Release #: ATI 23.10
September 18, 2023

ATI Union Leaders Authorize Strike Vote

WASHINGTON— On Friday, September 15, the union leadership representing Air Transport International (ATI) pilots unanimously voted to give the chair authority to call for a strike authorization vote which would permit a strike if the National Mediation Board releases the parties to self-help under the Railway Labor Act.

“ATI management’s refusal to acknowledge the damage being done to our brand, reputation, and ability to support our customers by the mass exodus of experienced pilots due to our outdated contract has brought us to this point,” said Capt. Mike Sterling, chair of the ATI Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents ATI pilots. “For months now, we’ve seen colleagues leaving with the same story: ‘I cannot wait any longer for a contract that respects my value as a professional airline pilot.’”   

ATI and parent company Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) management face a decision: come to the table ready to make a deal that recognizes the sacrifices and contributions made by the pilot group to earn their reputation as the most reliable and largest Amazon air carrier in the world, or continue to deny the value of ATI pilots and watch as the airline bleeds pilots to other carriers that respect and value their pilots, continues to be unable to fill captain vacancies, and fails to support the customers.

“After negotiating for more than three years, our pilots are fed up. The sluggish mentality of ATSG leadership is driving pilots away from what was once a destination airline. Delivering a contract with much-needed improvements in pay, retirement, and work rules will allow ATI to attract and retain experienced pilots and may polish ATI’s currently tarnished reputation within the industry,” concluded Sterling.

Under the Railway Labor Act, there are additional steps should the pilot group vote to authorize a strike. Before a strike can take place, the National Mediation Board must first decide that additional mediation efforts would not be productive and offer the parties an opportunity to arbitrate the contract dispute. If either side declines the arbitration, both parties enter a 30-day “cooling off” period, after which the parties can engage in self-help—a strike by the union or a lockout by management.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents more than 75,000 pilots at 43 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit or follow us on Twitter @ALPAPilots.


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