4/25/08

UPS welcomes Hoffa, Teamsters to Utah

About 200 workers at UPS Freight terminals in Utah have signed authorization cards to unionize, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said Thursday. The workers would join the Teamsters' Local 222 in Salt Lake City, said Tom Monthey, secretary-treasurer of Local 222.

Since January, about 10,400 UPS drivers and dockworkers nationwide have signed cards to unionize. Monthey said the 200 UPS Freight workers in Utah will join the 3,500 members, from various companies in the area, already enrolled with Local 222. He said contract negotiations with UPS could begin within 60 days.

Related video: "Hoffa: This is all about power"



"There have been seniority issues, which comes under a union contract, and health and welfare issues," Monthey said. "A contract will give them better wages, better health and welfare benefits, pensions."

Earlier this month, more than 89 percent of UPS Freight workers nationwide who are already Teamsters members ratified a new contract, which improves wages, benefits and working conditions, the Teamsters said in a news release.

UPS Freight spokesman Ira Rosenfeld said the company would have to verify the signatures on the authorization cards through an arbitrator before negotiations on a new contract could proceed. That process usually takes about one week, he said.

"Once he has verified it, the company will recognize the Teamsters as the bargaining agent for the Salt Lake City center," Rosenfeld said.

The new contract for the Utah workers likely would mirror the nationwide one ratified early this month.

"The company respects the employees' decision on representation, and we will honor that decision," he said. "UPS and the Teamsters have had a long-standing relationship going back about 80 years."

Rosenfeld said the company expects to continue its mutually beneficial relationship with the union, with no adverse impact on either side or the consumer.

"There should be no changes as far as rates, and as far as the operations go, we don't anticipate any changes," he said. "The public won't see any difference."

(deseretnews.com)

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