Amazon faces holiday shipping disaster as pilots go on strike

A pilot strike is threatening to ground flights carrying cargo for Amazon during the busy holiday season.

About 250 pilots employed by ABX Air, a subsidiary of Air Transport Services Group Inc., went on strike Tuesday morning to protest alleged staffing shortages.

Now Amazon and shipping company DHL Worldwide Express, which are both customers of ABX, will have to pay the price.

ABX operates 35 flights daily for Amazon and 45 flights a day for DHL, according to Teamsters Local 1224, the union representing the pilots.

This could cause major disruptions and delays for some Amazon customers during the busy holiday season, according to the union. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Affordable and quirky gifts from Amazon
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Affordable and quirky gifts from Amazon

Try out this adult twist on family friendly game, Tic Tac Toe. Take full advantage of the season by filling your mini beer mugs with egg nog or apple cider.

What's better than iced coffee? When your ice is also coffee! Try out this silicone ice cube mold to get an extra kick out of your morning cup. 
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ABX Air President John Starkovich said the company is "notifying its customers and other affected parties about temporary interruptions in ABX's flight operations, allowing them to adjust their networks until pilots return to work and normal flight operations resume."

"We stand ready to assist our customers in any way we can to minimize any impact on their own operations during this critical holiday period," he said in a statement to Business Insider.

The company is also seeking a court order to force pilots to return 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," he said.

The pilots say they are striking because they have been forced to work "emergency assignments" during contractually obligated time off as a result of alleged understaffing.

So far this year, pilots have been scheduled to cover more than 8,000 emergency assignment days on days they should have had off, according to the union.

The striking pilots are picketing on Tuesday outside of ABX Air's headquarters in Wilmington, North Carolina and outside DHL's North American hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Pilots at ABX Air and four other cargo carriers that fly for DHL voted to strike earlier this year if negotiations with the company stalled.

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15 items that are cheaper on Amazon
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15 items that are cheaper on Amazon

1. Blenders

If you take your smoothies seriously — like ninja serious — but still want to get a good deal on a blender, Amazon might be the right choice, said Kendal Perez, savings expert at The below item will help keep both your body and your budget in good shape:

Price Check:

  • Amazon: $31.39
  • Target: $39.99
  • Walmart: $32.75

2. Mixers

If you want to take your kitchen game up a notch, consider purchasing a top-quality mixer from Amazon. Perez said that the online superstore is a great place to get deals on pro-grade mixers. The KitchenAid product below is a good example and comes in a variety of attractive colors.

Price Check

  • Amazon: $279.99
  • Overstock: $294.99

3. Food Processors

If you're looking to expand your kitchen appliance collection, Amazon can likely hook you up with a quality food processor for less. Perez found that Amazon had the best buys on Cuisinart food processors, such as the one below. Fifty dollars in savings can translate to quite a few veggies to slice and dice.

Price Check

  • Amazon: $149.98
  • Bed Bath & Beyond: $199.99
  • Sur La Table: $199
  • Macy's: $199.99

4. Laundry Detergent

Dirt might be free, but it can cost a lot to get this substance out of your clothes. Luckily, Amazon beats the competition oncertain laundry detergent brands, said Perez. As an added bonus, you can get your super-sized detergent tub delivered right to your door, so you don't have to carry a heavy load home from the supermarket.

Price Check

  • Amazon: $18.97 ($16.97 with $2 digital coupon)
  • Walmart: $19.97
  • Target: $19.99

5. Kitchen Supplies

Filling up your kitchen cabinets with tools and supplies can leave your wallet empty. However, Amazon offers great prices on items like spatulas, spoons and measuring tools, said Perez. Case in point:

Price Check

  • Amazon: $14.97
  • Overstock: $28.49

6. Gaming Controllers

Gone are the days when you had to visit an actual store — or pay full retail price — to decimate your virtual enemies. When it comes to gaming controllers, Perez notes that Amazon beats many of its competitors. Sony’s PlayStation controller is a great example.

Price Check

  • Amazon: $49 (free shipping on orders of $49 or more)
  • Newegg: $53.99

7. Wireless Gaming Headsets

Sound is every bit as important as visuals when it comes to the gaming experience. Since quality tech can be expensive, it pays to shop hard for items like wireless headphones. Perez found that Amazon offers better deals than the competition onSony’s popular wireless headset brand.

Price Check

  • Amazon: $72.53
  • Best Buy: $99.99
  • Target: $72.99

8. HDMI Cables

Buying quality HDMI cables can be an expensive proposition. While the ones that come free with equipment are often absurdly short, longer, better-quality cables can be absurdly expensive. But, said Perez, Amazon does a good job of mitigating the frustration. She found Amazon beat out competitors with its pricing for 6-foot cables and obliterated them on a comfortably long 25-foot cable.

Price Check

  • Amazon: $13.99
  • Newegg: $45
  • Sears: $30.08

9. Diapers

If you’ve ever shopped for diapers, then you’ve probably wondered if you could save money by wrapping your baby in dollar bills. Well, Amazon might be able to save your baby a bout of diaper rash, thanks to some good deals on diapers, said Perez. While she did find that Walmart and Target beat Amazon on certain brands, if you like Pampers, the online retailer is the place to go.

Price Check

  • Amazon: $35.23 from Amazon ($33.23 with $2 digital coupon)
  • Target: $34.99

10. Batteries

Buying the batteries needed to power all your gizmos and gadgets can be anything but cheap. And while Perez found that certain brands — like Energizer rechargeable batteries, with a recharger — can be cheaper at places like Walmart, the popular Duracell batteries are often less on Amazon.

Price Check

  • Amazon: $12.72
  • Target: $13.99

11. Halloween Wigs

Halloween is a scary time of year — not because of the witches and warlocks, but because of what the holiday can do to your wallet. Costumes in particular can be a big expense, especially considering they only get worn once. But, said Perez, Amazon might be able to take the terror out of this holiday, thanks to competitive prices on costumes and wigs.

Price Check

  • Amazon: $16.99
  • Wholesale Halloween Costumes: $22.90

12. Nail Polish

We all want to look our best, but sometimes beauty products can cause some ugly sticker shock. Fortunately, a little smart shopping can ease the financial burden.

“Amazon seems to have the market beat when it comes to designer nail polish,” said Kerry Sherin of Offers.comWith the item below, you can score a professional-grade manicure at home for less.

Price Check

  • Amazon: $9.95
  • Sally Beauty: $19.98

13. Film

If you’re a photography purist, then you know capturing the moment on actual film can be expensive. Luckily, Amazon has affordable offerings to support film buffs.

Film for instant print cameras can be expensive as it is, but some retailers are selling the same product for nearly double the price of Amazon,” said Sherin, who went on to recommend the deal below.

Price Check

  • Amazon: $11.49
  • Walmart: $15.54
  • Target: $19.99

14. Protein Powder

Sherin said Amazon is ready to pump you up — and for less than the competition.

“If you are into fitness and working out, then you know supplements can get expensive. Amazon was found to be consistently the cheapest option,” she said.

Price Check

  • Amazon: $42.36 ($36 with 15% off coupon)
  • $40.49
  • VitaminShoppe: $49.99

15. Phone Charging Cords

If you live by your smartphone, then you probably know how important it is to have a reliable phone charging cable. There’s nothing worse than a cheap one that breaks after a few bits of current.

“The Amazon-brand cords are not only of high-quality materials, but also come at an affordable price. While you might be able to find a cheaper cord out there, there isn't one that can match the price and quality of what Amazon offers,” said Sherin about the below pick.

Price Check:

  • Amazon: $7.99

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Shipping disaster looms as UPS workers vote to strike

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