LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Members of the Louisville-based Independent Pilots Association have overwhelmingly ratified a five-year labor contract with UPS Airlines that will deliver a $40,000 to $60,000 bonus to each pilot, an immediate increase in base pay and “more favorable” rest policies for overnight and international flights.

The IPA’s 2,500 pilots -- many of whom are based in UPS’ global air hub of Louisville -- voted 91 percent in favor of the contract, according to a news release from the pilots union Wednesday.

The contract, which runs from Sept. 1, 2016 to Sept. 1, 2021, includes an immediate pay hike of 14.65 percent, followed by annual increases of 3 percent over the life of the deal, according to the pilots association.

UPS will also pay a one-time “signing bonus” of $60,000 to each captain and $40,000 to each first officer.

The average UPS pilot covered by the contract earns $238,000 annually, UPS said in 2015. Captains, who rank higher than first officers, are guaranteed $255,128 and typically earn about $290,000, UPS said at the time.

The deal was a long time in the making. The pilots’ previous contract with UPS ran through Dec. 31, 2011, and the two sides announced a tentative agreement in June following two years of mediation.

“UPS is gratified that our crewmembers have ratified this win-win contract offer,” UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot said in an email. “Our pilots do a great job of flying our global express network, and we are pleased to reward them for their contributions to our company.”

The pilots union also said the new deal includes “a 40 percent increase” to UPS’ defined-benefit pension plan. Union spokesman Brian Gaudet said that means increased contributions by UPS to the plan’s funding over the next five years as well as higher benefits for retirees.

The deal also includes enhanced rest policies “including more favorable duty period limits for overnight and international flights; additional sleep facilities at major gateways; and sleep modules in UPS B767 aircraft,” according to the union.

“Important gains were made in all areas of the contract to include improvements in the critical area of pilot scheduling,” pilots association President Robert Travis said in the news release.

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