© 2022 Louisville Public Media

Public Files:
89.3 WFPL · 90.5 WUOL-FM · 91.9 WFPK

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact info@lpm.org or call 502-814-6500
89.3 WFPL News | 90.5 WUOL Classical 91.9 WFPK Music | KyCIR Investigations
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

UPS Pilots' Union Votes For Strike If Negotiations Fail

UPS plane
Picasa 2.0

The union representing UPS pilots says its members have voted overwhelmingly to give its executive board the discretion to initiate a strike if federally mediated contract negotiations fail.

The vote by the Louisville-based Independent Pilots Association was 2,252-8.

The vote doesn’t mean a strike is imminent. The two sides have been taking part in federally mediated negotiations. The union would have to request to be released from the talks before it could call a strike.

The pilots have been working under the terms of their previous contract, which expired in 2011. The IPA represents 2,600 UPS pilots — roughly 1,700 of whom are based in Louisville.

IPA spokesman Brian Gaudet said the union is focused a variety of issues.

“It’s not like it’s down to one or two or even three things," he said. "Again, our primary issue through the duration of these negotiations — that was punctuated with the loss of a crew in Birmingham during the summer of 2013 — is fatigue.   We need to improve these schedules and make it safer to fly with UPS."

A two-person flight crew was killed when a UPS cargo plane crashed in Birmingham, Ala., in 2013. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the pilots had been given adequate rest.

A UPS spokesman said the company places the highest emphasis on safety and crew rest, and UPS will continue to negotiate in good faith. He said it’s not unusual for contract talks to take several years.

“It is not at all uncommon, given the protections of the Railway Labor Act and the complexity of pilot contracts, for them to take several years to complete," said UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot. "Our last pilot contract took about four years, our last contract with our aircraft mechanics took about four years.”

The two sides are scheduled to resume negotiations with a federal mediator early next month.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.