May 11, 2001
Comair Pilots Respond to Delta President's Comments Regarding Continuing Strike
CINCINNATI, OH---The following statement was released today by Capt. J.C. Lawson, chairman of the Comair pilots' Master Executive Council, a unit of the Air Line Pilots Association. This statement followed a May 10 Comair press conference in Cincinnati at which Delta President and Chief Operating Officer Frederick Reid discussed the Comair pilots' strike.
"On behalf of the 1,350 Comair pilots, I'd like to say that I appreciate Mr. Reid's stated commitment to Comair's growth and prosperity, and to his recognition of Comair's important role in the community. Comair pilots are proud of the role we have played in that stunning success story, and in transforming our airline from a propeller-driven, short-route carrier to the all-jet international airline that it is today. But in discussing the reasons for the Comair pilots' strike, Mr. Reid missed the mark by a great distance.
"Delta management markets the latest settlement offer as an industry-leading agreement. Pilots are intelligent individuals, and they are quick to recognize a good thing when they see it. Why, then, would they reject by a 1,090 to six margin the first settlement offer, presented to us prior to the beginning of the strike. That's easy: It wasn't the offer management claimed it was. The fate of the current settlement offer depends completely on management's commitment to concluding these negotiations fairly. Smart pilots don't walk away from a decent contract.
"Second, Delta management has controlled the pace of negotiations during the course of the strike -- which explains why there were no negotiations until a month after the strike began. Mr. Reid's comments about the importance of Comair would be more convincing if management negotiators exercised a much greater commitment to the negotiating process, thus helping to conclude this long and costly strike.
"Finally, Mr. Reid states that the Delta growth plan calls for the purchase of 80 aircraft and the addition of more than 900 new pilot jobs within three years. That's significant, but it's an imaginary enticement. Delta is willing to agree to a plan of guaranteed growth tied to a formula on the mainline side of its operation. We'd like to see such a commitment on the Comair side, too.
"We are pleased that Mr. Reid chose to speak in Cincinnati, home of Comair -- one of the jewels of the Delta family. We hope that he is developing a greater understanding of the issues in this conflict. Pilots belong in the cockpit, not on the picket line. That is a simple truth that every Comair pilot knows. Returning to the cockpit is our desire, and we believe Mr. Reid's direct involvement in this process could prove to be beneficial for Comair pilots, our fellow employees, and the travelling public."
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