October 18, 2006
ALPA Delegates Elect Capt. John Prater as President
Pilots send clear message to industry of newly aggressive stance
LAS VEGAS, NV ---- The Board of Directors of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) today elected Captain John Prater, a B-767 Continental Airlines pilot, to serve as the 8th president in the union’s history.
This decision sends a strong signal to the airline industry that ALPA pilots are prepared to move into a new period of strong, concerted action to rebuild their profession.
“The airline pilots of the United States and Canada today sent a clear message that their union desires to return to its roots of aggressive bargaining, strict contract enforcement, tenacious organizing, and pilot action to restore our contracts and our profession,” Prater said in the wake of his election.
“After five years of concessionary bargaining, lost pensions, and battered work rules, our pilots are primed to take offensive action,” Prater continued. “This may mean a return to the hard-nosed tactics of earlier years and a grassroots mobilization of each and every one of our members.”
While the concessionary era in the airline industry is coming to a close, several airlines remain prisoners of the “1113 process” (whereby management can have labor contracts annulled by the bankruptcy court), and others are stalled in negotiations with their managements. This stagnation takes place while load factors are high, fuel prices are lower, and profits are rising.
“The airline industry survived because of the concessions pilots and other workers made,” Prater said. “Now it is time for us to see a tangible return on these bitter investments.”
Prater is a 28-year veteran of ALPA, having served extensively at all levels. From strike committee chairman to master chairman and a vice chairman of the international alliance, Wings Alliance (now part of the Skyteam Alliance), Prater brings a wealth of experience. His background includes union fights against notorious airline management figures Frank Lorenzo, Carl Icahn, and Dick Ferris.
A graduate of St. Louis University with a bachelor’s degree in meteorology, Capt. Prater is based in Newark, NJ. He is a resident of Edwardsville, IL with his wife Michele and daughter Alexandra. He is the son of John and Esther Prater of Collinsville, IL.
The election was a contest between Prater and current ALPA President, Capt. Duane E. Woerth. Of the 47,968 votes cast, 24,444 went to Prater and 23,524 to Woerth. The new president will take office in January 2007.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing 61,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
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ALPA Contact: Pete Janhunen, Linda Shotwell, (703) 481-4440