Following a four-year gridlock between the pilots of the international courier service United Parcel Service (UPS) and their employer, the Independent Pilots Association (IPA) has voted on Friday to authorize the pilots to embark on strike action until their requests are met.
Unless UPS takes immediate steps to remedy the situation, the other employees of the service may join in the strike action, and this may ultimately ground the company to a halt.
Captain Robert Travis, president of the IPA, noted that 99% of the executive board of the Independent Pilots Association has on Friday authorized the 2,500 men and women who fly for UPS to proceed on strike.
To this extent, the pilots are calling to be released from mediations with the company, and the IPA granted this request.
About 20% of the 2,500 pilots flying for UPS are based in Anchorage, and IPA insists the pilots are calling for more healthcare benefits, better compensation, and pensions, as well as increased safety while they are on the job. The pilots are also asking to install scheduling rules that uphold operational safety.
Travis said the pilots are tired, and they are not receiving any help or fatigue mitigation from UPS.
But the management of UPS disclosed that they are not too surprised with the decision of the union to authorize a strike for the pilots, because this is a normal feature of contract negations. UPS denies any news that its pilots are not well-taken care of, expressing hopes that the impasse will be resolved soon enough.
“UPS pilots do a great job of flying for us and UPS in turn does a great job of taking care of its pilots,” said Mike Mangeot, UPS Spokesperson. “They earn on average $238,000 per year, they have two fully funded pension plans and get health benefits at a discount. Typically they fly about 10 days a month, half as much as the passenger pilots fly.”
According to UPS officials, it might take several months before any mediation session can hold between the company and its pilots. But the problem is that if the 250,000 employees of the company decide to join the pilots in their strike, then all operations in the company will be effectively shut down.