This came straight from one of our pilots websites dealing with the cargo end.....UPSCO UPS Accord UPS workers are expected to overwhelmingly ratify the precedent setting labor contract, giving the world's largest parcel carrier labor peace for several years and potentially putting more pressure on its chief rival, FedEx. Last month, UPS and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters reached a tentative agreement that would provide hikes in salaries and benefit contributions for health and pension plans. The contract would go into affect after the current accord expires Aug 1, 2008. With far-reaching provisions that will be felt across many parts of the transport industry, the agreement serves as something of a capstone to the career of UPS Chairman Mike Eskew, who will step down at the end of the year as part of a leadership changeover that has taken on a timely pattern that's nearly as predictable as air express deliveries. Getting the deal done nearly a year before the old contract expires means UPS is preparing for the inevitable 2008 rate hikes with its costs lined up. It also provides UPS what the company has long wanted - an agreement to withdraw from the huge and financially troubled multi-employer Central State Pension Fund. The company will pay $6.1 billion to get out of the fund, and it will have to set up a separate pension plan jointly run by the Teamsters, but the company has long believed it subsidizes the pensions of other companies because of its large Teamster membership in the common fund. "This plan has been under funded and problematic for a number of years," said Jerry Glass, president of F&H Solutions, a human resources and labor consulting firm. If UPS raises its rates, "it won't be because of the sizable pension plan contribution," said Glass. "UPS is a well managed company and is looking at what makes financial sense over the long-term." It is not fixating on the $6 billion contribution, said Glass. The accord is bound to cause concern at DHL and FedEx, particularly. For years, FedEx has battled the Teamsters and other unions about organizing its workers. The FedEx Ground division is embroiled in numerous lawsuits with drivers who claim they are fulltime employees, not independent contractors as management contends. A federal judge recently approved class-action status for a lawsuit filed on behalf of around 14,000 drivers. FedEx said it plans to appeal the decision. Eskew will cede the chairman and chief executive positions to Scott Davis, the company's vice chairman and chief financial officer. Eskew began his career with UPS, but Davis, 55, joined UPS in 1986 when it acquired the technology company II Morrow, where he was CEO. Davis is the first UPS chairman in memory who had a career outside the company.