The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has announced that UPS workers have voted to ratify the hotly contested, five-year national contract, which was tentatively agreed upon last month.

The union said more than 86% of members voted in approval – the highest percentage for any contract vote in the history of the Teamsters at UPS. The contract will now be in effect retroactive to August 1.

“Our members just ratified the most lucrative agreement the Teamsters have ever negotiated at UPS,” said Sean M. O’Brien, general president of the Teamsters. “This contract will improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers. Teamsters have set a new standard and raised the bar for pay, benefits and working conditions in the package delivery industry. This is the template for how workers should be paid and protected nationwide, and nonunion companies like Amazon better pay attention.”

  • Even though UPS and Teamsters leadership had reached a tentative agreement, ratification was far from a formality. At the end of 2022, for example, a railway labor agreement was rejected by members of the union in a vote, bringing the two sides back to the negotiating table.


  • If UPS workers voted against the deal, labor leaders said that more than 340,000 workers would have gone on strike, disrupting the promotional products industry and the overall U.S. economy.

The Contract

After tumultuous rounds of negotiations over the past few months that included progress as well as breakdowns, and even caused UPS to begin training managers to deliver packages as a contingency plan, a contract was agreed upon that satisfied negotiators for both sides.

“UPS has put $30 billion in new money on the table as a direct result of these negotiations,” O’Brien said. “We’ve changed the game, battling it out day and night to make sure our members won an agreement that pays strong wages, rewards their labor and doesn’t require a single concession. This contract sets a new standard in the labor movement and raises the bar for all workers.”

Included in the new contract are provisions for: 

  • Higher wages
  • More jobs 
  • Equal pay
  • Air conditioning in all new vehicles
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day recognized as a full holiday
  • Increased rewards for part-time workers

The full extent of terms that the Teamsters won in negotiations can be found in the Teamsters’ press release. 

“Together we reached a win-win-win agreement on the issues that are important to Teamsters leadership, our employees and to UPS and our customers,” says Carol Tomé, UPS CEO. “This agreement continues to reward UPS’s full- and part-time employees with industry-leading pay and benefits while retaining the flexibility we need to stay competitive, serve our customers and keep our business strong.”

Promo Perspective

Contract ratification was the final step in avoiding disaster. 

A work stoppage would’ve been catastrophic for the U.S. economy, including the promotional products industry. UPS ships more than 24 million packages most days, and unionized Teamster labor is crucial in getting deliveries onto its trucks. In short, losing that workforce, even temporarily, would have been a supply chain nightmare with financial implications.

The ratified contract is set to last five years, which gives promo companies a long breath before having to again consider contingency plans. 

However, promo firms should prepare for the possibility that UPS might pass on the costs associated with conceding to the Teamsters’ demands to UPS customers. 

  • On one hand, much like with any company, investing in employees can result in an increased quality of service with greater efficiency and less possibilities for disruptions.
  • However, a lesson that can be learned from this process is that UPS is not promo companies’ only option, and as a potential strike proved, there is some danger in acting as though they are. 

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