UPS counters mechanics’ letter to McConnell, promising 14,000 additional Teamster jobs

Sen. Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, promised that last month’s sweeping tax breaks for corporations would translate into wage increases and more jobs for American workers. The union representing aircraft mechanics who work for UPS Airlines are now holding the Senator from Kentucky accountable via a letter written to McConnell, asking him to intervene on their behalf and pressure the carrier to give them raises.

UPS Airlines disputes the mechanics’ claims, saying that that the letter to McConnell and the publicity it aims to generate are, “simply another tactic by the union and its PR agency to influence contract talks.”

Represented by Teamsters Local 2727, the mechanics complain that they have not seen raises in four years, while the integrator’s management staff have seen multiple raises. The mechanics also point out that UPS CEO David Abney had assured UPS employees that the tax cuts would translate into wage increases. With the reform signed into law, the union is calling on the Atlanta-based integrator to make good on its promises.

UPS has responded, telling Air Cargo World that, since 2016, UPS had announced 15 projects that will add more than 14,000 Teamster jobs by the end of 2018. “With tax reform, we anticipate more investment opportunities that will create more jobs, in keeping with this track record,” UPS Airlines public relations manager Jim Mayer said in response to the mechanics union’s claims.

Negotiations are being mediated by the National Mediation Board— a federal agency that facilitates the resolution of labor-management disputes in the rail and airline industries.

“The reality is, talks continue, overseen by the National Mediation Board [NMB],” Mayer said. “There’s nothing unusual about the NMB being involved; they’ve been in control of talks since early on.” Mayer said that UPS Airlines would continue to work through the NMB’s process, adding that the express freight airline was confident of reaching an agreement that benefited all parties involved, including the mechanics, UPS, and its stakeholders.

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