July 13, 2001
NMB Releases United Express Pilots at Air Wisconsin Airlines into 30-Day Cooling-Off Period
DENVER---The pilot leadership at Air Wisconsin Airlines, a United Express carrier, rejected a proffer of arbitration by the National Mediation Board (NMB) this week, prompting the NMB to release both parties from negotiations, triggering the mandatory 30-day countdown to a potential strike at 12:01 a.m. on August 12.
Last month, nearly 97% of Air Wisconsin pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Intl., voted in favor of authorizing their leadership to call a strike if necessary. Captain Mitch Madison, chairman of the Air Wisconsin ALPA Strike Committee, noted, "There is no doubt that Air Wisconsin pilots are prepared to stand together to achieve a long overdue and fair contract that recognizes our past contributions to saving this airline and provides us with job security and financial protections for the future."
In May, Air Wisconsin pilots opened their primary strike headquarters near Denver International Airport, which is the airline’s largest pilot base and busiest operation. The third largest carrier at Denver, Air Wisconsin provides exclusive United Express service to Rocky Mountain destinations such as Aspen and Vail, CO. Additionally, satellite strike offices will be opened in Appleton, WI, the location of the company’s headquarters, and in Chicago.
Air Wisconsin pilots have been working under a concessionary agreement that dates back to 1994, and have been trying unsuccessfully to negotiate a new contract with management for the past two years. After the 30-day cooling-off period expires, pilots could strike. It is anticipated that contract talks will resume during the cooling-off period in a last ditch effort to reach a tentative agreement.
Captain Carl Fleming, chairman of the Air Wisconsin pilots’ unit of ALPA, expressed his commitment to the pilots and the flying public, stating: From day one of these negotiations, we’ve wanted to achieve a fair contract that would both fulfill the company’s growth plans and recognize the pilots’ contributions, while maintaining profitability and viability. We will find out shortly if management shares this goal.
Representing more than 600 pilots at Air Wisconsin, and representing more than 66,000 pilots at 46 other airlines in the U.S. and Canada, ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilots union. Visit the ALPA web site at: http://cf.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACT: Stacy Platone (703) 481-4440