollywood studios contains AI guardrails, residuals and data transparency for writers while also including more compensation incentives, Deadline reports.  

The agreement ended a five-month strike. .  

Among those incentives, for films that are viewed by 20% or more of a streaming service’s domestic subscribers in the first 90 days of release, or in the first 90 days in any subsequent exhibition year, writers for the film receive a bonus equal to 50% of the fixed domestic and foreign residual, with views calculated as hours streamed domestically of the season or film divided by runtime.  

As an example, projects written under the new agreement would receive a bonus of $9,031 for a half-hour episode, $16,415 for a one-hour episode, or $40,500 for a streaming feature over $30 million in budget, the WGA explained. This bonus structure will take effect for projects released Jan. 1, 2024, it said.  

“The companies agree to provide the Guild, subject to a confidentiality agreement, the total number of hours streamed, both domestically and internationally, of self-produced high-budget streaming programs (e.g., a Netflix original series),” the WGA added. “The Guild may share information with the membership in aggregated form.”  

In terms of minimum salaries, the WGA received the same pay raises that the Directors Guild got without striking. In June, the DGA got annual pay raises of 5%-4%-3.5% for a  13% compounded pay raise over three years. The DGA also got an additional 0.5% to fund a new parental leave benefit. The WGA won paid parental leave in 2020. 

The WGA also got t5%-4%-3.5%, but notes in its summary of the Memorandum of Agreement that “some minimums and rates increase less, mostly by 3% each year, while a few rates increase only once or do not increase over the contract. These exceptions are the result of patterns established in the industry.” 

Going into the negotiations, the WGA had asked for 6%-5%-5% pay increases, which is 16.87% compounded over three years. According to the WGA, the studios’ offer just before the strike began was only 4%-3%-2%, which is 9.26% compounded over three years. 

Additionally, under the new agreement, AI can’t write or rewrite literary material, and AI-generated material will not be considered source material, meaning it can’t be used to undermine a writer’s credit or separated rights. However, a writer can choose to use AI when performing writing services if the company consents and provided that the writer follows applicable company policies. But the company can’t require the writer to use AI software when performing writing services.  

Members of the WGA will vote  to accept the new contract from Oct. 2 to Oct. 9.  

FTC Sues Amazon for Antitrust  

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Trade Commission and 17 states on Tuesday sued Amazon, alleging the online retailer illegally wields monopoly power that keeps prices artificially high, locks sellers into its platform and harms its rivals. 

Lina Khan, chair of the FTC, is a longtime critic of Amazon who wrote in the Yale Law Journal in 2017 that earlier generations of competition cops and courts abandoned the law’s concerns over conglomerates such as Amazon.  

The federal agency and the states alleged that Amazon violated antitrust laws by using anti-discounting measures that punished merchants for offering lower prices elsewhere. The government also said sellers on Amazon were compelled to use its logistics service if they want their goods to appear in Amazon Prime, the subscription program whose perks include faster shipping times. Such “tying,” the complaint says, illegally “restricts sellers’ choices” and “reduces product selection available to Amazon’s rivals.” 

The FTC also said sellers feel they must use Amazon’s services such as advertising to be successful on the platform. Between being paid for its logistics program, advertising and other services, “Amazon now takes one of every $2 that a seller makes,” Khan said at a briefing with the media Tuesday. 

“Amazon is now exploiting its monopoly power to enrich itself while raising prices and degrading service for the tens of millions of American families who shop on its platform and the hundreds of thousands of businesses that rely on Amazon to reach them,” Khan said in a statement. 

David Zapolsky, Amazon’s general counsel and head of public policy, said: “The lawsuit filed by the FTC today is wrong on the facts and the law, and we look forward to making that case in court. 

“The practices the FTC is challenging have helped to spur competition and innovation across the retail industry, and have produced greater selection, lower prices and faster delivery speeds for Amazon customers and greater opportunity for the many businesses that sell in Amazon’s store,” Zapolsky said. 

UAW Says It Could Expand Strikes  

The United Automobile Workers (UAW), as reported by the New York Times, has announced on Friday its intention to expand its strike against major U.S. automakers, including General Motors, Ford Motor and Stellantis (parent company of Chrysler and Jeep), if substantial progress is not made in contract negotiations.  

The strike began nearly two weeks ago at three vehicle assembly plants owned by those companies. Last Friday, the strike was extended to include spare parts-distribution centers of G.M. and Stellantis. 

The primary issue in the negotiations is a substantial wage increase to compensate for smaller raises during the past decade. While the companies have offered about 20% wage increases over four years, the UAW is seeking double that amount. Additionally, the union has made demands for cost-of-living adjustments, the right to strike to protest plant closures, expanded pensions and company-paid health care for retirees. 

The strike has affected key production facilities, including a G.M. factory in Wentzville, Missouri, a Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan, and a Stellantis complex in Toledo, Ohio. These plants produce some of the automakers' most profitable models, such as the GMC Canyon pickup truck, Ford Bronco sport-utility vehicle and Jeep Wrangler. 

The strike's second wave has resulted in the closure of 20 Stellantis parts-distribution centers and 18 owned by GM, with over 18,000 UAW workers now participating. The UAW. represents approximately 150,000 workers across GM, Ford, and Stellantis.  

Negotiations for new collective bargaining agreements began in July but only gained momentum this month, with contracts expiring on Sept, 14. The strike began shortly after.  

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