UPS Pilots Start Informational Picketing Tomorrow

The Independent Pilots Association, the pilots union for UPS, begins a series of informational pickets tomorrow at UPS Stores in Atlanta, Dallas, Louisville, KY, and Orlando, FL.

Prior to the pickets, Capt. Tom Nicholson, president of IPA, will hold a press conference in Atlanta. The IPA also has begun a multimedia communications campaign targeting consumers. An ad ran in USA Today on Monday highlighting the upcoming picketing.

UPS, Atlanta, and its pilots union will resume contract talks with the National Mediation Board, an independent government agency, on Dec. 19-23 in Green Bay, WI.

This will be the third meeting in four months. UPS and the IPA met in Washington for talks Nov. 7-8. According to both sides, wage and pension issues still are the main sticking points.

The talks began in October 2002. The pilots' contract became amendable Dec. 31, 2003, but has remained unchanged.

The talks will resume the same week as the company's peak shipping day, when UPS expects to deliver more than 20 million packages for Christmas. Some UPS customers shifted business to rivals such as FedEx Corp. in 2002 when UPS was in the midst of contract talks with drivers, package sorters and loaders, though UPS has said it hasn't seen any real movement of customers as a result of concerns about a possible strike.

The Railway Labor Act requires a series of steps before the union can strike, including a declaration from the National Mediation Board of an impasse in talks, a release of the two sides from further negotiations and a 30-day “cooling off” period.

In September, the union said its pilots had granted it authorization to call a strike. The union also said it was prepared to formally request a release from mediation. UPS has said it would not be surprised by such a request.

Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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