UPS and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters reached a tentative agreement to reduce the size of SurePost packages eligible for delivery by the U.S. Postal Service, according to the union.
UPS’ SurePost uses the U.S. Postal Service for the final mile of delivery and is focused on non-urgent and lightweight residential shipments. Under the tentative deal, the overall size of packages eligible for SurePost delivery will be reduced, Teamsters spokesperson Kara Deniz said in an email Friday, but she did not provide specifics.
“These tentative commitments from UPS would increasingly redirect more SurePost packages to bargaining unit regular package car drivers over the life of the contract," Deniz said.
UPS declined to comment. The agreement is subject to ratification of the next national contract, which the company and the union are currently negotiating.
The current national contract between UPS and the Teamsters, which expires July 31, says packages eligible for Postal Service delivery normally weigh less than 10 pounds and are less than three cubic feet in size. If an employee identifies a SurePost-designated package that clearly exceeds either of those limits, "the package can be removed from the system and redirected for delivery by a package driver unless the Employer cannot deliver to the specified address," according to the contract.
In a bargaining update last week, the Teamsters said negotiators had pushed back on company attempts "to maintain the status quo or weaken worker protections" for SurePost.
"Several rounds of Teamster proposals were exchanged to push UPS to put more boxes back on union package cars and commit to regular testing of the very technology the company uses to redirect volume," according to the update.
SurePost deliveries by Postal Service couriers have long been limited by the national contract between UPS and the Teamsters. The union said in 2015 that 28% of July and August SurePost volume — 385,000 packages a day — was redirected back to UPS for delivery.
SurePost volume remained relatively flat in 2022 versus the year prior, according to UPS’ annual financial report. The service then saw a Q1 uptick in volume from larger shippers pursuing cost savings by shifting packages away from UPS' air network.
The tentative SurePost agreement inches UPS and the Teamsters closer to a deal on a national contract. UPS said in a bargaining update Friday that negotiators will focus on the two remaining supplemental agreements covering workers in Kentucky and Northern California this week. National contract discussions will resume June 5.