Teamsters president: 'Practice picketing' helped UPS avoid strike for tentative $30B deal

A strike has been averted as UPS reached a tentative contract agreement with 340,000 unionized workers.

Many are happy because this will not impact their package deliveries. Not long after both sides reached a tentative agreement, the head of teamsters spoke with Neil Cavuto of FOX Business about what he calls — a win for both UPS and the men and women who deliver our packages.

"This is going to improve their lives tremendously, but it’s also going to add stability to UPS' workforce." said Sean O'Brien, the Teamsters General President.

The formal agreement isn’t final but O'Brien is taking a victory lap after reaching a provisional deal with UPS. The move avoids the largest strike in US history, involving 340,000 employees.

"The general public loves the UPS people. I think what we’ve done in this campaign is highlighted who actually loads those trucks, who unloads those trucks, who makes it possible to provide goods and services; and it was our time," he said.

Here’s how O’Brien says the contract breaks down:

It’s a $30 billion deal, which will benefit both part- and full-timers.

It will eliminate the two-tier wage system and even the scale for all employees.

Wage increases will jump to $8.40 and as high as $9.10 an hour.

Air conditioning will be installed in new trucks.

And Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will be a paid holiday.

"When you’re paying people a livable wage, when you’re paying people for the hard work that they do, and treating them with respect and dignity, they’re going to retain employees," O'Brien said.

He said he credits the practice picketing for applying more pressure on UPS.

This agreement comes during a flashpoint in the fight for workers’ rights: Hollywood is on strike, the UAW is in critical talks with the Big 3 automakers as a fall deadline looms, and locally, the Detroit Teachers Union is trying to negotiate with Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Oakland University's Doctor Michael Greiner, says if a strike happened, it would have hurt the economy as a whole - especially as it tries to recover from the supply chain crisis.

"It appears from everything I’ve seen, that UPS really came to the table with some very attractive offers to try to do everything they could to avoid it," said Greiner,  the assistant professor of management at OU. "Because they knew they’d be in trouble if it went forward."

FOX 2: "Does this empower the voice of the employees?"

"Generally speaking, public opinion of the unions has been moving in a favorable direction for a few years now," Greiner said. "I think there’s this sense that really the balance has shifted too far to the side of the employers."

O’Brien says the teamsters can use this tentative deal as a blueprint for Amazon and FedEx workers in the future.