US Airways Pilots Warn Management: We Will Not Entertain Bankruptcy-Era Contract Proposals
US Airways and America West pilots, both of whom are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), are picketing today at the Philadelphia International Airport to show management that they will only consider negotiating proposals that respect the pilots’ contributions and that contain wages, benefits, work schedules and job protections that are commensurate with US Airways’ position in the marketplace.
Although ALPA and US Airways (NYSE: LCC) management have been engaged in negotiations for a single, fair contract for more than a year and a half, management is only now crafting their first complete economic proposal. It will be presented to the pilots’ joint negotiating committee on May 8 and 9 in Washington, DC.
“The bounty to Doug Parker for holding this pilot group hostage to a bankruptcy contract amounted to a reward of $14.4 million total compensation for 2006. That was achieved on the backs of the pilots. At the same time, US Airways ranks near the top in consumer complaints,” said Captain Jack Stephan, US Airways MEC Chairman. “As management formulates their first economic proposal, US Airways and America West pilots are picketing at the Philadelphia International Airport to remind management that achieving the operational performance and synergies promised to passengers, investors, and employees will be fulfilled only through good faith bargaining with its pilots, which will lead to a fair, single collective bargaining agreement.”
“US Airways senior management is literally making millions for themselves by sticking their employees with the bill,” said Captain John McIlvenna, America West MEC Chairman. “While management is blinded by dollar signs, they are ignoring the flashing warning signs as the operation continues to crumble around them. Until management addresses the needs of the operation and fulfills their promises for a single, seamless airline, our employees — and our passengers — are in for a long, hot summer.”
During the industry downturn following 9/11, both pilot groups agreed to significant pay and benefits cuts to satisfy bankruptcy court provisions and severe ATSB loan restrictions. The pilots also agreed to work schedules that would maximize their work time, severely impacting their quality of life. These sacrifices were made to ensure the survivability of US Airways, not to support inflated management compensation packages.
US Airways’ financial success is undeniable. After the merger of US Airways and America West, the airline quickly became prosperous, posting an operating profit of $507 million in 2006. US Airways CEO Doug Parker received $14.4 million in compensation and benefits for 2006 and was also the highest- paid airline CEO in 2005.
Operationally, however, US Airways’ performance has been dismal, and passengers are growing weary of the airline’s inability to deal with these issues and find quick, workable solutions for those travelers who still choose to fly with US Airways. Implementing quick-fix service initiatives does not address the airline’s core operational issues.
Reaching a fair, single collective bargaining agreement with the pilots would go a long way toward merging the two operations and eliminating many of the problems encountered by running two separate airlines, which has prohibited passengers, investors and employees from capitalizing on the synergies the merger would create.
Founded in 1931, ALPA represents 60,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at http://www.alpa.org/.
Source - PR Newswire