July 18, 2007
For Immediate Release
ATA Airlines, North American Airlines and World Airways Pilots Warn Management: Don’t Pit Us Against Each Other
CHICAGO – As management prepares to put ownership of ATA Airlines, North American Airlines (NAA) and World Airways under a single holding company, unionized flight crew members of the three airlines warned they will not tolerate any effort to pit one group against another and are prepared to use all legal means necessary to enforce their respective contractual rights.
Shareholders of World Air Holdings, the holding company that owns NAA and World Airways, voted today to be acquired by Global Aero Logistics (GAL), the Indianapolis-based holding company that owns ATA. The proposed transaction must still be approved by the federal government.
As the World Air Holdings shareholders were voting in Peachtree City, GA, union pilots from the three airlines were meeting in Chicago to discuss their strategy going forward.
“Global Aero Logistics management claims they will operate the three airlines as completely independent entities, but since all three are competing military and commercial charter carriers and operate the same mix of aircraft, the potential clearly exists for movement of both aircraft and personnel between the three carriers,” said Capt. Steve Staples, chairman of the ATA Airlines Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association, International. The ATA MEC will begin negotiations with management for a new contract in less than three months.
ALPA represents the 600 pilots and flight engineers at ATA. The 400 pilots and flight engineers at World Airways and the 160 pilots at North American Airlines are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT).
North American pilots have been locked in contract negotiations with their management for more than three years, and the announcement of the holding company transaction only deepens that group’s resolve to emerge with a new contract that protects their members’ career expectations, said Capt. Charles Carlson, Chairman of the North American Airlines Executive Council of IBT Local 747.
“If our management is stalling because they believe they will get better terms once NAA is acquired by GAL, they should guess again,” Capt. Carlson said. “We want a contract now, and our commitment to strengthen our job security and protect our flying from being outsourced is stronger now than ever.”
Cockpit crewmembers at World Airways held a nine-day strike before reaching an agreement on a new contract early in 2006. The shared experience gained from that walkout was that “unity is the only way to prevail against management,” said Captain Luis Carmona, Chairman of the World Airways Executive Council of IBT Local 986.
“The flight crews at World Airways, NAA and ATA cannot afford to see each other as adversaries, and management at our three carriers would be ill-advised to attempt to cut their costs by pitting one group against another, shifting work to whichever airline is willing to fly more cheaply,” Capt. Carmona said. “Labor will not allow that to happen.”
ATA leaders met with the World Airways Executive Council in April, soon after the World Air Holdings/GAL merger was announced. Officers from the NAA Executive Council are meeting with the ATA Master Executive Council in Chicago this week. All three of the labor groups have pledged to provide mutual support to one another if it is needed for strikes, picketing or other activities.
“We believe all three of our contracts will be stronger if we work together cooperatively,” Capt. Staples said.
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Seth Cooperman, 312-399-3977
World Captain Luis Carmona, 305-206-2706
NAA First Officer Duncan Parsons, 413-530-5638