Pilots Face Concessions or Layoffs

In a move that underlines the company’s need for “belt-tightening” in a gradually-recovering economy, the world’s leading package delivery shipper, the Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), intends laying-off as least 300 pilots.

Hard landing The proposed lay-offs – which will comprise nearly 11 percent of UPS’ 2,800 pilots – will take effect in May, in case the company, in consultation with its employees union, fails to work out a way to increase its savings.

Already in the process of slashing 1,800 small-package jobs in US operating districts, UPS averted the pilot layoffs last year, largely because it was working jointly with the Independent Pilots Association to identify ways to reduce its operating costs. An agreement for $131 million in labor concessions over a three-year period had forestalled the layoff situation last year.

If the talks come to a naught, the pilots to be furloughed will be intimated in May, and 170 of them will likely be laid-off this year alone.

Commenting on the company’s need to take the pilot layoff route, UPS Airlines President Bob Lekites said: “Even though the economy has begun to turn around, UPS anticipates a very gradual recovery and a continued need for belt-tightening.” Lekites added that the layoff is “a painful decision for our people, but one that is right for the on-going health of our business.”