First, UPS does provide benefits to domestic partners. As a matter of corporate policy, UPS currently offers same sex benefits to all non-union employees -- management as well as administrative workers. This includes all such employees in NJ, even though the state has failed to recognize gay partner as married spouses. Beyond health care, UPS also offers benefits such as medical leave, pension rights, funeral leave and other that are beyond what's required.
In the case of drivers, the situation is different because those workers are part of a union. Any changes have to be part of acollective bargaining process. Or it violates the NLRB regulations. The current contract expires in 2008.
Absent a law that specifically categorizes same sex partners as married spouses such as in Mass., UPS cannot unilaterally change a union contract to offer same sex benefits.
UPS has already brought this up with the union for their consideration. And UPS was successful in getting UPS Pilots to agree to same sex benefits during its last contract talks.Hopefully the same will happen with the Teamsters.
Lynnette McIntire, UPS PR