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UPS aircraft maintenance employees ratify new deal with Teamsters

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
April 07, 2011

Aircraft mechanics at UPS represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) ratified a new labor agreement through November 1, 2013, according to UPS officials.

UPS said that 69 percent of the 1,136 IBT members that voted approved the contract which covers 1,200 aircraft maintenance technicians and employees in related trades at UPS, by a 69 percent to 31 percent margin.

“We are pleased that our mechanics have agreed to this contract offer,” said Mitch Nichols, UPS Airlines president, in a statement. “At UPS, we have a long tradition of rewarding our people while managing our business effectively. This is a great contract that meets both of those objectives.”

IBT officials said that this contract maintains existing health care for UPS employees and secures an average wage increase of 17 percent over the life of the contract and retroactive pay through November 2006, which is when the previous contract became amendable.

This negotiation brings an end to the somewhat contentious negotiations between UPS and IBT in the past.

In June 2010, the National Mediation Board, an independent United States Government agency that coordinates labor-management relations within the U.S. railroad and airline sectors, rejected a request made by the Teamsters Airline Division to be released by contract negotiations.

The Teamsters had requested that its Local 2727 that represents UPS aircraft mechanics be released from contract negotiations, which have been ongoing without a contract for more than four years at that time.

In a notice sent to UPS and the Teamsters last June, the NMB said that the record of the negotiations to date demonstrates a release is not in order at that time, adding that the decision means that UPS and Local 2727 remained in recess subject to the mediator’s call back to the negotiating table.

And Robert Combine, UPS aircraft mechanic and President of Teamsters Local 2727, said at that time that UPS’ aircraft mechanics simply wanted a fair agreement that recognizes they have been without a new contract since 2006.

Combine added that UPS has been profitable since that time during the economic downturn, noting that UPS had been unwilling to make a reasonable settlement offer, regarding questions of job security for its Teamster members against foreign outsourcing and protecting health benefits.

UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot told LM last June that UPS was confident it would be able to reach a mutually favorable agreement with its aircraft mechanics through the NMB supervised contract negotiations. And he expressed confidence at the time that they would resume in good faith for an agreement that rewards its mechanics and protects its competitive position.

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said in a statement this week that the fact that the membership voted by 69 percent in favor of this contract shows the strength and the power of the Teamsters.

“This is an industry-leading contract that secures for our members the economics and benefits they deserve,” said Hoffa. “That’s a testament to Bob Combine, his negotiating team at Local 2727 and the strength and resolve of the membership.”

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About the Author

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Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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