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UPS pilots’ union to announce strike vote results Friday

The union that represents UPS pilots is planning to announce the results of a vote on a potential strike against one of the nation’s largest parcel delivery companies on Friday. 

The Louisville, Ky.-based Independent Pilots Association (IPA), which has more than 2,600 members, said Tuesday that it would announce Friday morning the results of a vote on a potential strike against UPS. That vote began on Oct. 1.

Union leaders have said the vote is an effort to win concessions from UPS after multiple years of protracted labor talks. 

{mosads}”A strike is the least desirable outcome of labor negotiations, but after four years of contract talks with UPS we’ve reached a point where UPS needs to hear loud and clear from our membership that they are willing to do whatever it takes to secure an industry leading contract,” IPA President Robert Travis said in a statement when the election was first announced. 

“UPS has stalled and delayed, unnecessarily prolonging our negotiations,” Travis continued then. “UPS management has created a bitter standoff with its pilot employees. In sharp contrast, UPS archrival Federal Express recently announced a tentative agreement with its pilots. If ratified, the FedEx pilot deal will bring labor peace to our main competitor, given that the pilots are the only major employee group at FedEx covered by a collective bargaining agreement.”

UPS painted a starkly different picture of the contentious negotiations, saying it “continues to negotiate in good faith for a win-win contract.

“Talks continue to progress under the direction of the NMB, as evidenced by the negotiations dates they have set for the rest of the year,” UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot said in a statement that provided to The Hill. 

“This vote is a symbolic, scripted gesture, a common tactic in airline contract negotiations,” Mangeot continued. “We have every reason to believe we will complete these negotiations successfully, just as we have with every other previous IPA contract. Business continues as usual here at UPS.” 

The union and UPS have been at odds since 2011 over wages and retirement benefits for cargo pilots who work for the company. Federal mediators have been involved in the talks since February 2014, but a vote by the union to strike this fall would end the ongoing mediation between the parties. 

The company and the union cast the thus-far unsuccessful federal intervention as a normal part of the labor process when it was first announced in February of last year. 

“This joint request [for mediation] reflects the desire of both parties to continue to progress toward an agreement that is good for UPS, its customers and employees,” UPS and the IPA said in a joint statement in February 2014.  

“Not only is [the National Mediation Board (NMB)] mediation a common part of the negotiations process under the [Railway Labor Act], the NMB has successfully mediated every contract UPS has negotiated with the IPA,” the joint 2014 statement continued. “The parties have utilized their best efforts over the past two and a half years of negotiations, and have not yet reached agreement in the contract areas of scheduling, compensation, pension, scope and benefits.” 

The IPA said Tuesday that it will request a release from the federal negotiations if the Friday strike vote is successful. 

-This story was updated with new information on Oct. 21 at 10:08 a.m. 

Tags Independent Pilots Association IPA union National Mediation Board NMB UPS

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