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UPS Teamsters Back 5-Year Contract as Local Accords Fail

United Parcel Service Inc. Teamsters workers approved a five-year contract that covers about 235,000 employees, lowering the risk of a strike at the world’s largest package-delivery company.

The union announced preliminary results today, saying the accord received a majority of the votes cast, without giving details. Counting will conclude tomorrow, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said.

A running tally on the Teamsters website showed 34,037 votes favoring the so-called national master contract and 29,576 against it at 8 p.m. in Atlanta, where UPS is based.

UPS wanted to win ratification before the current accord expires in July, to reassure customers who might have begun shifting deliveries to FedEx Corp. ahead of a possible walkout. A two-week Teamsters strike in 1997 cost about $650 million, UPS said at the time.

Seventeen local supplemental contracts appear to have failed and must be renegotiated and voted on again, according to the Teamsters for a Democratic Union, a splinter group of workers. Another agreement, which covers about 15,000 freight division Teamsters workers, will require additional negotiation, UPS said in a statement today.

“It will be business as usual while UPS and the IBT resolve remaining issues and Teamster represented employees ratify new agreements,” John McDevitt, UPS’s senior vice president of human resources and labor relations, said in the statement.

The master contract would take effect on Aug. 1 and includes raises totaling $3.90 per hour over the five years, which adds up to $25,000 for certain full-time drivers over the life of the agreement, the union has said. The accord also creates 2,350 full-time jobs.

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