By Jeff Berman / www.logisticsmgmt.com / July 1st, 2016
The contract needs to be ratified by a majority of the 2,600 UPS pilots, with the vote to be completed by August 31. Should the new contract be ratified, the new contract would take effect on September 1, 2016 and then become amendable on September 1, 2021.
UPS Airlines and the Independent Pilots Association (IPA) said yesterday they have reached a tentative agreement in a new five-year labor deal.
UPS officials said that this new agreement is comprised of improvements for all sections of the contract, with specific agreements not being disclosed until the IPA presents the proposed contract to UPS pilots. And they added that the contract needs to be ratified by a majority of the 2,600 UPS pilots, with the vote to be completed by August 31. Should the new contract be ratified, the new contract would take effect on September 1, 2016 and then become amendable on September 1, 2021.
At UPS’s Media Day at its corporate headquarters in Atlanta this week Steve Gaut, UPS Vice President of Public Relations Steve Gaut said because it is appropriate for the IPA to take the lead in communicating the contract’s benefits to its membership it will not disclose specifics of the deal.
“We are pleased to have been able to balance the interests of the two parties and it resolves a number of issues we have had on an ongoing basis over the last few years,” he said. “We are hopeful that the communication process will lead to a successful ratification.”
An industry observer told LM that this vote was just a matter of time.
“Both sides knew they would come to a resolution as did the arbiter,” he explained. “The threat of a labor action just hurts the employees in the end as it drives some shippers away in fear which costs jobs.”
Last October, prospects of a tentative deal being reached appeared to be far from a sure thing, with UPS pilots voting by a 2,252-8 margin to authorize a strike against their employer, the IPA. The IPA said at the time that The IPA said that its five-pilot Executive Board has the authority to formally request a release from federally-mediated negotiations with UPS, as well as the discretion to conduct a strike upon completion of mediation.
UPS made it clear last year that the October vote’s outcome was expected.
“The vote was a symbolic, scripted event, one that’s common in pilot negotiations throughout the industry, ” a UPS spokesman told LM. “Its results were entirely predictable. The reality is, UPS continues to negotiate in good faith for a win-win contract; talks continue to move forward under the direction of the NMB, and our customers remain in good hands with UPS as we enter the busy holiday season.”
And as previously reported, UPS officials told LM that the company continues to negotiate in good faith for a win-win contract.
“We want a contract that’s good for our employees, our customers and the company,” a company spokesman told LM. “We have every reason to believe we’ll arrive at such an agreement, just as we have in all four previous UPS-IPA negotiations. As evidenced by the negotiation dates the NMB (National Mediation Board) has scheduled in November and December, talks continue to progress. Since we’re still at the table under NMB supervision, there’s no merit to any talk of a job action. It’s important to understand that airline contracts talks often take years to complete because of the complexity of the agreements and the safeguards of the Railway Labor Act (RLA, the US labor law that governs airline negotiations).”
That vote, added UPS, was a symbolic gesture in that under the RLA, the NMB controls negotiations, and a strike is not possible without the NMB’s permission, and then only after exhausting a lengthy series of safeguards.
And it pointed out that strike authorization votes are a common tactic in airline negotiations, with pilots’ unions, going back to 2000 having held approximately 20 authorization votes with an average approval rate of 97 percent.
As for UPS’s biggest competitor, FedEx, FedEx union pilots represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) signed a new contract with FedEx management in October 2015, which took effect in November 2015 and becomes amendable in 2021.
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