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News Release

Release #01.76
August 3, 2001

ALPA Reaction to Airline Labor Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.---The following statement was issued today by Captain Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) in response to the Airline Labor Dispute Resolution Act, introduced yesterday in the Senate:

"ALPA is totally opposed to this measure. It is an ill-disguised attempt to circumvent the Railway Labor Act and stack the deck in management’s favor.

"First, it would deprive airline workers of their one effective weapon against management, the threat of a strike. The Bush administration already has undercut that ability with it’s preemptive announcements to forestall strikes by threatening to impose a Presidential Emergency Board. Under this bill, with the stroke of a pen, the Secretary of Transportation would be able to cut off any possibility of a strike by imposing an arbitration instead.

"Second, the ‘baseball arbitration’ method is one of the worse possible forms of arbitration I can imagine for the airline industry. It may or may not work well for baseball players; but it would be a disaster for airline workers.

"For example, job security, which is virtually non-existent for professional athletes, is an important negotiating issue for airline workers. Airline management could load up their offer with compensation improvements while stripping out job security provisions. An arbitrator might look only at the compensation features, conclude that the company’s offer is a good deal for the employees, and impose it. What good is a better-paying job if you lose it six months later?

"In short, we find nothing good in this bill, and will fight vigorously to defeat it."

ALPA represents 67,000 airline pilots at 47 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA Web site at http://cf.alpa.org.

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ALPA CONTACTS: John Mazor, Anya Piazza (703) 481-4440