News from Teamsters Local 2727: As the holiday shipping season moves into high gear, UPS aircraft mechanics and related employees who maintain the company’s massive air cargo fleet are launching a nationwide advertising campaign to warn customers about the troubles brewing at UPS.
The multibillion-dollar logistics giant is trying to severely cut its aircraft mechanics’ health care benefits, causing growing unrest and instability within the approximately 1,300-person workforce.
Starting Tuesday and continuing through the holiday season, the aircraft mechanics are running advertisements on the worsening situation in editions of USA Today and the Seattle Times in seven of UPS’ biggest markets: Washington, Atlanta, the greater Cincinnati area, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle. The advertisement is also running on Facebook and Instagram nationwide.
It states: “What every American should know before they ship with UPS during the holidays: UPS wants to make deep cuts to its aircraft mechanics’ health care benefits. That’s why the 1,300 aircraft mechanics who keep UPS planes running during the holiday season are ready to strike.”
“Health care is the last thing UPS CEO David Abney and his executives have to worry about this holiday season, but they can’t say the same thing for the employees who keep UPS running,” said Doug Davis who is based in Louisville, Ky. and has been with UPS for 16 years. “I’m worried about being able to give my daughter the health care she needs even though I work at one of the biggest and most successful companies in the world. It shouldn’t be that way. Our customers should know what UPS is trying to do to our families and know that UPS aircraft mechanics are ready to do whatever it takes to protect our health care benefits.”
UPS mechanics are stationed at more than 90 airports across the country and work around the clock to maintain the company’s cargo aircraft. For the third quarter of 2017, UPS again exceeded earnings estimates and made billions in revenues due in part to the back-breaking work of its aircraft mechanics. The workers do physically demanding and often dangerous work around jet engine aircraft and equipment and toxic chemicals and exhaust. Despite continued growth and multibillion dollar plane purchases, UPS continues to call for massive reductions in health benefits for the 1,300 workers.
“The holiday shipping season is UPS’ busiest and most critical time, and before our customers ship with UPS, we want them to know about the instability in our already distressed workforce,” said Tim Boyle, President of Teamsters Local 2727. “The aircraft maintenance workforce is united and won’t let UPS executives gamble with our families’ health care.”
The workers have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike should it become necessary. They recently filed a request with the federal National Mediation Board (NMB) asking to be released from mediated contract negotiations with UPS. The request stated that additional mediation will only “drain the limited, taxpayer-funded resources of the NMB and the likewise limited resources of the union, all while UPS simply plays the waiting game and continues to reap year after year of record profits.”
In May, more than 900 of the mechanics sent an open letter to UPS CEO David Abney and the board of directors. The letter cited concerns about UPS’ attempt to strip them of their health benefits and stated that they will do whatever it takes to secure a fair contract.