CHICAGO Nov 22 Pilots at ABX Air, an express
cargo airline that serves online retail giant Amazon
and DHL Express, went on strike on Tuesday, a critical time for
retailers with the holiday shopping season about to kick into
Some 250 pilots, who are represented by the Teamsters union,
went on strike in the early morning, affecting around 75
flights, mostly for Amazon and DHL, a unit of Deutsche Post AG
Pilots went on strike because ABX, owned by Air Transport
Services Group Inc, has violated its contract by asking
them to work emergency hours over the last two years because of
a staffing shortage, but then failed to grant them compensatory
time off or allow pilots to take earned vacations, the union
"Our pilots are striking so that we can have the status quo
of our contract restored, and we would like that to be in the
next minute so we can return to serving our customers," said Tim
Jewell, a pilot and secretary treasurer of Teamster Local 1224,
which represents ABX pilots. "But if the company chooses not to
do that our members are prepared to continue striking."
Air Transport Services Group said in a statement that ABX
was taking multiple steps to tackle what it called an "illegal
work stoppage" including seeking a court order to get the pilots
back to work.
"We expect the court will uphold our position that the
actions taken by the union to refuse work assignments is not
legal, and the issues involved constitute a minor dispute to be
resolved via arbitration under terms of our current labor
agreements," ABX Air President John Starkovich said in a
ABX is notifying customers so they can make alternative
The strike comes just ahead of Cyber Monday, which is the
biggest day of the year for internet shopping and is expected to
break records this year.
Amazon said it has contracts with the major U.S. package
delivery companies United Parcel Service Inc and FedEx
Corp, giving it sufficient alternatives to ABX.
"We work with a variety of carriers and are confident in our
ability to serve customers," Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman
said in an email.
DHL, however, said the strike had affected deliveries of
goods into the United States.
"Due to a work stoppage affecting our airline partners,
inbound deliveries to portions of the Americas will be delayed
today," the company said in a statement. "We are continuing to
monitor the situation."
(Additional reporting by Nandita Bose in Chicago and Ankit
Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)