Release # 05.018
May 26, 2005
ALPA Pledges $2 Million to Polar Air Cargo Crewmembers To Fund Efforts to Secure a Fair Labor Contract
WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Polar Air Cargo crewmembers, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International, received access to $2 million from the union’s Major Contingency Fund (MCF) as negotiations with management for their union contract passed the 27-month mark.
The allocation provides the Polar crewmembers with the needed resources to fully prepare themselves and their families for a strike in the event that a fair agreement cannot be reached at the bargaining table.
“While we are extremely gratified by ALPA’s financial support, the hope is that our remaining contract issues can be resolved at the negotiating table,” said Captain Bobb Henderson, chairman of the Polar Air Cargo unit of ALPA. “We do not want to strike, but if management eventually forces us into a lawful work action in order to achieve a fair agreement, we will be ready for that outcome.”
The Polar crewmembers began contract negotiations in February 2003. Negotiations have been conducted with the assistance of the National Mediation Board since July 2003. Although some sections of the contract have been agreed to, Polar crewmembers and management remain far apart on the critical economic issues of compensation and retirement.
“Polar Air Cargo crewmembers compensation is significantly less than all of our peers in the wide-body cargo industry and we have only a self-funded 401(k) plan to provide for our retirement. Additionally, our work schedules are exhausting,” Henderson said. “Having the financial support and solidarity of 64,000 ALPA pilots behind us will be crucial to our efforts as we continue to negotiate a fair contract that corrects these woeful deficiencies.”
With headquarters in Purchase, New York, Polar Air Cargo provides scheduled air freight and charter services utilizing a large fleet of all-cargo Boeing 747 freighter aircraft. Polar and its sister company, Atlas Air Inc., are wholly owned subsidiaries of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (OTC: AAWWV.PK) also based in Purchase, N.Y.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union representing more than 64,000 cockpit crewmembers at 41 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA Web site at www.alpa.org.
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ALPA Contact: Ron Lovas, 703-481-4468