Pilots hold the key when it comes to air cargo services. At UPS, the Independent Pilots Association (IPA), representing 2,500 pilots, said that while the company and the union have been in negotiations since October 2002, it was unlikely they would reach an agreement using bargaining facilitation services of the National Mediation Board. The next logical step is for both parties to request mediation services of the National Mediation Board.
FedEx pilots started talks in April focused on work rules. The 4,100 pilots represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), are working with a contract that was signed four years ago and, under provisions of the contract, it is now open for amendment. The initial contract between FedEx and its pilots was the result of years of bitter negotiation which reached a low in December 1998 when the pilots threatened a strike during the Christmas shipping season. The two sides reached an agreement, the pilots’ first with FedEx, and it was approved by members in 1999.
In separate news, Northwest Airlines reduced the amount of savings it sought from pilots to $300 million per year, down from the $415 million the airline had sought. The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents Northwest pilots, had proposed a package that included $200 million in cost savings. ALPA said Northwest management had also not responded to components of the proposal that include provisions for stock and profit sharing.
At Delta Air Lines, ALPA received additional financial information from the airline as it attempted to resume talks centered on wage cuts. Delta had asked pilots for a 45% wage cut that would provide $800 million in savings for the airline. The union had countered with an offer that would save $300 million. American Airlines and United Airlines have both won significant wage concessions from pilots in their contract negotiations.