UPS workers threaten to go on strike
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