UPS and International Brotherhood of Teamsters confirmed this week that they are starting work on a new collective bargaining agreement that covers 250,000 workers, including about 11,000 in Louisville.

While the current five-year contract between the Atlanta-based global shipper and its drivers, truck mechanics, dock workers and package handlers extends until July 31 next year, the parties start early because it takes several months to reach terms on more than 30 supplemental agreements and riders to an extensive master contract.

Teamsters leaders predicted that the coming negotiations won't be smooth sailing because they intend to target concessions that the union made in 2013, particularly in health care and pension benefits.

UPS, for instance, trimmed its health care obligations, which passed higher co-payments and other costs to workers, said Fred Zuckerman, president of Local 89 in Louisville.
New UPS labor contract: Teamsters say health care and benefits are key