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News Release

Release #01.64
June 20, 2001

More than 98 Percent of ALPA Pilots at Atlas Air Authorize Leadership to Call a Strike: Yet Pilots Remain Optimistic About Achieving First Contract

WASHINGTON, DC – The Master Executive Council of Atlas Air—the highest governing body for a pilot group in the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA)—announced today that 98.34 percent of their members authorized the MEC to call a strike in the event negotiations with management did not result in a satisfactory contract. Of the pilots eligible to vote, 95 percent participated in the balloting process (601 of 634 pilots).

The strike vote results were announced this afternoon by John Caputo, chairman of the Atlas pilots’ Communications and Strike Preparedness committees, at the pilots’ strike command center in Washington, DC. "Our crewmembers are unified in the desire to achieve a new contract that benefits both our professional quality of life and the company’s financial bottom line," said Caputo. "And we remain committed to furthering the legacy of our late president/CEO and visionary Michael Chowdry to make Atlas one of the strongest and most financially viable international cargo airlines in the world. However, while we remain optimistic that our goals at the negotiating table can be achieved without a strike, our strike preparations are complete and we stand ready to support our membership if it becomes necessary."

"From the onset of the negotiations process, the Atlas pilots have been absolutely committed to the goal of achieving a fair labor contract in a timely manner," said Philippe Fisher, chairman of the Atlas pilots’ Negotiating Committee. "Our dedication to reaching this goal without any interruption in service to Atlas or its customers is unwavering. However, if a satisfactory agreement is not reached, our members’ overwhelming and nearly unanimous vote in favor of strike authorization shows the Atlas pilots’ are unified and will take the necessary steps to achieve this goal."

"The Atlas pilots’ leadership is immensely proud of the solidarity demonstrated by our crewmembers in this strike vote," said Capt. Gregory Amussen, chairman of the Atlas pilots’ unit in ALPA. "In the light of current events, we look forward to the company presenting its economic and job security proposals at the negotiating session scheduled in Washington, DC, during the week beginning on June 25. The Atlas pilots stand fully committed to rapidly concluding and implementing a mutually beneficial collective bargaining agreement."

Atlas’ approximately 750 pilots and professional flight engineers have been trying to negotiate their first ALPA contract with management since April 2000. Negotiations are now being conducted under the auspices of the National Mediation Board, which may release the parties into a 30-day "cooling-off" period once an impasse is declared.

Celebrating its 70th anniversary, ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilots union, representing 66,000 members at 47 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at cf.alpa.org.


ALPA Contact: John Caputo, 410-810-9023