UPS Pilots Launch Strike Center in Response to End of Mediation
UPS pilots have launched a Strike Operations Center in anticipation of the end of mediation proceedings. The group will serve as the union pilots’ nerve center, should a strike occur. According to the Independent Pilots Association, after five years of bargaining, including two at the federal mediation level, it is “crunch time” for pilots working at UPS. The group believes a strike could be imminent.
The pilots and UPS are due to prevent their final bargaining positions soon and if an impasse is declared under the Railway Labor Act, UPS will proceed with the strike. The center was created as a strategic tool for the union to prepare for the strike and make the process easier and more organized.
Most familiar with the proceedings have lost hope that a solution could be found through mediation, despite the long-term ongoing attempts, but UPS remained positive that a resolution is still possible without a strike.
According to President of the Independent Pilots Association (IPA) and UPS pilot Robert Travis, "For five years, UPS has thumbed its nose at the negotiation process.”
The largest sticking point between the parties is work rules intended to limit pilot fatigue — though pay, healthcare, and retirement benefits remain in contention, according to union officials. In 2013, a UPS cargo aircraft crashed in Birmingham, Alabama, killing both crew members and reports showed multiple errors, including fatigue, contributed to the crash. Those in favor of changes to the rules point out that passenger pilots can only fly nine hours at a time, while cargo pilots are allowed to fly up to 16 hours.