Teamsters UPS at loggerheads over health benefits union contract - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Teamsters, UPS at loggerheads over health benefits

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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

The Teamsters national contract with UPS doesn't expire until the end of July.

But there is a major sticking point in negotiations, the cost of health benefits.

Across the country Sunday, informational meetings were held, including one at Teamsters Local 20 Hall in South Toledo.

They called it a "National Day of Action", saying the union needs to "make UPS deliver."

UPS is asking Teamster members to pay between $30-$90 a week in health premiums.

"They give their chief executive officer a $14-15 million pay raise. We're the ones doing all the work. We're doing the grunt work in the trenches every day. When he gives back his pay raise, I'll give him my insurance," said Teamsters Local 20 member Richard Gambes.

Nationally, there are 250,000 Teamster drivers, loaders, unloaders and sorters at UPS.

Local 20 has 1800 members.

"Well, that's the company's proposal. But you're talking about a company that's made a $5 billion profit last year. We can understand if a company is hurting. Sometimes we have to help pay the freight. That's certainly not the case with UPS," said Local 20 President Bill Lichtenwald.

He says the contract deadline is a long way off but he expects things to tighten up as the deadline approaches.

"The company is trying to jump on the bandwagon with all the companies having a bad time. Problems with foreign imports, jobs going overseas. UPS doesn't have that problem," said Mr. Lichtenwald.

A statement on the UPS web site regarding negotiations says, "We want a good contract that rewards our employees and allows us the necessary flexibilities to remain competitive in the marketplace. We're confident we can reach that goal."

There is one positive note.

The Teamsters report there has been progress on non-economic issues.

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