March 17, 2004
Hawaiian Airline Pilots Union Wins Additional Pension Contributions
HONOLULU --Captain Jim Giddings, Chairman of the Hawaiian Airlines unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, announced today the union has joined with the Company to request a 90-day adjournment of a hearing on the Company’s motion for emergency relief from its ALPA labor agreement. Under the agreement, the Company will contribute close to $4 million into the pilots’ pension plan – a significant sum, but only a portion of the amount ALPA claims is due.
Both parties have agreed to ask the federal bankruptcy court to delay the hearing on pension payments until the end of June. This marks the third time the pilots have agreed to postpone the hearing date on the company’s motion, which seeks relief from a $4.25 million payment obligation to the pension plan that was scheduled to be made on Sept. 15, 2003.
"Even though we believe it is not fair to continue to ask pilots to make ongoing sacrifices, we have always been willing to meet management more than halfway," Giddings said. "What a difference from just a few months ago, when management claimed that funding the pilots’ pension plan was essentially impossible. This shows that we shouldn’t be counted out."
The approximately $4 million the Company will pay into the pilots’ retirement plan includes millions in contributions that pilots temporarily waived early last year when the company was low on cash. At that time, the company promised the pilots it would make up in the payments in September 2003. However, that payment was never made and is the subject of the pending motion. The company also agreed to continue to make monthly payments of equal to 10% of pilot payroll into the pilots’ pension plan as called for in the pilots’ ALPA contract.
The HAL pilots agreed to schedule a series of meetings with management over the next three months to further discuss the pilots’ pension plan in an effort to find mutually agreeable solutions. In exchange, the company agreed to let the pilots union share confidential information about its retirement plan costs with its membership, as well as with selected third parties involved in the proposed bankruptcy sale process .
"While there are still disagreements, this willingness on the part of the company to put money into the plan is good news," Giddings said. "We’re happy to see management acknowledge that they must take care of employees who have stood by the company over many years."
"No one wants to see the company emerge from bankruptcy more than the pilots," he said. "We are proud to do our part in serving our customers. We want to see our company claim the recognition it deserves in our marketplace."
Giddings added: "We’re hopeful that management will continue to take steps in the right direction so that we can continue working together to build a stronger, better Hawaiian Airlines."
Headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaiian Airlines is the nation’s 12th-largest carrier, with 135 daily flights flown by 300 pilots who operate a fleet of B-717 and B-767 aircraft.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilots’ union, representing 64,000 pilots at 43 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA Web site at http://www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACT: Capt. Jim Giddings, (808) 836-2572
Tammy Sumida, Joan Bennet and Associates, Inc. (808) 531–6087, ext. 3