September 12, 2007
ASTAR Pilots Demand Serious
Informational Picketing and Rally in Wilmington, Ohio, Come as Strike Vote Continues, New Ad Campaign Runs
WILMINGTON, OH – Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) President John Prater will join dozens of ASTAR Air Cargo pilots as they conduct informational picketing in downtown Wilmington on Thursday, to protest the continued deliberate stall tactics and concession demands that have characterized management’s strategy during more than 3½ years of contract negotiations. Capt. Prater joins ASTAR Air Cargo pilots on behalf of ALPA’s more than 60,000 members in a show of unity and support.
Picketing will take place on Thursday, September 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the JW Denver Williams Memorial Park in Wilmington.
The public demonstration supports a series of newspaper and billboard display advertisements that will run in Wilmington, which is ASTAR’s only operations hub, and other future media markets crucial to DHL’s North American express shipping operations.
ASTAR pilots and their ALPA union leaders have taken several legal steps in an effort to enter into legal self-help job actions. In late July, they unanimously voted to authorize the leaders to explore self-help options. A strike authorization vote is being conducted over the next two weeks.
The picket lines are a show of solidarity in the pilots’ quest to achieve a contract that is fair and provides ASTAR pilots with the same sort of income security that ASTAR management has provided itself.
“We are holding the line against a rapacious corporate management, and we know we have a tough fight ahead,” says Capt. Earl Smith, chairman of the ASTAR unit of ALPA. “Turning a five-year contract into a ten-year contract, as management has done with its stall tactics, cannot and will not be tolerated. We are trying to hold the line to provide our pilots and their families with the stability necessary to make a long-term personal investment in this airline.”
In response to the outpouring of anger and impatience from its pilots, ASTAR management has stated publicly that if the negotiations scheduled to be held in Chicago between September 19 and 22 do not result in an agreement, management will not oppose ALPA’s petition to be released to self-help, which could trigger a strike that could impact DHL’s air express operations.
ASTAR pilots carry roughly 50 percent of the weight out of Wilmington, Ohio, each night for DHL, the world’s largest and most experienced international air express network. Prior to 2003, ASTAR Air Cargo was known as DHL Airways where a majority of today’s 525 ASTAR pilots were hired. Before August 2003 ASTAR/DHL Airways pilots carried nearly 100 percent of DHL cargo in the United States and more than 50% of DHL’s international cargo to and from the United States.
Founded in 1931, ALPA represents 60,000 pilots at 41 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit the ALPA website at http://www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACTS: Ron Lovas, 703-481-4468; Mike Murphy, 937-323-2533