January 26, 2006
ALPA Pledges $10 Million to Help Fund NWA Pilots’ Contingency Preparations
New York --- Acting on a resolution by the Northwest Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association Int’l (ALPA) requesting financial assistance, ALPA’s Executive Council yesterday granted the Northwest pilot group up to $10 million from the union’s Major Contingency Fund.
ALPA’s Executive Board is expected to approve the funding on an expedited basis. The $10 million will assist in contingency preparations for defense of NWA pilots’ jobs, wages and working conditions in the event the U.S. Bankruptcy Court authorizes rejection of ALPA’s collective bargaining agreement with Northwest and the company unilaterally implements terms and conditions of pilot employment.
ALPA is currently presenting its case in the 1113(c) hearing to persuade the bankruptcy judge that rejection of the NWA pilot contract is not warranted given NWA pilots’ recent concessions and fair contract proposals. Northwest pilots have already taken a 39 percent pay cut, agreed to higher medical costs, offered to fly small jet aircraft at industry standard rates, and frozen their pension plan saving the company hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
The 1113(c) hearing is expected to conclude on approximately Feb. 2, 2006 and under the statute the judge has a deadline of no later than Feb. 16, 2006 to issue a decision unless the company and ALPA agree to extend that deadline. In the event the judge authorizes NWA management to reject the NWA pilot contract, Northwest pilots would have the right to strike. In preparation for this possibility, the $10 million pledge will be used to escalate contingency planning for strike activity, increased communications, rallies and other strategic preparedness activities.
NWA management continues to make unreasonable demands on its pilots. Management’s current proposals for pilot job protections, wages, working conditions, and benefits would set new lows for pilots at comparable U.S. air carriers. Without significant movement by NWA management in its bargaining positions, a consensual agreement meeting the requirements of NWA pilots is not achievable.
“We do not want to strike; we want to reach a fair consensual agreement with NWA management. Unfortunately, Northwest management is forcing our hand so we must be ready for all possibilities,” MEC Chairman Mark McClain said. “ALPA’s financial support, along with the support of all 62,000 ALPA pilots, will guarantee our pilot group is fully prepared.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA represents 62,000 pilots at 39 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. ALPA represents approximately 5,000 active NWA pilots and 700 furloughed pilots. Visit the ALPA website at http://www.alpa.org and the NWA pilot group website at http://www.nwaalpa.org.
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SOURCE: Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)
ALPA CONTACT: Will Holman, 612-840-7749