May 10, 2005
ALPA President to Trans States Management: We'll Cooperate, but We're Not Backing Down
ST LOUIS, MO - The head of the union that represents pilots at St. Louis-based Trans States Airlines today told pilots at a rally at Lambert Airport that the union is taking a carrot-and-stick approach to resolving labor issues at the airline.
"I have come here today to personally issue a public challenge to your management to alter the course that they have taken in dealing with their pilots," said Capt. Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, in remarks prepared for the rally.
"I have come to challenge them to work cooperatively with our union to help build this airline for the future. And I have come to offer to help promote new business opportunities for this airline and new job opportunities for its ALPA pilots. I am convinced that, together, we can build Trans States into a strong, solid company for decades to come," Woerth said.
"I have also come here to draw public attention to the fact that, sadly, our efforts to discuss the issues before us in cooperation with the company have, to date, met with little to no success. Using only the most tenuous thread of justification, Trans States management has sought to create an alter-ego carrier that they intend to staff with pilots not sheltered by an ALPA-bargained contract," he said.
"In response to this tactic, we have been forced to file a grievance concerning this alter-ego carrier, because management has made it clear that GoJet exists solely to evade ALPA and the TSA-ALPA agreement. The clearest proof? Management's premature and illegal attempt to install a separate union before GoJet employs any pilots or begins operations. While management's public claim that a contractual restriction makes it impossible to extend the ALPA contract to larger jets, I assure you that we can readily overcome this very common obstacle," Woerth said.
"The management at Trans States has concluded that they have some strong opportunities for growth of their company-in new sectors, in new markets, on new routes, and flying for new carriers. I applaud that vision. I salute it. That being said, I insist that the Air Line Pilots Association and the pilots we represent play our legitimate role in tangibly contributing to that growth. There is absolutely no justifiable reason to create an alter-ego carrier or a carrier that is 'walled off' from our pilots, whose sacrifices and hard work have built this company. GoJet may indeed be a viable operation moving forward-but only with our pilots in those cockpits," he said.
"Unfortunately, time is running out, because the management team at TSA has decided to do more than just stop talking to our pilots and their representatives. They have made the unfortunate - and potentially devastating - decision to crack down on our union and our union representatives here in St. Louis and elsewhere," he said.
"Standing right here with me today are two good ALPA representatives-officers who put their necks on the line for their brothers and sisters-who have recently been unjustifiably fired by TSA. The Executive Council of our International union was so outraged by these maneuvers that it recently voted to make these fired pilots financially whole until they are rightfully returned to their cockpits. That's what being union is all about. I will not tolerate attacks on, or interference with, our union representatives-pilots or employees-simply because they are members or staff of this union," Woerth said.
"The climate here at Trans States Airlines does not need to be poisoned. We can start fresh today - if management accepts our offered hand and alters their course of action. If they make that change, we can build a better airline and a better environment for the future," he said.
ALPA represents 64,000 airline pilots at 41 carriers in the U.S. and Canada, including the more than 600 Trans States pilots. Its Website is www.alpa.org.
# # #
ALPA Contacts: Pete Janhunen, on site, cell (571) 243-5300
John Mazor, Linda Shotwell, (703) 481-4440, firstname.lastname@example.org.