March 26, 2001
US Airways Pilot Leadership Challenges Wolf's Position on Possible Downsizing and Job Loss
PITTSBURGH--Today the chairman of the US Airways unit of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) responded to recent comments made to lawmakers by US Airways Chairman Stephen Wolf.
"Stephen Wolf's March 21 comments to a Congressional subcommittee predicting that there is no place in the industry for US Airways long term without the merger contradicts recent company forecasts that US Airways would grow from a $9 billion to $12 billion company by 2004," said Captain Chris Beebe, US Airways Master Executive Council chairman.
"US Airways pilots and other US Airways employee groups provided Mr. Wolf with cost-competitive contracts to enable US Airways to grow internally and compete with the other major airlines, as well as low-fare carriers such as Southwest," said Beebe. "Now, he is comparing this company to defunct carriers such as Eastern to pursue a merger. These remarks are offensive in light of the pilots and other employees contributions and long-term dedication to this airline."
In 1997, Wolf asked the pilots to accept contract parity with competitors in an effort to keep mainline costs down and to establish MetroJet, a low-cost operation to compete with Southwest and other low-fare airlines. In return, he promised to grow the airline into the "Carrier of Choice." Both sides hailed the pilot agreement as a cost-competitive contract that would bring US Airways in line with other carriers, compete with Southwest, and enable internal growth. The contract, which does not become amendable until January 2, 2003, also contains a growth commitment and a no-furlough clause that guarantees job protection for many of the pilots.
"In 1998, after the pilot contract was completed, other US Airways employees provided Mr. Wolf with competitive contracts and cost structures to grow our airline," said Beebe. "The pilots expect Mr. Wolf to fulfill his commitment to all employees, leave aside the serenade of excuses, and grow the airline to be a solid competitor in the event the merger does not take place."
"We will continue to ensure that management lives up to its commitments made three years ago," Beebe said. "There are approximately 6,100 pilots employed by US Airways now, and we expect all of them and more to be employed by US Airways in the near and long-term future."
ALPA represents 59,000 airline pilots at 49 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at cf.alpa.org.
CONTACT: Roy Freundlich
Air Line Pilots Assoc., Intl.
US Airways Pilots Master Executive Council
(610) 513-5390; (412) 264-5600
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