UPS Pilots Ratify Contract

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UPS Airlines pilots represented by the Independent Pilots Association ratified an eight-year labor agreement Aug. 31 that runs through 2011, providing for wage and pension improvements and work-rule changes.

The contract won 56.5 percent approval from the 2,623 members who voted. It covers 2,775 captains, first officers and flight engineers. The previous contract became amendable Dec. 31, 2003.

"From the beginning of the process our pilots wanted a comprehensive contract, and the union wanted a contract that could keep pace with the global expansion of UPS and its evolution from package delivery to total supply chain solution," IPA president Capt. Tom Nicholson said. "What resulted is a contract that increases pilot compensation, retirement and benefits along with comprehensive work-rule improvements and a ... clause that guarantees our pilots the international flying in the UPS system."

Terms include immediate hourly pay raises of 17.7 percent for captains, IPA spokesman Brian Gaudet said. First officer immediate hourly raises range from 18 percent to 25.8 percent depending on length of service. There are also raises in later years of the contract. UPS pilots had made on average more than $175,000 a year, according to the company.

Healthcare premiums for family policies will rise about $200 a month for all pilots, Mr. Gaudet said. Signing bonuses of $34,000 to $60,000 are also part of the contract, he said.

"This contract meets our longstanding goals of rewarding our people while maintaining the ability to remain competitive," Bob Lekites, vice president of UPS Airline and International Operations, said in a statement. "This is a great day for UPS."

Meanwhile, FedEx Express, a unit of FedEx Corp., reached a tentative agreement with the Air Line Pilots Association, International, the collective bargaining representative for FedEx Express pilots. The two parties announced the deal Aug. 27.

FedEx, Memphis, TN, and the union said the agreement is subject to review before being finalized. Terms are not being released as they must be reviewed and approved by the FedEx ALPA Master Executive Council.

The pilots had said their main concerns were job security, work rules, retirement benefits and healthcare. If approved, the deal would be subject to a ratification vote by 4,700 FedEx pilots. If ratified, the four-year contract would become amendable in 2010.

Mr. Nicholson commented on the tentative FedEx agreement at the press conference.

"Our new contract, along with the tentative agreement ... between Federal Express and the Air Line Pilots Association, not only sets the pattern for the cargo business, but also sets the standard for the aviation industry," he said.

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