In Mid-October, the UPS pilots, represented by the International Pilot’s Association union, voted an overwhelming 2,251 to 8 to strike against UPS. This vote does not guarantee a strike, but rather opens the door for the IPA to leave the National Mediation Board’s negotiations. Voting to strike comes after four long years of negotiations to determine a better benefits and salary contract.

Before the strike can be official, the National Mediation Board must grant a release from the negotiations. Because of the ongoing failure to offer a suitable contract for pilots, the IPA feels a release could be granted. Regardless, the vote shows that the pilots are serious about getting a fair deal, and that they are willing to do what is necessary to finish the job and walk away with a suitable and acceptable contract.

UPS, however, says the strike is simply a symbol, but that the negotiations have all been in good faith. This report comes after FedEx successfully drafted a six-year contract with its own pilots. If the pilots do strike because no contract could be reached, it would create a serious problem for UPS and its on-time delivery guarantees.

Currently, pilots are concerned about the work rules, which do not allow enough rest time between flights and thus hinder the safety of the pilots. They are also concerned about pay, retirement benefits and health care coverage.

Talks between UPS and IPA are scheduled to resume in early November. The scheduled session could be canceled by the National Mediation Board if necessary, and a strike could still occur if an appropriate plan cannot be reached.

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