A Labor Day Message from ALPA President Capt. Lee Moak

September 4, 2011 - This Labor Day, September 5, Americans and Canadians will again celebrate the value of the working man and woman to our nations’ growth and also remember the price they have paid in organizing unions to achieve fair hours, wages, and job conditions for their members and, by extension, the whole working community.

Labor Day is rooted in the turbulent 19th-century labor movement, when unions in Canada and the United States gained national attention with powerful demonstrations in support of workers’ rights. Authorities finally came to recognize the important role that workers and trade unions play in society and declared the union-initiated holiday official in both countries, designating the first Monday in September to honor American and Canadian workers’ contributions to their nations’ economic and social life.

Eighty years ago, ALPA was formed because too many pilots lost their lives flying the line. Our Association’s founders recognized the critical need to join forces and become more fully engaged in making the burgeoning airline industry safer. They understood that safety is a labor issue and that pilots are in a unique position to propose and enforce vital operational and technological improvements throughout the industry—in the air and on the ground.

Indeed, ALPA pilots, through their national union, have proven to be effective partners in making the long-term viability of the airline industry possible. Whether collaborating on scheduling initiatives to enhance the efficiency of flight operations while improving pilots’ work rules and quality of life, or advancing aviation safety by implementing programs such as ASAP and FOQA, ALPA pilot groups can point to many recent examples of working together with their managements to achieve their mutual goals.

On this day we pay special tribute to the significant contributions that ALPA pilots have made to their airlines’ success, to their profession, and to air transportation overall. And we remain dedicated to upholding our mission to ensure that all airline pilots survive and thrive, that our passengers and cargo reach their destinations safely with every flight we make, and that, through our union, ALPA pilots continue to play a major role in strengthening our two great nations.