What Brown Can Do for Teamsters

A tentative contract avoids a strike that could have hit UPS at the start of August.

The Teamsters union and UPS pulled back from the brink with a five-year labor agreement, while the Braves went public, and Georgia ports had another busy year. 

UPS, Union Deliver Deal

On July 25, Sandy Springs-based UPS and the Teamsters union reached an agreement on a five-year contract, averting a threatened strike by more than 330,000 union members Aug. 1. Union members will vote between Aug. 3 and 22 on ratifying the deal.

“We demanded the best contract in the history of UPS, and we got it,” Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien said in a press release. He said UPS will spend an additional $30 billion over the life of the contract.

UPS CEO Carol Tomé called the agreement a “win-win-win” in rewarding employees with industry-leading pay and benefits “while retaining the flexibility we need to stay competitive, serve our customers, and keep our business strong.”

Among the elements of the deal:

  • A $2.75-per-hour pay increase for full- and part-time employees in 2023 and a $7.50 boost over the next five years, plus an immediate floor of $21 an hour for part-timers.
  • An average top rate of $49 an hour for full-time delivery drivers.
  • Health and safety improvements, including air conditioning in vehicles purchased after Jan. 1, 2024.
  • No more forced overtime on drivers’ days off.
  • Martin Luther King Day as a paid holiday.

The Shipping Water Is Fine

The Port of Savannah had its highest-ever share of the U.S. container trade in fiscal 2023 at 11.2 percent, and the Georgia Ports Authority overall handled its second-highest container volume. For the year that ended on June 30, Georgia ports handled 5.4 million 20-foot equivalent container units (TEUs), down from 2022’s record 5.8 million TEUs but up 20 percent from the pre-pandemic total of 4.5 million TEUs in fiscal 2019.

The Ports Authority set a record for roll-on/roll-off cargo—cars, trucks, and heavy machinery that can be driven onto and off ships—with 723,500 units, reflecting 99,000 additional imported units and 11,500 more exports. Nissan began shipping vehicles from Japan and Mexico through the Port of Brunswick, contributing to that growth. 

The Ports Authority is spending $1.9 billion on infrastructure projects to meet future demand. An expanded Berth 1 at Savannah’s Garden City Terminal opened July 20.

Port Cleans Up with Bradshaw

Kitchenware and cleaning products maker Bradshaw Home has chosen an Effingham County site near the Port of Savannah for a distribution center opening in November, creating 230 jobs.

Most of California-based Bradshaw’s customers are east of the Mississippi River, and the new facility will serve them, CEO Tony Hair said in an announcement on July 25. Bradshaw’s brands include GoodCook, Casabella, and Evercare. 

New Jersey-based NFI will run the 1.2-million-square-foot Bradshaw site. NFI’s Savannah-area operations include a new freight-transfer facility at Savannah’s Garden City Terminal.

Bartow Drinking Japanese

Japanese probiotic beverage maker Yakult is opening its second U.S. manufacturing plant in Bartow County. The company plans to spend $305 million and hire 90 people to produce its fermented dairy beverages. The Cartersville facility is expected to begin shipments in 2026.

Yakult U.S.A. CEO and President Yutaka Misumi cited Georgia’s climate, logistics, and business support in announcing the location July 18. Yakult’s first U.S. plant is in Southern California.

Free Yakult factory tours could join the likes of the Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site and Tellus Science Museum as tourist attractions in Bartow. 

Braves’ New World

The Atlanta Braves are cruising toward the playoffs with the best record in Major League Baseball, and now fans can invest in the team’s success.

On July 18, the Braves became the only publicly traded MLB team when Liberty Media spun off Atlanta Braves Holdings. Liberty previously had a tracking stock for the Braves.

The initial value of the 61.7 million shares of Braves stock traded across three classes on the Nasdaq Stock Market was $2.74 billion. Liberty Media Chairman John Malone owns almost half the shares.

The new company includes the Battery Atlanta mixed-use development, which is being served by an autonomous electric shuttle through March under a pilot program the Cumberland Community Improvement District (CID) launched July 25.

The free Cumberland Hopper uses eight-passenger Beep trams rolling along virtual rails at up to 15 miles per hour with an attendant on board. During the eight-month pilot, the Hopper has a limited schedule on two routes, one circling the Cobb Galleria area and the other crossing a bridge over Interstate 285 to provide access to the Battery and Truist Park. The Cumberland CID plans to include an autonomous shuttle system in its Cumberland Sweep mobility plan, launching in 2027.

Bites, Bits, and EVs

  • Kia is spending more than $200 million and adding 200 jobs at its West Point plant so it can build the all-electric, EV9 sport-utility vehicle. Kia announced in April that the electric vehicle would be its fifth model assembled in Georgia, joining the Telluride, Sorento, Sportage SUVs, and the K5 sedan. 
  • Alice Rolls is stepping down as the president and CEO of Georgia Organics after almost 20 years, during which Georgia has grown to 150 certified-organic farms and 150 farmers markets. Applications for the executive director to succeed Rolls are due Aug. 31.

• Atlanta-based NCR has revealed the names of its successor companies after its planned split this year: NCR Voyix for the digital commerce business and NCR Atleos for the ATM business. The announcement July 24, just after Twitter’s switch to X, noted that Voyix’s X represents “actionable insights delivered to customers” and the ability to link the physical and the digital.