The following is an op-ed piece authored by Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ashli Watts and Commerce Lexington President and CEO Bob Quick
State and local Chambers consistently partner with UPS to help grow Kentucky’s economy and improve our communities. The strong presence of UPS in Kentucky is a significant competitive advantage to economic development, job creation and business recruitment. We are proud of the UPS assets in our regions through Louisville’s UPS Worldport, Lexington’s large ground hub operation, and multiple UPS facilities in Northern Kentucky, including Hebron and Richwood.
For nearly three decades, UPS has had a tremendous impact on Kentucky’s economy. When our Chambers meet with other leaders from across the country, we proudly share this story. More than 250 companies have moved operations to Kentucky to take advantage of the services UPS offers. UPS also directly employs nearly 30,000 people in the Commonwealth. Another 60,000-plus jobs are directly related to the presence of UPS in Kentucky, accounting for more than $2.5 billion in annual payroll to support hardworking families. UPS has invested nearly $3 billion in construction projects in Kentucky since 2000, helping boost local economies and grow the logistics advantage for Kentucky. The company is also responsible for $300 million in tax revenue annually, which accounts for 2 percent of all state taxes collected in the Commonwealth.
UPS and its workforce are also essential to our economy. From management positions to drivers, pilots, and mechanics, all roles are critical to the success of the global logistics economy that many businesses rely on every day. That’s why we urge the Teamsters to come back to the table and continue negotiations and avoid a strike.
We are grateful for UPS and the diversity of career opportunities the company offers for part-time and full-time workers. UPS has demonstrated over its 100-year history with the Teamsters that it values its essential workers and sets a high standard for pay and benefits including for part-time workers. Employees also receive a competitive combination of benefits and pay is at the top range for most employers in this sector.
Part-time UPS employees have attended college for free at the University of Louisville or Jefferson Community and Technical College through the groundbreaking Metropolitan College program. Nearly 20,000 of these students have earned degrees and certificates, leading to careers in fields like nursing, finance, and even as state legislators, while others opt to work full-time at UPS.
Part-time union employees at UPS make an average of $20 an hour after their first 30 days of employment and receive annual wage increases as well as cost-of-living adjustments.
Along with industry leading pay, UPS part-time employees receive the same health and medical benefits as full-time employees, as well as pension, tuition reimbursement and other benefits. All these benefits are offered to part-time employees who, on average, choose to work 15-20 hours a week.
With less than three weeks until the Teamsters’ contract with UPS expires, negotiations are down to the final pieces of the contract. We encourage both sides to continue to talk through issues, so workers have job security and the state, international and domestic commerce avoids disruption. We encourage both sides to reach an agreement that is a win for everyone.