UPS work­ers threaten to go on strike

New Straits Times - - Busi­ness -

NEW YORK: A union rep­re­sent­ing 1,200 United States air main­te­nance work­ers at United Par­cel Ser­vice Inc (UPS) turned up pres­sure on the com­pany on Sun­day to set­tle a three-year con­tract dis­pute, say­ing it would seek clear­ance to strike.

The union is tak­ing its griev­ances di­rectly to UPS share­hold­ers, run­ning as an ad­ver­tise­ment an open let­ter to David Ab­ney, the com­pany’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, ahead of a share­hold­ers meet­ing on Thurs­day.

The let­ter was signed by nearly 78 per cent of mem­bers of Lo­cal 2727 of the Team­sters union, ask­ing the firm to keep air me­chan­ics’ cur­rent health plan and not de­mand other con­ces­sions.

“We’re not will­ing to back off of this and we will strike over it,” said lo­cal pres­i­dent Tim Boyle.

The com­pany said that it con­tin­ues to ne­go­ti­ate in good faith with the union.

“Talks con­tinue un­der the con­trol of the Na­tional Me­di­a­tion Board, which has sched­uled ses­sions sev­eral months out,” said Mike Man­geot, a spokesman for UPS Air­lines.

Union mem­bers will also protest at the UPS share­hold­ers’ meet­ing on Thurs­day in Wilm­ing­ton, Delaware, with protests out­side the meet­ing and, for union mem­bers who are also share­hold­ers, ques­tions to com­pany of­fi­cials in­side.

The union plans ad­di­tional protests on Tues­day in At­lanta, where the pack­age de­liv­ery com­pany is head­quar­tered.

The union al­ready voted in Novem­ber to strike, but saw that re­quest de­nied by fed­eral au­thor­i­ties. The air main­te­nance work­ers are gov­erned by the US Rail­way Labour Act, which only al­lows strikes af­ter it finds ne­go­ti­a­tions and me­di­a­tion have failed.

But if the com­pany does not agree to keep mem­bers’ health plans in­tact at the next bar­gain­ing ses­sion on May 11 and 12, Boyle said the union would ask again for per­mis­sion to strike.

Even if the board grants per­mis­sion, though, a strike would take at least an­other 30 days be­cause of other hur­dles. Reuters

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