ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Airport ramp workers for United Parcel Service, including 35 in Anchorage, are being hit with hefty pay cuts this week after an independent arbitrator ruled against them.
The decision means around 400 full-time UPS workers companywide who load and unload cargo no longer will be paid at the rate most full-time UPS workers get, said Norman Black, spokesperson for Atlanta-based UPS. Some will see cuts from $17 an hour down to $13, he said.
''Some people will see a steep decline,'' Black said. ''It is unfortunate.''
Workers are upset because a push for more full-time workers was one of the central reasons for a nationwide strike by the Teamsters union against UPS four years ago.
As part of the settlement, UPS agreed to create 10,000 new full-time jobs out of part-time jobs. But now the ramp workers who went full time will get the same hourly pay as their part-time colleagues.
''We're just in shock,'' said Tracy Blythe, a UPS ramp worker at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. ''This is what I thought we were fighting for.''
She was told Thursday that her pay is being cut from $14.50 an hour to $11.55, she said. She had thought she was getting a raise as the Teamsters contract with UPS heads into its fifth year.
The situation arose because it wasn't clear which of two sections of the contract covers wages of full-time ramp workers, Black said. One section, with higher rates of pay, covers full-time hourly workers other than drivers. Another, with lower rates, covers ramp workers. While that was being sorted out, UPS paid the higher rates.
An arbitrator assigned by the American Arbitration Association ruled this week that the ramp worker rates apply.
UPS employs 350 people in Alaska and 359,000 worldwide.
Peninsula Clarion ©2014. All Rights Reserved.