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News Release

Release #03.071
October 7, 2003

ALPA Polar Crewmembers to Conduct Informational Picketing in Purchase, NY

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Uniformed crewmembers of Polar Air Cargo will conduct informational picketing October 8 and 9 at Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings headquarters to demonstrate the crewmembers’ unified opposition to the proposed taxation of travel benefits.

The crewmembers will picket on Wednesday, October 8 and Thursday, October 9 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 2000 Westchester Avenue, Purchase, NY.

Polar Air Cargo is a global carrier specializing in time-definite, airport-to-airport scheduled airfreight service with Boeing 747s. Polar is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings.

Polar Air Cargo crewmembers assert that their management continually breaks promises made in their collective bargaining agreement, and in particular, a commitment from management to cooperate on issues of mutual concern. For example, the collective bargaining agreement states that management will provide crewmembers hotel rooms at no expense when traveling. Management, however, recently announced its intent to consider the cost of some of the rooms as a taxable benefit subject to federal and state tax withholding thereby reducing the crewmember’s income.

"For example, a crewmember may be ordered to stay in a hotel room near the airport on reserve status in case he or she is needed to fly an unscheduled flight, said Bobb Henderson, chairman of the Polar Air Cargo crewmembers’ Master Executive Council, a unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA). "It is simply not fair for a pilot to have to pay income tax on the value of a hotel room that the company requires the crewmember to take for management’s convenience," said Captain Henderson.

"Management has taken us from a non-hostile relationship to a hostile one," said Captain Henderson. "Management has taken the position of dictating to us and not negotiating. Management has repeatedly failed to heed our call, so we need to demonstrate our frustration and resolve," declared Captain Henderson.

"We are ready, willing, and able to sit down with management at any time to resolve this issue," said Captain Henderson. "Until then, the crewmembers of Polar Air Cargo will be picketing."

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilot union, representing 66,000 pilots at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA Website at


ALPA Contact: Miles Wiley (703) 481-4440