UPS pilots union places full-page ad in Wall Street Journal - WDRB 41 Louisville News

UPS pilots union places full-page ad in Wall Street Journal

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Forget a phone call or meeting face-to-face. UPS pilots took their message national.

They're pushing the company to change safety practices after the crash of Flight 1354 -- but UPS leaders say it's really about something else.

A full-page ad went up in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday, capturing the wreckage from UPS Flight 1354. It reads, "UPS, work with your pilots. Don't fight them." And it's paid for by the company's own pilots union.

"Sometimes it's hard to get UPS' attention," said Brian Gaudet, an International Pilots Association (IPA) spokesman. "We're plugged in all the at certain levels, but sometimes you need to raise your message and raise your game to other audiences with UPS."

The IPA is applying public pressure, trying to get pilots more rest between flights.

Flight 1354 took off from Louisville and crashed just short of the runway in Birmingham last year. Crash investigators found the fatigued flight crew made a number of mistakes.

Last week, the NTSB told UPS to fix its safety culture, saying pilots are reluctant to relieve themselves from duty, even when they're fatigued, because they fear a negative impact on their career.

"We want a third party to work with the company and the union to help fix UPS' safety culture, but also establish a scheduling procedure to help mitigate fatigue," Gaudet said.

UPS leaders say the ad is not what it seems.

"We believe, unfortunately, that it has more to do with contract negations going on, as well as a lawsuit that they have with the FAA," said UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot.

UPS says its pilots only fly 30 hours a month, the fewest in the cargo industry, and approximately half of what a passenger pilot flies

"UPS places the highest emphasis on safety, and we always have," Mangeot said.

Amid the public posturing is the loss of two lives: Pilot Cera Beal and First Officer Shanda Fannin.

"They told us on the flight data recorder that they were tired," Gaudet said.

While at odds now, it seems neither side wants that loss to be in vain.

"That's really what we want to do, is make sure we're talking with our folks to make our safety picture as strong as we can," Mangeot said.

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