September 21, 2007
ASTAR Air Cargo Pilots Vote Overwhelmingly to Authorize Strike
WASHINGTON—ASTAR Air Cargo pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), announced today that they have voted to authorize their elected union representatives to conduct a lawful withdrawal of services if contract talks do not result in an agreement, upon release of the parties to economic “self-help” by the National Mediation Board.
ASTAR pilots overwhelmingly supported the union’s strike authorization ballot with over 97 percent of responding crewmembers voting in support of a withdrawal of services, if required. Negotiations with management began in January 2005. However, by April 2006, a filing for expedited mediation with the National Mediation Board was made citing a lack of progress. After nearly ten months of mediated talks, ASTAR pilots and management remain far apart on critical economic matters like compensation and hourly wage rates.
“Nearly four years of negotiations with our management have proven to be fruitless. ASTAR pilots must prepare for the next milestone, which is the 30-day cooling off period that precedes a strike,” explained Capt. Earl Smith, chairman of the ASTAR Air Cargo unit of ALPA. “Even though our management has publicly pushed for a release from mediation since January, I would be surprised if they did not use their political influence to make a mockery of the Railway Labor Act,” Smith added. In 2006, ALPA granted the pilots of ASTAR Air Cargo access to $2 million from the union’s Major Contingency Fund for use in strike preparation activities.
“The ASTAR pilots’ leadership is immensely proud of the solidarity demonstrated by our individuals in this strike vote. We’re still hopeful that management will adopt a new posture and begin speaking to us in realistic terms about the remaining contract issues,” Smith said.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union representing more than 60,000 cockpit crewmembers at 41 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
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ALPA Contact: Ron Lovas, 703-481-4468