LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- UPS aircraft mechanics began an authorization to strike vote Friday morning, according to a news release from Teamsters Local 2727, the employees' union.

The move does not necessarily mean that a strike is imminent because the negotiations are overseen by a federal agency, the National Mediation Board. A UPS spokesperson says the move has "no legal significance."

The union states that the move is an effort to "protect critical healthcare benefits," and comes, "after three years of prolonged negotiations, during which UPS continues to demand huge concessions."

"UPS -- which posted $4.84 billion in profits last year and is the world's largest delivery company -- is calling for massive reductions in health benefits for 1,200 maintenance workers who are critical to the company's global delivery operation and financial success," the news release continues. "UPS aircraft mechanics and other maintenance workers do physically demanding and often dangerous work around jet engine aircraft and equipment and toxic chemicals and exhaust. UPS is also calling for a devastating reduction in benefits for retirees who spent their lives servicing the company's planes."

Mike Mangeot, a spokesperson for UPS, issued a brief written statement Friday morning:

The recent union activity is typical negotiations posturing. The reality is, talks continue to progress under the control of the NMB [the National Mediation Board], which under US labor law controls the pace and timing of negotiations. We have dates are scheduled through the end of the year. It’s important to remember that US labor law contains numerous protections against any type of job action during airline negotiations.

The authorization vote is simply a gesture of union solidarity, a tactic common in many types of negotiations. It has no legal significance.

UPS puts the highest emphasis on safety. Our exacting safety program meets, and often exceeds, regulatory standards. We do not assign our mechanics to work in unsafe conditions.

We remain optimistic that we will reach a win-win agreement.

Stay with WDRB News. We'll update this story as it develops.

Copyright 2016 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.