UPS, Pilots Reach Tentative Contract

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UPS Inc. and the Independent Pilots Association have reached a tentative agreement on a labor contract to end a three-year-old stalemate that has included the threat of a strike.

The agreement would provide wage and pension improvements and various changes to work rules. It would let the Atlanta-based carrier reward its pilots while maintaining the flexibility to serve customers and expand the business.

Details will not be disclosed before the IPA  presents the tentative contract to all UPS pilots. The deal needs approval by a majority of the 2,700 pilots. If ratified, the contract would not become amendable until the end of 2011.

The vote probably will be completed by mid-September, according to the Appleton, WI-based union.

UPS and the union began talks in October 2002. A federal mediation board had overseen the talks since June 2004. The pilots' contract became amendable Dec. 31, 2003, but remained unchanged. Word of the tentative agreement comes six months after the union said it would ask for release from mediation so it could strike.

Meanwhile, FedEx Corp.  remains in talks with its pilots on a new contract. FedEx pilots are working under a 1999 contract that became amendable in 2004. In October, FedEx, Memphis, TN, asked a federal mediator to join its talks, which have been going on for two years.

Next up for UPS is negotiations with the Teamsters union. The National Master United Parcel Service Agreement, which covers 200,000 Teamsters at UPS, expires Aug. 1, 2008.

In a survey of Teamsters members at UPS released last month, 89 percent urged the union to pursue early contract negotiations so that pensions and healthcare would be protected.

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