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News Release

Release #02.007
January 16, 2002

America West Pilots Call for Return to Mediated Negotiations

PHOENIX — The pilots of America West Airlines, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), today requested that the National Mediation Board quickly resume mediated negotiations between the union and America West management for a new contract.

"Management has shown their commitment to compensating the government through the terms of their loan guarantee," said Eric Edwards, vice chairman of the America West unit of ALPA. "Now it is time for management to show the same commitment to the employees who have repeatedly sacrificed and invested in this airline by resuming good faith negotiations with us."

As part of the agreement with the Air Transportation Stabilization Board, America West committed to keeping labor costs to those outlined in the company’s seven-year business plan. "Management has an obligation to negotiate with the unions representing America West employees no matter what commitments they make to the government," Edwards said. The pilots believe that this condition imposed by the federal government could interfere with their collective bargaining rights and are exploring all legal options if those rights are restricted.

"The federal government, which is mediating our negotiations as a neutral third party, could become a major shareholder in the airline," Edwards said. "This could present a conflict of interest that would compromise our legal bargaining rights."

The pilots, who have been negotiating with America West since February 2000, lag considerably behind their counterparts at other major carriers despite having much more demanding schedules and constraints within which to fly. They are seeking to address the following issues in their negotiations:

• No pension and no retiree medical benefits;
• Scheduling enhancements that increase productivity while on duty and, at the same time, restore sensible rest requirements;
• A commitment from management to reverse the punitive attitude toward employees and comply with the collective bargaining agreement, which they have failed to do as evidenced by the more than 300 grievances filed by pilots in 2001 alone;
• Job protection measures that limit management’s intention to outsource the pilots’ flying careers to smaller carriers; and
•Hourly pay rates that are as much as 74 percent below major airline industry average.

Including the 1,800 America West pilots, ALPA represents 66,000 members at 46 airlines in the United States and Canada.

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ALPA Contact: Scott Sherrin, (602) 306-4100