(Bloomberg) -- United Parcel Service Inc. would have more leeway to introduce Sunday deliveries under a preliminary agreement with the Teamsters union that creates a new class of drivers for weekend work.
Combination Drivers, as the new workers will be called, are UPS’s solution to union concerns about its members being forced to work weekends or overtime. Creating the new category of drivers will also generate more full-time opportunities for current part-time employees, the Teamsters said in a statement Friday.
“Our members know that they work in a changing industry, driven by e-commerce and the ‘Amazon effect,’ where consumers want fast delivery and weekend delivery,” Denis Taylor, director of the Teamsters Package Division and co-chairman of the Teamsters National UPS Negotiating Committee, said in the statement.
Combination Drivers will be limited to 25 percent of the total number of regular delivery drivers, who will work Monday through Friday, according to the agreement. If UPS needs additional weekend staff, the higher-paid regular drivers will have first choice to take the days, while being the last ones forced to work Saturday or Sunday.
The agreement, which must be ratified by the 250,000 union workers, comes amid Amazon.com Inc.’s effort to build its own package-delivery network designed to operate seven days a week year around. Amazon is offering discounted trucks, fuel, insurance and technical support to entrepreneurs who want to create their own fleets.
“A key objective for UPS during our negotiations with the Teamsters has been to reach an agreement that provides the flexibility to introduce competitive service offerings,” Glenn Zaccara, a UPS spokesman, in an emailed statement.
In April last year, the company began ground delivery and pickup services on Saturdays for the first time as e-commerce demand has surged. That broke a tradition of weekday shipments only.
UPS’s current five-year Teamsters contract expires at the end of July.
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