A UPS representative offered this explanation to Blue Jersey's Juan Melli.
"I saw your blog post on UPS. What the Star Ledger doesn't explain is that UPS doesn't legally have the right to give same sex benefits to Ms. Brazier because she is part of the Teamsters and any changes to benefits have to be done as part of the collective bargain process.
The contact 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. We have already brought up this issue to the Teamsters for consideration.
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 New Jersey, even though the state has failed to recognize gay partners as married spouses. Beyond health care, UPS also offers benefits such as medical leave, pension rights, funeral leave, relocation and transfer benefits. We recently added same-sex benefits as part of a new contract with UPS pilots too. The situation regarding Ms. Brazier and her partner is just as disappointing to UPS as it is to them. Our corporate policy is very clear. But for unionized employees, we can only address the issue through the union at contract renewal time.