Time running out for UPS pilots

UPS is trying to find ways to cut US$131 million in wages on its pilots over the next three years. The company is in negotiations with the pilots’ union to find alternatives to furloughs for 10 per cent of its 3,000 pilots. Current possibilities include job sharing, early retirement, leaves of absence and reduced-pay-guarantee routes.

The savings needed are $40 million this year, $38 million for 2010 and $53 million in 2011.

Company spokesman Michael Mangeot said: “For several months, UPS has been working in good faith with our pilot’s union, the Independent Pilots Association, on cost-cutting solutions that could avert a pilot furlough.”

He said that UPS is also saving $1 billion by freezing management salaries, cutting capital expenditures, restructuring and other similar measures.

“Since we are balancing our flight network with the reduced demands of our customers, we are doing less flying,” he said. “For example, two weeks ago we retired our DC-8 fleet. Consequently, we need fewer crew members. Our analysis by flight operations experts, engineers and finance professionals shows that, given current economic conditions, we have approximately 300 more pilots than we need.”

The union has until 9 June to submit suggestions for the savings or UPS will resort to the furloughs.

Another company spokesperson, Norman Black, said: “The air business has been the most affected by this economy. That’s why we are in a position of knowing we are overstaffed with pilots. We’re saying [to the union] if you can help us save money, we can help you save the jobs of fellow pilots.”

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