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Axios reports that UPS has reached a tentative contract agreement with the Teamsters that will avert a strike that could have come at the end of the month, taking some 340,000 workers off the job and potentially destabilizing the economy.

negotiations," Teamsters General President Sean O'Brien said in a statement. "We've changed the game. This contract sets a new standard in the labor movement and raises the bar for all workers."

UPS CEO Carol Tomé called the deal a "win, win, win agreement."

Axios writes that "wage increases for full-timers will bring their average top rate to $49 per hour — making them the highest-paid delivery drivers in the U.S., the union said.  New part-time hires at UPS would start at $21 per hour, up from $15 in the previous contract.

"Notably, the agreement ends a much-hated two-tier worker classification system where some were paid less for doing essentially the same work."

Union members are scheduled to vote on the pact early next month.

KC's View:

I wonder how much pressure this puts on UPS's competitors - largely FedEx and Amazon - to improve their wages and working conditions.  This could just be the beginning of a series of face-offs by management and labor in the delivery space.

Even more important - since a wage increase almost certainly will guarantee that UPS will raise its prices, what will the impact be on companies that offer free shipping? Because their costs are going to go up, too.