UPS Pilots Prepare for Contract Talks

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The Independent Pilots Association, Louisville, KY, the bargaining unit for the 2,500 pilots who fly for United Parcel Service, Atlanta, will enter into negotiations with the company Oct. 15.

Hoping to ratify a contract before the current terms expire Dec. 31, 2003, the pilots and UPS management agreed to begin negotiating 15 months ahead of schedule.

Insiders said these negotiations should be of less concern for direct marketers than other union negotiations because UPS pilots are covered by the Railway Labor Act, which means they cannot strike without obtaining an impasse declaration from the National Mediation Board.

The pilots, led by IPA president Capt. Bob Miller, said they seek a contract that is competitive within the industry and on par with those being negotiated with other UPS employee groups earlier this year.

"It is our hope that as [UPS] has increased its competitive edge in the marketplace, that they will share that success with the employees that helped make it possible," Miller said. "Just as negotiations with the drivers and mechanics have produced industry-leading contracts, we would certainly anticipate the same will hold true for the pilots."

The pilots also will discuss work-hour rules to diminish the incidence of fatigue as well as continuing practices that contribute to their exemplary safety record.

Since the IPA formed in 1990, it has negotiated two contracts for its members, in 1991 and 1998.

UPS and unionized mechanics and other U.S. workers at its in-house airline reached a tentative agreement this month on a new five-year contract. It runs through Nov. 1, 2006, and is retroactive to Aug. 1, 2001. It covers 1,140 aircraft mechanics, flight simulator technicians, utility workers and maintenance controllers working for UPS Airlines, which is based in Louisville and has a 250-aircraft fleet.

UPS employees also represented by the Teamsters recently approved a new six-year contract negotiated in July. That deal calls for a 22 percent wage increase over six years for 230,000 UPS workers and provides the largest wage and benefit increase in UPS history.

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