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UPS profits up as strike looms

LOUISVILLE, KY: United Parcel Service has reported revenue of US$14.2 billion for the third quarter ending September 30 and net income of US$1.25 billion – an increase of 3.5 percent over the same period last year.

International operating profits rose more than 10.0 percent to US$507 million in the third quarter as total shipments increased 1.9 percent to 1.1 billion packages - driven by U.S. air products and European transborder shipments.

Revenue for the first nine months of 2015 was US$42.3 billion and net income was US$3.5 billion – a jump of 36.2 percent year-on-year. The company paid dividends of US$1.9 billion, an increase of 9.0 percent per share over 2014, and spent US$2.0 billion on a 20 million share buy-back.

"Third quarter results reflect strong progress on our long-term initiatives despite uneven economic conditions," said UPS CEO David Abney. "We remain committed to these strategies to support customers and improved shareowner value."

UPS package driverThe company's latest results follow a decision by the Independent Pilots Association (IPA) to seek release from federally mediated negotiations with UPS following a recent ballot of cockpit crew that called for strike action.

"UPS promises its customers on-time delivery, but after four years of labor negotiations, the company has failed to deliver a contract for its own pilots," said IPA president Robert Travis. "In a clear voice, UPS pilots have said they are willing to strike if necessary to finish the job," he added.

UPS and the IPA are scheduled to return to the bargaining table in early November and if the two sides fail to reach an agreement, the federal mediator is expected to implement a 30-day cooling off period after which the pilots can strike and the company can institute a lock out.

Should the 2,500 UPS pilots go on strike the Teamsters union said it will support the move: "If a strike is necessary, we will not cross your lines, but will stand with you on them," declared Teamsters general president James Hoffa.

Hoffa said the Teamsters have not forgotten the pilots' support when the union struck UPS for 16 days in 1997.

"UPS has continued to stall and drag its feet in completing an agreement with you and your hardworking members. Four years to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement is simply unacceptable," added Hoffa.

Meanwhile FedEx has ratified a six-year contract with its pilots. "Given that the pilots are the only major employee group at FedEx covered by a collective bargaining agreement, this deal brings labor peace to our main competitor," said Travis.

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