LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – About 100 aircraft dispatchers at UPS’ global operations center in Louisville are close to getting a raise as part of a proposed labor contract with the shipping giant -- a deal that has been in the works for four years.
The Transport Workers Union of America said in a statement Aug. 23 that it had reached a tentative agreement for a five-year contract with UPS, subject to ratification by members in an upcoming vote.
“This contract provides our members with wages, health care, and pension security that is second to none in the industry,” TWU air division director Mike Mays said in a statement.
The dispatchers play a key role in air safety by making sure planes are ready for flight, including in weight, fuel and plans for bad weather and emergency landing places. They are distinct from air traffic controllers, who are federal government employees charged with making sure planes don’t collide with each other.
Dispatchers are certified by the Federal Aviation Authority and generally earn more than $100,000 annually. While UPS has other air hubs, all the UPS dispatchers work from Louisville operations center.
UPS said the proposed deal appropriately rewards the dispatchers without harming the airline’s competitiveness.
“The handshake agreement contains improvements in pay and work rules, and the dispatchers will continue to enjoy strong health benefit and retirement packages,” UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot said in an email.
Neither side disclosed details of the agreement.
The deal comes after UPS and the union appeared before the National Mediation Board, a federal government panel, earlier this month. Federal law restricts the ability of workers in the airline industry to strike.
UPS’ last deal with the dispatchers ran out in 2015.
Joe Zaubi, a dispatcher at the Louisville operations center, told WDRB earlier this month that the group hadn’t had raises in five years and that the goal was to obtain the same rewards UPS had recently provided aircraft mechanics and pilots in their labor deals.
“We would like to get the pay and benefits we have feel we have earned,” Zaubi said earlier this month, before a deal was reached.
If ratified, the contract will go into effect Oct. 1.