Release #: HAL 16.09
July 22, 2016

Hawaiian Airlines Pilots Warn Passengers of Labor Strife as Picketing Continues

HONOLULU— Hawaiian Airlines pilots returned to informational picketing at Honolulu International Airport on Friday, warning its passengers, including those from Japan, that their island vacations could be at risk if the pilot group is forced by management into a lawful strike.

Several hundred Hawaiian pilots picketed the airport for four hours the same day that Hawaiian inaugurated new daily service from Honolulu to Tokyo’s Narita Airport. Picket signs in both English and Japanese warned “Hawaiian Pilots Ready to Strike” and “No Pilots, No Hawaiian.”

“We regret the inconvenience to our domestic and international customers, but we want to make sure all of them are aware of the labor strife at our airline and the bargaining position of our management that has led to this point,” said Capt. Hoon Lee, chairman of ALPA’s Hawaiian Airlines group.

Japan is Hawaiian’s largest international destination, with flights to Tokyo’s Haneda and Narita airports as well as Osaka and Sapporo. Hawaiian pilots fly similar aircraft on similar international routes as their colleagues at Delta, United, and other U.S. carriers, but are paid much less, even as the carrier’s profits continue to exceed expectations. The airline reported a $79 million 2Q profit yesterday, $30 million more than the same time last year. Hawaiian’s stock price has soared 81% in the last 12 months.

ALPA has asked the National Mediation Board (NMB) to release the HAL pilots from federal mediation and proffer arbitration instead, a move that could set in motion a 30-day deadline to reach agreement to avoid a potential strike. Senior officials of the NMB, including its Chair, are slated to confer with the airline and the union on Aug. 2 in Washington, D.C., to be briefed on the status of the case and discuss whether further mediation would be useful. The two sides have been in contract talks for almost 15 months.

ALPA President Capt. Tim Canoll traveled to Honolulu from ALPA headquarters in Washington and walked the informational picket line with Hawaiian pilots as a show of solidarity. He said pilot groups at other ALPA carriers in negotiations, like Delta, JetBlue, Frontier, and Spirit, are closely following the Hawaiian pilots’ situation.

“The NMB status conference next month moves these negotiations to a new level. It’s clear that the presidentially appointed board members are focusing their attention on this mediation and will be hearing directly from the parties,” said Canoll, a Delta Air Lines pilot. “We’ve seen before that Hawaiian management will not get serious about negotiating with ALPA until they understand that there is a real threat of a shutdown. This meeting moves us closer to a Board decision on that issue.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 53,000 pilots at 31 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.


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