Road Show Continues: Capt. Prater Vows to Lead the Fight in “Takin’ it Back”
ALPA pilots have certainly seized their opportunity to get some face time with the union’s new president, Capt. John Prater, and their other national officers.
On the fourth stop of the international Road Show tour, Prater landed in Seattle and was met enthusiastically by a standing-room only crowd of more than 100 pilots—including a large contingency of United pilots bearing their “Fix it Now” signs—eager to let him know what they expected from him, their union, their fellow pilots, and themselves. Pilots and family members from Alaska, America West, ATA, Delta, FedEx, Hawaiian, Northwest, Pinnacle, and United, were on hand to represent a diverse range of ALPA pilots.
The concerns were not all that different from those of ALPA pilots in Atlanta, Charlotte, and Vancouver—Age 60, seniority lists, pensions, legislation, security, safety, LEC involvement, and bridging the generational gap topped the list.
Prater candidly answered tough questions, and made an effort to talk with each pilot who wanted some of his time. His road show technique was described as “refreshing” and “useful;” and many pilots encouraged him to continue his journey. Prater promised to look into issues that were on the minds of some pilots including a national seniority list and building stronger relationships with other labor unions to provide not only a unified position among pilots, but among all workers.
“I am honored to be here with you, and honored to serve as your president,” Prater said to the pilots in Seattle. “I have vowed to do all that I can to serve the best interest of ALPA pilots. And I do not want to let you down.”
Prater spoke about new ALPA tools available to pilot groups—the new National Strike Committee, the collective bargaining committee, and a recently approved organizing budget that gives ALPA the finances to organize all airline pilots in the U.S. and Canada.
Regarding Age 60, Prater announced his selections for the ALPA Blue Ribbon Panel on Pilot Retirement: Atlas Capt. Scott Schleiffer, United Capt. Mary McMillan, ExpressJet Capt. Jim Foster, Delta Capt. Don Wykoff, FedEx Capt. Scott Stratton, and Continental First Officer Neil Schwartz. Capt. Chris Beebe, ALPA’s Vice-President-Finance/Treasurer, will chair the Panel.
“I will direct this Panel to develop a strategy to ensure that the FAA considers line pilot interests in any final rule,” Prater said.
Sharing with all the pilots ALPA’s new vision statement, Prater said the words accurately describe the new direction ALPA is heading.
“We are no longer in survival mode,” he said. We will spare no effort to aggressively fight. Now, like never before, we are going to work across all segments and corporate brands to restore our proud profession. It is time to take back what all of our pilots gave up, and ALPA is ready to lead that fight.”