May 25, 2004
ALPA Endorses Kerry
WASHINGTON, D.C.---The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), the union that represents most of the nation’s airline pilots, has endorsed John Kerry for president. The union’s Executive Board voted unanimously to endorse the presumptive Democratic nominee at a meeting today in Washington.
"The evidence is clear that President Bush’s record adds up to an unending string of actions that have hurt pilots, other working Americans, and the unions that represent them. It is time for a change," said Capt. Duane E. Woerth, president of ALPA, after the vote was announced. Reached on the campaign trail, Senator Kerry placed a call to the pilots, thanking them for their endorsement.
The vote came after Senator Kerry had written a letter asking the Association for its endorsement. In his letter, Kerry pointed to his long history of supporting issues of importance to airline pilots and to organized labor, including direct aid and loan guarantees to airlines after the Sept. 11 attacks, a measure to elevate cargo security and passenger screening, the program to train and arm airline pilots, "whistleblower" protections for airline employees, banning permanent replacement workers in strikes, and opposition to proposals for "baseball style" binding arbitration in contract negotiations. Kerry also pledged to oppose the outsourcing of jobs for U.S. airline workers through cabotage, and to fight efforts to increase limits on foreign ownership of U.S. carriers.
"John Kerry is the right choice for U.S. pilots – not just because of his commitment to protect our profession, but also because he has a plan to restore our industry’s and the nation’s economic health," Woerth said.
In weighing the record of the Bush administration, the Executive Board noted that its strong anti-union policy has produced a lengthy list of actions and policies that directly harm pilots, their livelihood, and their profession.
These include a policy that bankruptcies and liquidations are the answer to the industry’s problems, a "no strike" policy for airlines through threats to invoke Presidential Emergency Boards, opposition to arming pilots, opposition to legislation to provide pension relief, proposing $435 million in additional airline security taxes, implementing a new rule that requires FAA to immediately revoke the license of pilots who are deemed a "security risk" without specifying the nature of the risk, imposition of extremely burdensome reporting rules for unions, the banning of union representation for TSA employees and many workers at the Department of Homeland Security, and the loss of three million private-sector jobs with scant effort to provide new jobs or relief for affected workers.
In the Executive Board resolution for the endorsement, ALPA noted that Kerry "has steadfastly supported the labor movement, including ALPA, throughout his 20 years in the United States Senate" and "has a long record of support for ALPA and our members, as professional airline pilots, going back to the final days of Eastern Airlines when he voted to establish a Blue Ribbon Panel to review the Eastern situation."
The resolution also cited Kerry’s combat service in Vietnam, his determination to "lead the fight to make creating good paying jobs in the United States our number one national priority," that he "is committed to making affordable health care a right and not a privilege," his promise to "ensure that trade agreements are fair to workers here at home and fair to workers around the world" and his vote to "protect workers’ overtime rights from the Bush Administration’s assault on the Fair Labor Standards Act that would cost 8 million workers their overtime pay."
ALPA’s Executive Board is made up of the top local union leaders (Master Executive Council chairmen) from each of ALPA’s 42 pilot groups. ALPA, the world’s oldest and largest pilot union, represents 64,000 airline pilots at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Its Web site is www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACT: John Mazor (703) 481-4440