Friday, September 05, 2008

House hearing scheduled for DHL-UPS deal

Union officers representing freight shipping workers at the Wilmington Air Park where thousands of jobs hang in the balance are praising federal legislators’ recent decision to conduct a hearing on a proposed DHL-UPS partnership.

The office of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Friday confirmed a hearing is scheduled for Sept. 16 to review a planned move by DHL to have UPS Inc. take over its sorting and shipping operations and shift the work from Ohio to Louisville, Ky.

If DHL makes the move, Ohio risks losing more than 8,000 jobs. Wilmington’s ABX Air Inc. and sister shipping company Astar Air Cargo handle operations at the Wilmington airport for the subsidiary of privately held Deutsche Post World Net.

Mark Overberg, secretary of the Teamsters Local 100 in Cincinnati representing Astar dispatchers, called the hearing a “welcome step by Congress to determine if any antitrust violations have occurred as a result of this proposal.”

State officials have reached out to the federal Transportation and Justice departments, asking they investigate the agreement. The Transportation Department responded in August, saying the deal wouldn’t be considered an unfair or deceptive practice and wouldn’t render the U.S. shipping market less competitive.

A representative for Gov. Ted Strickland’s office told Columbus Business First last week that talks are continuing with the Justice Department.

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