‘Ready for Takeoff’

By Capt. Joe DePete, ALPA President

While times may feel different during this pandemic, ALPA is reminding the public that one thing remains exactly the same: airline pilots are focused on safely and securely transporting our passengers and cargo to destinations across the country and around the world.

In the next weeks, ALPA will expand its efforts to reach out to the public with our clear message that airline pilots are “Ready for Takeoff.” Our print, digital, and video outreach will affirm that, whenever airline passengers are ready to travel, we’re ready to take them. The inspiring result will contribute to our effort to increase bookings, preserve aviation workers’ jobs, and strengthen and speed the economic recovery.

Our expanded campaign is one effort in our determined fight to prevent furloughs and protect pilot jobs. As the U.S. government considers airline industry economic aid, ALPA is also pushing for a clean extension of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act payroll support program through March 31, 2021. A key element of ALPA’s worker protection platform, such an extension would stave off layoffs for thousands of airline pilots when the current funding expires on September 30 and ensure that pilots are available to quickly fuel a strong economic recovery.

In a parallel advocacy initiative, ALPA asserts that the purpose of U.S. bankruptcy law must be to preserve jobs and workers’ livelihoods, not protect executive compensation. Our union supports a worker-first proposal introduced in both the House and Senate that would block companies and courts from using bankruptcy to change or throw out collective bargaining agreements and mandate that corporate leaders negotiate any changes to collective agreements through the Railway Labor Act bargaining process.

In Canada, our union is urging government leaders and regulators in Ottawa and across the country to collaborate with ALPA Canada and all other stakeholders to ensure a safe and secure reopening of air travel. ALPA Canada is also calling for interprovincial air travel that protects Canadians and Canada’s economy, as well as the airline industry.

Just as ALPA pilots have worked together to press for government action in both the United States and Canada, our union’s determination to lead collaboration across our industry is also evident in our drive to build passengers’ confidence to return to the skies.

In addition to ALPA’s advocacy, we continue to support our master executive councils (MECs) as they engage with the leaders of your companies to pursue innovative solutions to protect pilot jobs. Drawing on ALPA’s vast national and local resources, MECs have developed creative and effective agreements at each carrier that respond to the realities of the current economic environment, protect pilot health and financial security, and mitigate potential furloughs for those carriers at risk. Our union is demonstrating that pilots are prepared to work with our airlines to withstand this downturn and ensure a quick return to the economically successful airline industry we helped to create.

As we pursue every avenue to forestall furloughs and restart our industry, ALPA stands beside our members who have received furlough notices—helping pilots and their families prepare and persevere. Our Pilot Survival Checklist offers U.S. and Canadian pilots important measures to take right now and a strong set of resources for the future. Hundreds of our members have already participated in ALPA’s career webinar series, produced in partnership with Cage Marshall Consulting. These popular webinars are only one offering in a library of online resources that are specifically tailored to help ALPA pilots.

ALPA pilots who have received a furlough notice at any time in their careers know that the experience is difficult. If you are transitioned to furlough status, you will have the full backing of ALPA’s Furloughed Pilots Support Program to help you respond.

On the flight deck, pilots rely on our training and experience to help us adapt in the face of adverse conditions. In our careers, we draw from our union’s expertise, relationships, and resources when we face challenges. For these reasons, ALPA pilots are now and always ready for takeoff.