August 11, 2005
ATA Pilot Union Leader Blasts Company 1113 Filing
CHICAGO -- The following is a statement from Capt. Jim Anderson, Chairman of the ATA Airlines unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, in response to ATA’s filing of an 1113(c) motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis.
"ALPA is very disappointed that ATA management has decided to use the ‘nuclear option’ by asking the bankruptcy court to throw out our contract and replace it with their own arbitrary proposal. We are not unmindful of ATA’s cash problems, and we were willing to continue negotiating. But the company has refused to budge from its initial demands, even after we offered a counterproposal that would have saved ATA $18 million per year.
"ATA pilots and flight engineers have already contributed more than $66 million in concessions in the past 14 months to help our airline survive. This is far more than any other employee group at the company, and more than Southwest Airlines has contributed so far in exchange for a future 27 percent share of the airline. More than 260 crewmembers have lost their jobs, and another 166 have seen their pay cut by as much as 60 percent due to being displaced from Captain to First Officer positions.
"ATA’s own Chief Financial Officer has acknowledged in open court that ALPA has always been willing to help the Company. Now they are asking for another $37 million per year in cuts, or $44 million annually if we forgo the 2006 pay increase written into our contract, and they want to freeze our pensions and force us into a substandard health care program. Every ATA flight crewmember has already given up his or her 2004 and 2005 raises, and taken a minimum 18 percent pay cut from our 2003 rates.
"ATA cannot chainsaw its way to profitability by gouging the pilots again and again. The company may claim its corporate survival is at stake, but we are fighting for the economic survival of our crewmembers and their families. We believe we have a strong case and we will oppose the company’s 1113 motion in court."
The Air Line Pilots Association, International, is the world’s largest pilots union, representing 64,000 pilots at 41 airline carriers in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at http://www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACT: Capt. Jim Anderson, 317-679-7371; Rusty Ayers, 773-284-4910 or 847-323-9519 (cell)