United Parcel Service Inc.’s (NYSE: UPS) freight workers ratified a final contract offer, averting a work stoppage that prompted the carrier to clear its network and could have affected the delivery of packages across the world.
The final offer cleared with 77% of votes cast approving the five-year contract, the Teamsters union said Sunday. The agreement covers 11,600 workers.
UPS said it would immediately resume pickups for its freight customers, which primarily ship heavier goods and bulk shipments that move on pallets. The Company last week stopped picking up orders to empty its freight network of any cargo that could have been stranded during a strike.
The agreement prevents what would have been the Company’s first work stoppage since 1997 and provides a measure of labor peace ahead of the busy peak shipping season. A strike would have caused disruption in a trucking market already struggling with tight capacity and higher shipping rates as a strong economy pushes more freight through logistics networks.
UPS freight workers voted down the initial deal in October. The Teamsters demanded changes to items, including the amount of work that could be subcontracted, wages and restrictions on qualifying for pension and vacation benefits.
UPS agreed to some of the demands and refused others. Still, it was enough to garner member approval.
Last month, workers in UPS’s larger small-package division, which covers 243,000 workers, ratified their tentative bargaining agreement. The Company and the Teamsters are still negotiating some local supplemental agreements before finalizing that deal.
“The UPS Small Package National Master Agreement (NMA) and UPS Freight Master Agreement have both now been ratified. Customers can remain confident UPS is ready to continue to serve its small package and UPS Freight customers throughout the holiday season and beyond.” UPS said in a statement Sunday.