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January 15, 2002
ALPA Pilots at Midwest Express Determine Concessions Unwarranted
Milwaukee -- The union representing Midwest Express Airlines pilots today notified company management of its decision to deny the request for labor concessions that airline management first made shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. After management failed to complete confidentiality agreements to give the local union leadership access to company financial records, the pilots' governing body based its decision on information from public sources.
"We simply could not find evidence of legitimate need," said Capt. Jay Schnedorf, chairman of the Midwest Express pilots' unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, International.
"Because of the serious nature of the Sept. 11 attacks and their aftereffects on the airline industry, we committed to approaching this decision with open minds and objective analysis. Although we were not allowed to have information from the financial books, we continued to investigate and consider management's request, drawing from our airline's filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and comments from industry analysts and our company's leaders," Schnedorf said.
"Clearly, these sources project our airline's recovery from the post-9/11 downturn, and a secure financial and competitive position. For example, analysts from Merrill Lynch and Raymond James recently predicted that Midwest Express will return to profitability in 2002 and will enjoy 'a substantial level of profitability' by mid-2003. The rationale for concessions doesn't exist," Schnedorf said.
"When we recommended our members' ratification of the current contract, which we adopted in the spring of 2000, we said that the agreement was fair, and that it not only upheld the standards of the airline piloting profession, but also addressed our airline's competitive needs. That characterization still holds true today, and we have no reason to believe our contract poses a threat to our airline's continued viability," he said.
A letter that Schnedorf sent today to Midwest Express' senior vice president of operations summed up the position of the pilots' Master Executive Council: "The MEC shares the same goal as MEH [Midwest Express Holdings] management in seeing Midwest Express Airlines restored to a resoundingly profitable airline; however, we believe that contractual concessions at this time are neither necessary nor warranted to achieve this goal."
ALPA is the world's largest and oldest pilots union. Representing roughly 66,000 pilots flying for 46 airlines in the U.S. and Canada, ALPA is celebrating 70 years of advancing the cause of air safety and upholding the airline piloting profession.
ALPA Contact: Ron Lovas, 703-481-4440