UPS Moving Ahead With Pilot Furlough Plans

United Parcel Service say unless its pilots union agrees to more money-saving measures, the company will begin laying off hundreds of pilots later this year.

In order to avoid furloughs last year, the Independent Pilots Assocation took some voluntary cost-cutting steps, including taking leave time, early retirement and making sick bank contributions.

UPS says with the economy’s slow recovery, it can’t put off furloughs any onger without more savings.

Spokesperson Mike Mangeot says the company would have to furlough some 300 pilots, with the first wave of 170 starting in May and the rest in 2011.

“This would be a temporary situation, it would go on for some indeterminate period of time. the goal would be to bring out people back as soon as business conditions allow,” Mangeot said.

Louisville is the home of the UPS Worldport air hub, but Mangeot says the furloughs would be spread among pilots around the world.

Union President Bob Thrush says UPS wants the pilots to go beyond voluntary cost-cutting steps and make contract concessions, which it won’t consider.

“We feel like we can meet or beat their cost-saving expectation with this voluntary program. I believe we’ve shown factually with actual numbers that we can do that if we could continue the program and continue to have signups once or twice a year,” Thrush said.

UPS employs about 2,800 pilots worldwide.