NEW YORK, June 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Airlines and Continental Airlines pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA), will gather at the site of the United Continental Holdings annual shareholder meeting today to protest the slow pace of contract negotiations.
Said Capt. Jay Pierce, chairman of the ALPA unit representing the Continental pilots, "Negotiations have been ongoing for more than two years since the merger was announced and we still don't have a new contract. In the mean time, United Airlines management has managed to steadily degrade the airline and its value to passengers, shareholders and employees, while at the same time lining their own pockets. It is time to resolve the pilot labor contract so we can all move forward. If that means we must navigate through a little turbulence, then so be it."
Capt. Jay Heppner, chairman of the United Master Executive Council, remarked, "The pilots have made sacrifice after sacrifice to help this airline stay in business since 9/11 and all we've seen in return is management's strategy of offshoring and outsourcing our jobs. United has dragged these negotiations out and kept us in a holding pattern so that it can continue with its outsourcing strategy, and we've had enough. Pilots have been working under a 9-year old bankruptcy contract while management has hiked their own pay and bonuses year after year.
"We constantly hear management speak about the 'fresh start' for the company following the bankruptcy and the merger," Captain Heppner continued. "The pilots, whose sacrifices and professionalism made this merger possible, have been waiting for their fresh start for nearly a decade. The 12,000 United and Continental pilots are determined to hold management to the June 15 deadline that was agreed upon to conclude JCBA negotiations. If that deadline is not met, we fully expect the National Mediation Board to release us from mediation as we have requested and allow us to exercise our right to self-help."
A May 11, 2012 letter from ALPA President Capt. Lee Moak to the National Mediation Board (NMB) requested that the NMB "further assist the parties to bring about an agreement by proffering arbitration, and if not accepted by both parties, issuing a release under Section 5, First of the Act." If the NMB releases the parties to what is referred to as "self-help," the pilots would be allowed to take lawful action, including a strike, following a 30-day cooling off period. The pilots, who are involved in joint negotiations for a labor contract that will cover pilots from both legacy airlines, are wholly dissatisfied with the pace of the talks. The parties initiated negotiations in May 2010. The parties jointly requested mediation by the NMB in December 2010 and mediated negotiations were initiated on Feb. 28, 2011. The parties have been in mediated bargaining since that time.
The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents more than 53,000 pilots at 37 U.S. and Canadian airlines. There are approximately 7,000 pilots at United and 5,000 pilots at Continental Airlines.
SOURCE Air Line Pilots Association, International - Continental MEC