Teamster mechanics file for release from mediation with UPS, move closer to strike

After more than three and a half years of UPS refusing to agree to a new contract with aircraft mechanics and related classifications, the mechanics have requested that the National Mediation Board (NMB) release them from mediated negotiations with the company, Teamsters Local 2727 said.

International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division Director David Bourne delivered the request to the NMB. He also advised the NMB that Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa has pledged his and the International Union´s full support of the mechanics´ request.

In response, the NMB may offer the mechanics, represented by the Teamsters Local 2727, and UPS the opportunity to let a neutral third-party arbitrator decide remaining contract issues. If either the union or the company refuses to arbitrate the dispute, a 30-day “cooling off” period would be triggered and the mechanics could then be free to strike any time after the period ends.

The aircraft maintenance workers voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike in November. In total, 80% of the company´s 1,200 maintenance employees participated in the strike vote, and 98% of those workers voted in favor of a strike.

Despite continued growth, UPS is calling for reductions in health benefits for 1,200 maintenance workers who do physically demanding and often dangerous work around jet engine aircraft and equipment, and toxic chemicals and exhaust. UPS is also calling for a reduction in benefits for retirees.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million men and women in the United States and Canada.