Fri, May 21, 2010
54 Will Be Grounded Beginning Next Week
In what it says is a cost-cutting
measure, United Parcel Service (UPS) has announced it is going
through with the furlough of as many as 300 pilots as part of
a effort to cut $1.4 billion in overhead. The plan was first
unvieled in February, and the first 54 are scheduled to be idled
beginning next week.
The Business Journal of Greensboro, North Carolina reports that
UPS says the furloughs are necessary because it has more pilots
that it currently needs. It has cut the number of operational
aircraft to 214 from 262 at it peak in 2003. It has also retired
many of the older aircraft which require a crew of three, and is
flying 15 percent fewer hours as the result of the economic
In a written statement, UPS justified the furlough as a cost
saving measure. "At an average expense of $185,000 per year in pay
and benefits, a well-run airline cannot afford to just
‘carry’ pilots in hopes that business will improve
quickly," the statement read.
The Independent Pilots Association, which represents UPS pilots,
says the pilots have voluntarily assisted UPS in a attempt to
forestall the furloughs. The union says that pilots took reductions
in flight pay guarantees, unpaid leave, and other measures to
generate cost savings for UPS. Capt. Robert Thrush, President of
the API, said pilots took it on themselves to produce over $100
million in savings, which he says should keep the pilots employed
into next year.
""UPS has crossed a line by furloughing 300 pilots," Thrush
said. "We had cost-savings on the table that would save all of
these jobs and UPS chose not to take that cost-savings and to lay
the pilots off anyway. When UPS hired each one of us here, they
made a commitment to all of us that this was the last job we would
ever have or ever need."
It is the first time UPS has furloughed pilots in the 22 years
of the operation of UPS Airlines.
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