DHL pilots balloted on strike action

Nearly 2,000 pilots at four of DHL’s five North American carriers – Atlas Air, Southern Air, Polar Air, ABX – are being balloted on strike action in a dispute over working conditions. Pilots at a fifth DHL carrier – Kalitta Air – have already voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike, said the airline affiliate of the Teamsters union.
According to the union, current rules mean that pilots can be on duty for almost 28 hours without rest, quoting Southern Air pilot Captain Bryan Holmberg, who said: “It’s time the company finally stop putting the safety of our pilots and the public at risk just to increase profits.”
According to a comparison study conducted by Teamsters, DHL-contracted pilots are paid considerably less and work much longer hours than pilots who fly for UPS and FedEx.
The five airlines provide the international link for DHL’s North American operation and an estimated 70% of its total annual freight ton miles, says the union.
Atlas pilot, Captain Mike Griffith, added: “DHL is relying on US pilots to fly across the globe for their business, yet the airlines they work with are robbing pilots of fair, industry-standard contracts.”
Last week, Atlas said in a statement that its pilots did not have the right to strike because of stipulations in the current agreement.
"The union also announced that it is taking a strike vote. The union has no right to strike regardless of any strike vote," Atlas said last week.
"The Atlas and Southern Collective Bargaining Agreements provide that upon a merger, if the parties cannot reach a joint contract, any open issues are resolved through an orderly resolution process.
"The Southern acquisition is very good for Atlas and Southern pilots. As the merger details were initially announced, the International Leadership as well as that of Local 1224’s recognised the benefits of this merger by endorsing the transaction."

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