Nov. 12 (UPI) -- UPS Freight has averted a worker strike after both sides came to an agreement on a new five-year labor contract.
The agreement with the Teamsters union covers 11,600 UPS Freight employees, and was ratified with 77 percent approval, the union announced on Sunday night.
"We are pleased that the UPS Freight agreement has been ratified," the company said in a statement. "It is an agreement that rewards our employees for their contributions to the success of the company, while enabling UPS to remain competitive."
The carrier said it would immediately resume pickups, stopped since last week to avoid cargo stranded in the supply chain in the event of a strike, for its freight customers. The majority of material moved by UPS Freight involves heavy goods and bulk shipments packed on pallets, different from the package-delivery service most customers envision with UPS.
"We will resume normal operations and will immediately begin accepting new volume from UPS Freight customers," the company said in a statement.
UPS Freight has not had a labor stoppage since 1997, but prepared for one last week. A strike so close to the holiday season could have slowed transport to stores and forced retailers to find more expensive shippers for last-minute deliveries.
Some Teamsters who voted said the new contract does not provide protections against hiring non-union workers and typically less expensive subcontractors, a reduction in benefits, Business Insider reported on Monday. The new contract also closes a gap in pay between new hires and those employed for several years.
Under the new contract, UPS Freight drivers with four years of seniority will earn 72 cents per mile driven, compared to 28 to 40 cents for other over-the-road truck drivers, the company said.