April 24, 2001
Air Line Pilots Association to Provide Strike Benefits to Terminated Pilots
CINCINNATI, OH---The chairman of the Comair pilot group, whose 1,350 members are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, announced today that the union will pay full strike benefits to 86 new-hire pilots terminated this week by Comair management. ALPA will provide benefits to the trainees on an expedited basis, with a waiting period of 14 days rather than the usual 35 days. On April 2, ALPA's Board of Directors, the largest governing body of the union, approved accelerated strike benefits for Comair's 1,350 line pilots.
Noting Delta's ownership of Comair, Captain J.C. Lawson, chairman of the pilots ALPA Master Executive Council, stated, "We applaud the fact that Delta pilots are receiving a raise with their new contract. But I hope Delta management appreciates the irony on the Comair side of its operation. Here, our 86 terminated pilots are also receiving a raise: the $1,400-per-month, $16,800-per-year, strike benefit is more than they make as new Comair pilots.
"It is obvious that Delta management respects and values their pilots," continued Lawson. "In fact, the Comair pilots admire the productive, mutually-beneficial relationship that exists between them. But step over to the Comair side of the operation and what you find is a management that is straining to avoid its responsibilities to bargain in good faith.
"It did so for the last three years of negotiations, and guaranteed a strike when it abandoned negotiations on March 25. We find it difficult to reconcile the Delta management that lived up to its responsibilities with the Delta pilots with the same management that would rather lose $4 million a day in revenue than negotiate with us.
"Delta pilots and Comair pilots operate equally sophisticated jet aircraft over many overlapping routes, are trained under FAA Part 121 rules to equal standards, and perform their jobs with equal professionalism," stated Lawson. "And it's time that Delta management makes an equal commitment to the Comair pilots' negotiations."
Comair pilots have been in contract negotiations since June 1998, in mediation since July 1999, and on strike since March 26, 2001.
Formed in 1931, ALPA is the worlds oldest and largest pilots union, representing 59,000 airline pilots at 49 carriers in the United States and Canada. Its Web site is at http://cf.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACT: Capt. Paul Lackie (859) 282-2534