Release #06.NWA4
February 3, 2006

Northwest Pilots Union Leadership Authorizes Strike Ballot

NEW YORK – The elected representatives of the Northwest pilots union, as represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), voted unanimously last night to ballot the pilot group to authorize a strike. The exact timing of the ballot was left to the discretion of Master Executive Council (MEC) Chairman Capt. Mark McClain.

This action by the NWA MEC comes after another week of negotiations with NWA management that produced few results. Although ALPA continues to present fair and competitive proposals, NWA management continues to act unreasonably by making demands instead of working with the pilot group to better secure NWA’s future.

The 1113(c) hearing, which opened Jan. 17, is expected to conclude Monday, Feb. 6. If ALPA and management are unable to reach an agreement, Judge Allan Gropper’s ruling on whether or not to reject the pilot contract is expected no later than Feb. 16.

If the U.S. Bankruptcy Court rejects ALPA’s collective bargaining agreement with Northwest and the company unilaterally implements terms and conditions on pilots, NWA pilots have the right to strike. MEC Chairman Captain Mark McClain stated, “We must make contingency preparations in order to protect the quality of our careers here at Northwest Airlines. The strike vote will give our pilots an opportunity to demonstrate their opposition to management’s overreaching demands.”

Throughout negotiations, Northwest pilots have bargained in good faith to achieve a fair consensual agreement that meets the requirements of NWA pilots and the needs of Northwest Airlines. At the same time, the pilot group has stood firm in its resolve to defend NWA pilots’ jobs, wages and working conditions, denouncing the unreasonable demands made by management both in court and in negotiations.

“Northwest pilots have already made tremendous sacrifices, including a 39 percent pay cut, to help our airline through these difficult times,” Capt. McClain said. “If management is allowed to impose terms and conditions that cost NWA pilot jobs, we will have no choice but to defend our livelihoods and our careers.”

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 and the NWA pilot group website at

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SOURCE: Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)
ALPA CONTACT: Will Holman, 612-840-7749