Pilots chide UPS contract optimism

Pilots chide UPS contract optimism

The labor union rep resenting United Parcel Service's 2,500 pilots on Thursday said the world's largest package carrier had been "overly optimistic" about resolving a long-running contract dispute and that a near-term resolution was not in sight.

Last month, UPS and the Independent Pilots Association announced they would seek a federal mediator after nearly two years of talks had failed to produce an agreement.

UPS and its pilots have been in negotiations since November 2002, but have failed to agree terms in scheduling, compensation, pension, scope and benefits.

Mediated negotiations are due to start in August.

Capt. John Andersen, treasurer of the IPA, on Wednesday said the union wanted "to set the record straight" for Wall Street analysts on the status of contract negotiations.

"Given our commitment to transparency we felt it was important for investors to know the status of our talks with UPS," Andersen said. "On UPS's last two quarterly calls there were questions about the status of our negotiations. Both times we felt that UPS CFO Scott Davis's answers were overly optimistic at best, and misinformed at worst."

He added: "It's important for you to know, and to pass on to investors, that pilot labor is an unresolved issue at UPS, with no near-term resolution in sight."

The statement was timed to coincide with the release of UPS's second-quarter results.

Davis said in a conference call that the company was "optimistic as we head into mediation." He added that both UPS and the pilots remained interested in resolving the dispute.