A federal judge says he will grant a temporary restraining order requested by ABX Air to require pilots to call off the strike.
Pilots at the Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) unit that hauls packages for Amazon.com and DHL Worldwide Express will be ordered back to work by a federal judge, halting a strike that threatened to disrupt holiday deliveries.
A federal judge in Cincinnati said he will grant ABX Air’s request for a temporary restraining order requiring the pilots to call off the strike, which began Tuesday morning and forced the cancellation of more than two dozen flights.
Julie Ford, an attorney for the pilots union, said the judge told the parties in the case he intends to issue a written order terminating the strike. Ford said the union has withdrawn the picket lines to comply with the order, which is effective for five days under federal law.
“The union is obviously disappointed,” Ford said in a phone interview. The union will make a decision on how to proceed next week, she said.
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Amazon signed a deal in March with Air Transport Services Group (ATSG), to lease 20 airplanes, helping form a dedicated air-cargo network connecting the rapidly growing number of Amazon’s warehouses.
ATSG is already flying 14 of those planes, or 35 flights a day, for Amazon, according to the pilots. ABX also makes 45 flights a day for DHL.
Amazon has downplayed the potential impact of the walkout.
“We work with a variety of carriers and are confident in our ability to serve customers,” spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman said.
The leasing of the air-cargo fleets comes as Amazon attempts to cope with logistics challenges it has faced in past holiday seasons. Higher than anticipated demand last year forced the company to scramble to deliver packages to customers’ doorsteps.
In addition to expanding its delivery capabilities, Amazon has changed the fee structure for its fulfillment service for independent merchants to avoid similar troubles this time around.