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UPS Pilots Approve Contract Through 2011

The accord includes pay raises of as much as 25.8%, large signing bonuses and higher healthcare premiums.

September 01, 2006|From the Associated Press

ATLANTA — UPS Inc. pilots have approved a new contract with the world's largest shipping carrier that includes hefty pay raises, large signing bonuses and higher healthcare premiums. The deal ends a lengthy battle that was mired by threats of a walkout.

The Independent Pilots Assn. said Thursday that 56.5% of the UPS pilots who voted approved the deal, which runs through 2011.

The deal was reached after more than three years of talks. The contract, together with a tentative agreement between FedEx Corp. and its pilots, furthers a trend in recent years that has seen pay for cargo airline pilots shoot up while the pay of many commercial airline pilots has declined.

"The profit is so much greater in moving packages, freight and cargo than in moving human beings," union spokesman Brian Gaudet said.

Terms of the new UPS contract include immediate hourly pay raises of 17.7% for captains, Gaudet said. Pay for first officers will immediately rise by 18% to 25.8% an hour depending on length of service. There also will be 3% annual pay raises for all pilots in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, Gaudet said.

Healthcare premiums for family policies will increase by about $200 a month for all pilots, Gaudet said. Signing bonuses of $34,000 to $60,000 for pilots are also part of the contract, he said, noting that money will compensate the pilots in part for not getting raises since the last contract.

Pilots also secured protections to make sure they have a hand in UPS' expanded international flying, the union said. Roughly 2,652 pilots were eligible to vote.

UPS pilots had been making on average more than $175,000 a year, the company said. The new contract will boost average pilot pay to about $206,000 a year, UPS spokesman Mark Giuffre said.

Officials at Atlanta-based UPS said they were pleased by the deal being approved.

"We are thrilled to have a ratified contract," said Bob Lekites, vice president of UPS' airline and international operations. "We are excited about standing shoulder to shoulder with our people and moving forward to serve our customers and grow our business."

Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx and its pilots union, meanwhile, announced this week that they had reached a tentative agreement on a new contract running until 2010.

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