UNITED PARCEL SERVICE FAILS TO DELIVER A FAIR CONTRACT TO ITS OWN SAFETY-CRITICAL WORKERS AT GLOBAL OPERATIONS CENTER
FLIGHT DISPATCHERS IN LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, TAKE A STRIKE AUTHORIZATION VOTE AFTER YEARS OF STALLED NEGOTIATIONS
UPS flight dispatchers have authorized their elected union leaders to call a strike if that’s what is needed to secure a fair contract, union officers announced Monday, April 9, 2018.
The vote was 81-0 in favor of granting top officers at Transport Workers Union Local 549 the right to initiate a walkout, which would paralyze the world’s largest package delivery company.
Local 549 has been trying to negotiate an updated contract with UPS for more than three years, and the dispatchers have gone approximately four years without a wage adjustment. UPS, however, has not shown serious interest in reaching an agreement.
“It is incredibly irresponsible for UPS to risk their air delivery service for their customers by playing labor games with such a critical group of dedicated professionals,” TWU International Rep. Gary Petersen said.
The dispatchers, who are based in Louisville, Kentucky, prepare pre-flight plans for UPS aircraft. They plot each plane’s course, calculate the fuel requirements, coordinate with maintenance personnel on any maintenance issues with the aircraft, and track each flight in progress.
Under federal law, a flight can’t depart without the approval of the dispatcher and the pilot in command.
Dispatchers are seeking pay parity with dispatchers at the major air carriers like American Airlines and Delta. A UPS dispatcher at the top of the scale makes approximately 26% less than his or her counterparts at the major carriers.
The dispatchers also want UPS to fully-fund the pension plan by increasing contributions. UPS began underfunding the plan during the uncertain economic times following 9/11 and continued the practice after the 2009 Recession.
With the strike authorization from the membership,
Transport Workers Union Local 549 officers can ask the National Mediation Board to be released from federal mediation, and then call a walkout after a mandatory cooling-off period. The strike authorization vote was taken last month.